Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
November 20, 2017
For about two years, I have practiced intermittent fasting 4-5 days a week. When I do eat, I eat food that is not only yummy to me but also necessary for the health of my body. My diet consists of nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods. Don’t try intermittent fasting if you’re not going to eat quality foods. That would make no sense at all.
After experiencing benefits from intermittent fasting personally, I wanted to take it to a higher level. So, I tried a simple multiday fast, which has the potential to improve on the health benefits of simple intermittent fasting. This was my first attempt at multiday fasting.
Here are some facts about intermittent fasting, multiday fasting, and the results of my personal 48-hour fast.
Intermittent Fasting is basically an extended time period when you don’t eat. All of us fast to some extent because we do not eat when we are asleep. If you don’t eat as soon as you wake up, you could extend your overnight fast.
There are many ways to incorporate intermittent fasting into your routine. But, a simple way would be to stop eating around 8 PM and not eat until noon the next day. That would place you into a fast for 16 hours. Your window of eating would be from noon until 8 PM, which equals 8 eight hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting.
I found these four recently-published papers, which describe the significant health benefits from fasting:
I encourage you to take some time to read the abstracts. The science contained in these articles may be a game-changer for you and your health.
Research shows fasting about 14 to 16 hours a day will allow your body to use up its glycogen stores and shift into a fat-burning mode. When your body shifts from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel, health results start to happen.
Here are some benefits from intermittent fasting:
- Lose weight and reduce sugar cravings
- Build muscle
- Enhance brain health and neurological function
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Fight aging and possibly cancer
- Improve the function of the bacteria in your gut
- Lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, and decrease free-radical damage
While Intermittent Fasting usually is defined as a fast lasting up to 24 hours at a time, Multiday Fasting is defined as a fast that lasts more than 24 hours. In addition to the health benefits of intermittent fasting, multiday fasting could promote stem cell-based regeneration and lasting metabolic benefits.
Multiday fasting is like “taking the time to clean out the junk”. Multiday fasting helps your body get rid of unhealthy or weak cells and rebuild the cells’ internal structures responsible for creating energy (called mitochondria).
Rules of Fasting
When you fast, you refrain from eating food, but you still drink water. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to just water. You could include other non-caloric beverages, such as herbal tea and black coffee. Interestingly according to Dr. Jason Fung, fats will not affect the benefits of fasting, so you could add ghee or coconut oil in the tea or coffee you drink.
In addition to drinking non-caloric beverages, you should take a multi-mineral supplement. I personally used Standard Process’s Organic Bound Minerals, which is gluten-free. It’s a blend of kelp and alfalfa. My regimen was two tablets, three time a day while fasting.
My Personal 48-Hour Fast
On Tuesday night, I finished my normal dinner about 7 PM. Other than water, I had nothing the rest of the night. On Wednesday morning, I took my multi-mineral supplements and drank two cups of coffee that included my homemade ghee and coconut oil. For the remainder of the day, I only drank filtered water or herbal tea, in which I added some coconut oil. On Thursday, I followed the same routine –coffee with ghee and coconut oil in the morning, multi-mineral supplements, water when thirsty, and some tea with coconut oil later in the day. I broke my fast with dinner around 7 PM on Thursday night. In total, I fasted from 7 PM on Tuesday until 7 PM on Thursday night – 48 hours.
I had some “hunger” during Wednesday in the afternoon. But, as soon as I had some herbal tea with coconut oil, I felt great. There were no signs of sluggishness or lack of energy. Thursday was actually easier for me. At 7 PM, I had a great dinner and wasn’t ravaged with hunger.
I recorded my fasting blood sugar with a finger stick and a glucometer on Wednesday morning and again just before dinner on Thursday night. My blood sugar dropped 12%. I also checked my weight, which was down 4 pounds.
Who Shouldn’t Fast?
Most people can safely try fasting, but not everyone. You should check with your primary care physician if you are:
- A child or an adolescent
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Dealing with hypothyroidism
- Taking medications that must be taken with food, especially diabetic medication
- Susceptible to gout
I will continue intermittent fasting several times a week from 7 PM until noon the next day. In addition, I will try to extend my multiday fast between 48-72 hours, which I plan to do every 1-2 months. I look forward to determining how my overall blood chemistries improve over time.