The Science Of Fasting

by Leisa on February 9, 2016

I’ve been a huge advocate of fasting for decades, and have studied the benefits of different types of fasts over many years. I’ve experienced the incredible results myself and witnessed it in thousands of people, having worked for more than fifteen years facilitating detox programs where I take groups of people through a naturopathically designed and supervised fasting experience. My Embracing Health Retreats give quite incredible results to people in just a week, from renewed feelings of optimism, to initiating the healing process in many chronic diseases. Anyone who attends a retreat and experiences this well-designed and supported fasting program, is an instant convert to the benefits it brings. So why has science taken so long to look into what really happens at a biochemical level when we fast? This video and article share the findings of a leading neuroscientist and talks about why Big Pharma refuses to study it.

From the accompanying article:

“Fasting does good things for the brain, and this is evident by all of the beneficial neurochemical changes that happen in the brain when we fast. It also improves cognitive function, increases neurotrophic factors, increases stress resistance, and reduces inflammation.

Fasting is a challenge to your brain, and your brain responds to that challenge by adapting stress response pathways which help your brain cope with stress and risk for disease. The same changes that occur in the brain during fasting mimic the changes that occur with regular exercise. They both increase the production of protein in the brain (neurotrophic factors), which in turn promotes the growth of neurons, the connection between neurons, and the strength of synapses.

“Challenges to your brain, whether it’s intermittent fasting [or] vigorous exercise . . . is cognitive challenges. When this happens neuro-circuits are activated, levels of neurotrophic factors increase, that promotes the growth of neurons [and] the formation and strengthening of synapses. . . .” 

Fasting can also stimulate the production of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus. He also mentions ketones (an energy source for neurons), and how fasting stimulates the production of ketones and that it may also increase the number of mitochondria in neurons. Fasting also increases the number of mitochondria in nerve cells; this comes as a result of the neurons adapting to the stress of fasting (by producing more mitochondria).

By increasing the number of mitochondria in the neurons, the ability for nerons to form and maintain the connections between each other also increases, thereby improving learning and memory ability.

“Intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA.” 

There are many ways to fast – such as mono-food fasts, juice fasting, water fasting and even dry fasting, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of short or intermittent fasting  versus longer fasting. During the retreats I explore all of these aspects of fasting and share my experience and conclusions.

Vegetable juice, tomato, carrot, cucumber and beetroot

In 1923 fasting was being studied as a means to create good health:

“Studies have shown that fasted cells have the capacity for assimilation and growth characterised by the cells of young animals, demonstrating beyond doubt that fasting rejuvenates cellular function.”

            Sergius Morgulis, “Fasting and Undernutrition”. University of Nebraska, E.P. Dutton, New York 1923.

So even though we may not have had the means to study it the way we can now, almost one hundred years ago we knew that fasting rejuvenates cellular function. Yet little has been done to move this science forward, whereas creating synthetic drugs to treat disease has become a trillion dollar industry. Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

For more details about upcoming retreats, (especially the Byron Bay one starting on the 26th Feb!) go to Embracing Health Retreats






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9 commentsAdd comment

Adam Antao February 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Fasting is really good for health but make sure you get sufficient energy & proper food.

Greg March 2, 2016 at 3:28 am

Thanks for the great article! No wonder they always talk about the power of fasting!

Sarah Greene March 11, 2016 at 6:12 pm

I have to say that I didn’t believe in fasting in the past and had physical difficulty to do it, so never tried it again. But this summer I think I’m ready to give it another try, when the girls will be at grandparents (:

Janik L. March 15, 2016 at 1:17 pm

I tried everything, everything, diets, gym you name it, I got fed up and told myself “The hell with it, I’m not eating anymore”

Well it started to work…I added some Keto concepts to it and the weight started going down.

Fasting works, I will continue and apply this

Loise April 7, 2016 at 11:22 pm

The benefits of fasting reach into all areas of our lives. And whether you want to fast for increased health, or increased mental clarity, you will get them both–only maybe not all in the first day. Fasting is an ongoing practice, that grows and deepens over time, delivering more and more meaningful benefits.

Grant October 6, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Great stuff here!

I have been using fasting for many different reasons for quite some time now. Check out this video I made of my very first water fast. (I would not recommend how I broke the fast, haha).

Arnob Endry April 24, 2017 at 5:52 am

I have to say that I didn’t believe in fasting in the past and had physical difficulty to do it, so never tried it again. But this summer I think I’m ready to give it another try, when the girls will be at grandparents

Aniton dosh May 22, 2017 at 9:26 am

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Arnob Endry May 22, 2017 at 9:28 am

An innumerous number of students passed from BCI are living standard lives for service & study in Europe, America, Australia, South African countries worldwide. Students remain in this country also serving with local & multinational companies with reputation besides study in B.Sc. Engineering in various universities.

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