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What Happens to Your Body When You Fast?

Introduction: What is fasting?

There’s a tremendous surge in the popularity of fasting. Fasting is a practice that dates back centuries. It plays a central role in many religions and cultures.

Fasting is defined as abstaining from some foods or drinks for a set period. And there are many ways of fasting.

Most fasts are performed over 24–72 hours.

On the one hand, intermittent fasting involves cycling between eating and fasting periods, ranging from a few hours to a couple of days at a time.

Fasting has many health benefits, ranging from increased weight loss to improved brain function.

This article will examine what happens to your body any time you fast.

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Effects of fasting after 12 hours

There is a spike in growth hormone levels after 12 hours of fasting. Growth hormone is an anti-aging hormone. It is the primary fat-burning hormone, and it is involved in healing joints. It is also involved with protein synthesis (i.e., the production of new proteins). Some people take growth hormone to get injected — it isn’t recommended, but some take it to heal parts of their body. What many people don’t know is that fasting will automatically trigger the release of growth hormone, so you can increase growth hormone just by the fact that you are fasting. What’s more, exercise will also increase growth hormone as well.

Effects of fasting after 18 hours

At about 18 hours of fasting, you’ll begin to develop autophagy. Autophagy is an exciting event that happens with your body. In autophagy, your body also starts to recycle old, damaged proteins and microbes. One type of protein recycled is the advanced glycated end product.

Here’s the thing — when you combine glucose with a protein, it becomes very sticky, so let’s say you’re on a high carbohydrate diet and that sugar combines with your protein, and it starts to glycate, or destroy some of the proteins in your body, and they don’t function as well as they should. They’ll then get sticky and clog things up. Your body will begin to clean all that up and turn these damaged proteins into new amino acids which the body can use.

Amyloid plaguing, which occurs in the brain and other body parts, is an example of a protein that can be cleaned up with autophagy. So, autophagy cleans up any nonfunctional protein in your body and begins to renew the tissue.

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Effects of fasting after 24 hours

You begin to deplete your glycogen reserve, and your body starts to run on ketones. Ketones are a chemical produced by your liver when it breaks down fats. Your body uses ketones for energy during fasting, exercise, or when your carbohydrate stores are depleted. Benefits of fasting after 24 hours include:

  • Decreased hunger
  • Decreased cravings
  • Increased oxygen
  • Increased antioxidant reserve
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved cardiovascular function
  • Gut healing
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Better fuel efficiency
Effects of fasting after 72 hours

Here, you have more stimulation of stem cells and better immune function.

It is recommended that you do intermittent fasting regularly. An excellent average pattern of doing this would be doing 18 hours of fasting with a six-hour window. So, you would eat, wait six hours later, and then fast for 18 hours. This would be a perfect pattern to follow.


How to get incredible effects of fasting

Depending on how you do it, you can make your fasting stricter. After that, you can do periodic prolonged fasting to achieve additional health benefits, whether it’s for your immune system because you have autoimmune conditions or you want to look younger, or maybe you want more brain cells, or better heart and gut function, or perhaps you have cancer and want to improve that.

One of the main things that fasting will do is make you more resistant to stress. It helps people on chemotherapy to be more resistant to poisons.

Ensure that you take your minerals during fasting. If you’re doing a water fast, do it with nutrients because if you are deficient, you may have some health problems. So, ensure that you have your B vitamins and your salt. That’s very important.

It is essential that you may have a cortisol spike in the mornings. This may prompt your body to make more glucose, increasing blood sugar levels. Of course, this is nothing to worry about, as it will improve over time. But you can do some exercise in the morning to burn off that extra sugar.

You may also have increased LDL. During fasting, your body goes through a significant healing process, and cholesterol is the raw material for your body cells to make hormones. So, 40% of all the cholesterol in your body is there to supply the membrane of your cells which is essential to protect the cells and allow for in and out movement of materials. So, your body might need the cholesterol transported through this carrier protein. But, of course, there’s no need to worry about this.

Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash


Takeaway

Fasting is defined as abstaining from some foods or drinks for a set period.

Most fasts are performed over 24–72 hours.

Intermittent fasting involves cycling between eating and fasting periods, ranging from a few hours to a few days.

Fasting has many health benefits, ranging from increased weight loss to improved brain function. Several changes occur in the body when you fast.

A 12-hour fast results in a spike in growth hormone levels.

Fasting for 18 hours will trigger autophagy. In autophagy, your body also starts to recycle old, damaged proteins and microbes.

If you fast for 24 hours, you begin to deplete your glycogen reserve, and your body starts to run on ketones. Ketones are a chemical produced by your liver when it breaks down fats.

You start stimulating the stem cells when you get to 48 hours. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells.

A 72-hour fast stimulates more stem cells and better immune function.

Have you ever fasted before? How did it go for you? Let us know in the comments below.


Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

References

Ho, K. Y., Veldhuis, J. D., Johnson, M. L., Furlanetto, R., Evans, W. S., Alberti, K. G., & Thorner, M. O. (1988). Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. The Journal of clinical investigation, 81(4), 968–975. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI113450

Takahashi, Y., Kipnis, D. M., & Daughaday, W. H. (1968). Growth hormone secretion during sleep. The Journal of clinical investigation, 47(9), 2079–2090. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI105893

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