Water fasting is a very specific fast that requires an individual to consume nothing but water, for a set period of time. It is a natural, safe and medically proven way to reboot the immune system and allows the body to restore balance; specifically beneficial for those dealing with an autoimmune disease such as myself, any chronic skin conditions such as cystic acne, folliculitis, psoriasis and eczema to name a few. And, for those recovering from cancer or have undergone chemotherapy.
This blog will cover:
- Benefits of Fasting
- Clinical studies on fasting
- Understanding the role of our skin: what our skin is trying to tell us
- My 3-day journal documenting my experience, including the results within a week after the fast
- What I have learned as a result of fasting and dietary improvements
- Personal results on fasting for folliculitis, bad circulation and acne with clinical results on hypertension, eczema, psoriasis & cancer
- Fasting Pros & Cons and how to prepare
- Relevant videos on other people’s experiences with water fasting
After dealing with multiple health issues myself – due to the ridiculous amount of antibiotics I had been prescribed over the years, including but not limited to, folliculitis, cystic acne, anxiety, bouts of depression, bad circulation, extreme dryness and even a touch of hair loss – I decided to research alternative ways to reboot my immune system and restore my overall health. By doing so, I discovered water-fasting and the many other benefits I have not even begun to list, above.
To be clear, up until this sudden decline in health, I was lucky to get one spot a year – even throughout puberty – and have always thought that I had maintained a very balanced diet, so to wake up at 30 with all of these unsightly issues, when there had been no extreme lifestyle changes to hold responsible, frightened me.
Like many of us do, I spent hours googling my symptoms, only to discover that what I was dealing with, meant I would have been dead a week already, so I decided to exchange the keyboard for a doctor. Thankfully, many of the doctors I know were former classmates, who suggested the standard anti-biotic route.
However, as per my love of research, I like to find the root cause of any issue my body is facing in order to cut down the prescriptive, trial and error phase and get straight to the ‘curing portion’.
For all I am not against western/modern-day medicine, from my own experience, it is becoming clear that patients need an illness prevention service just as much as we need a health care system- especially as I have never come across one medical or health-care professional that has told me that I must replace the microbiota (good gut bacteria) because antibiotics kill off both good and bad gut bacteria that can leave us open to repetitive illnesses.
Gut Bacteria according to Prebiotin.com:
Although “flora” is commonly used in the medical community to describe the healthy community of bacteria living in and on the human body, consider this term more like slang — generally speaking, “flora” means plant life. Although plant life does indeed play a role in maintaining healthy bacteria levels in the human body, the term “microbiota” is more appropriately used because it encompasses the entire community of microorganisms. These microorganisms include not only bacteria but also fungi and archaea.
The role that these microbiota play in health has been largely unknown because science has been unable to research and classify the huge number of microorganisms living in the human body as well as the diverse roles they play. Some may be essential to health; some may be harmful. For example, the past 15 years has seen an incredible amount of research on gut bacteria. As recently as 20 years ago, no one considered the colon a major player in overall health; today, scientists from all over the world are making important discoveries every year on the incredible effects of maintaining a well-balanced gut microbiota. In fact, the vast number of microbiota in the human body and the lack of knowledge surrounding this community lead researchers to refer to it as the “forgotten organ.”Prebiotin
Thankfully, a friend of mine, who is very adept in plant-based medicines suggested undergoing 3-day water fast because as suggested, in truth, he explained, that even if I began eating nothing but lettuce leaves, my skin would have reacted badly; clearly, something was out of whack.
Water fasting was first medically recognised in the 19th century, by Issac Jennings, M.D. (1778-1874), James Jackson, M.D. (1811-1895), Russell Thacker Trall, M.D. (1812-1877), Mary Gove (1810-1884), Thomas Lowe Nichols, M.D. (1815-1901), Harriett Austin, M.D. (1826-1891), Charles E. Page, M.D. (1840-1925), Robert Walter, M.D. (1841-1921), Susanna Way Dodds, M.D. ( ), and Felix Oswald, M.D. (1845-1906).
They, in turn, created the Natural Hygiene Movement. However, the practice and known benefits of fasting, in general, have been recorded for centuries with devotees including Pythagoras in ancient Greece; claiming it brought both physical and spiritual renewal.
What does water fasting do to the body?
Fasting is just a way to create an environment that gives the body a selective advantage at mobilizing and eliminating the accumulated intermediary products of metabolism, the toxic byproducts that can be associated with suppression of the body’s ability to heal itself. So you are just removing, or giving the body a chance to remove, impediments to healing and it does it rapidly.
The unique thing about this ancient practice of fasting is that it gives the body a chance to rapidly mobilize and eliminate these accumulated intermediary products and toxic products. So you see clinical changes very quickly. Things that might take weeks or months with careful feeding can happen within days or weeks with fasting.Dr Goldhammer; founder of TrueNorth Health Center:
How important is the skin?
The skin is the largest organ in the body and contains 11 miles of blood vessels and 300 million skin cells and according to David Bank, MD, director at the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, New York changes to the skin can be a sign that something is wrong. Rashes, hives, and itching may signal an allergic reaction, a bacterial skin infection, a viral infection, or an autoimmune disease.
“If liver, kidneys and lungs do not fulfil their tasks sufficiently, the body needs help from the skin.
The skin is the largest organ of protection and defence. It is a sensory organ. It serves for thermoregulation, secretion and excretion. The skin plays an important role in the elimination of toxins and can assist the kidneys in their work.
It evacuates the waste products that are classified as crystals. They are soluble in liquids and are evacuated in the form of sweat through the sweat glands. Crystals are the residues of the metabolism of food rich in protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes and cereals. Uric acid and urea are part of the group of crystals.” – Issels Immuno-Oncology Integrative Immunotherapy For Cancer.
The current state and appearance of our skin say a lot about the health of internal organs and immune system, therefore our fixing the problem on the surface, without finding the root cause of the problem, is not going to be sufficient in restoring the balance our body needs in order to recover or prevent reoccurrence. Remember, our bodies make no mistakes, it knows exactly what it is doing, therefore any unusual gain in weight, loss of weight, skin problems, changes in mood, behaviour, skin texture etc is a signal that something we are either feeding or doing to our body, is preventing our bodies from working at its best and with a little patience, trial an error, we can do this safely from home. Nevertheless, before you proceed with any water fast or fast in general, please consult with your local doctor to make sure there are not any serious, underlining issues at play.
Is there any clinical evidence to support the benefits people claim about water-fasting?
The following results of fasting were conducted by Dr Goldhammer; an education director of TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California. Under his guidance, the centre has supervised fasts for thousands of patients and grown into one of the premier training facilities for doctors wishing to gain certification in the supervision of therapeutic fasting.
Clinical Results for those with Hypertension:
Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure usually does not cause symptoms.
“We have been able to document the effect on cardiovascular disease. We have published a paper in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, or JMPT, “Medically Supervised Water-only Fasting in the Treatment of Hyper-tension.” The cohort included 174 consecutive patients with hypertension—174 people achieving blood pressure low enough to eliminate medication and the largest effect sizes that have ever been shown in treating high blood pressure in humans with an average drop of 60 points in stage III hypertension, independent of the medication effects.
These people were all nonmedicated at the end of treatment, and so they dropped 60 points plus whatever effect medication might have had on them prior to withdrawal.“Alan Goldhamer, dc: Water Fasting—The Clinical Effectiveness of Rebooting Your Body
Clinical results in cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy:
“During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells. Prolonged fasting also lowered levels of IGF-1, a growth-factor hormone that has been linked to ageing, tumour progression and cancer risk.” (1)Mark Mattson, M.D., professor of neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
“Chemotherapy causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy.”(1) – Co-Author Tanya Dorff
“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the heatopoietic system. When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged. What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. ”(1) – Valter Longo, corresponding authorJune 5 issue of Cell Stem Cell by researchers from the University of Southern California
A scientific review of multiple scientific studies regarding fasting was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007. It examined a multitude of human and animal studies and determined that fasting is an effective way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It also showed significant potential in treating diabetes. (2)
The study concluded that fasting:
“May effectively modulate metabolic and functional risk factors, thereby preventing or delaying the future occurrence of common chronic diseases.” (2)The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007
My 3-day water fast journal:
Based on this research, I decided to do a 3-day water fast; no supplements, no lemon water (and yes I did ask because I cannot stand the taste of water on its own), no food, no products including moisturisers, topical creams or oatmeal baths were allowed. I showered as usual and was under strict instructions to wash my face at night only, which sounded absolutely disgusting to me because I associate being clean with washing, scrubbing and cleaning as much as possible, but because this fast was solely about finding the cause of my external issues, and to give my body a much-needed break, I wanted to stop all of it, during this fast.
How much water did I drink every day, during this fast?
I drank 2 and a half litres of water a day, however, it varies for everyone because it is dependant on your current weight; if you want to find out exactly how much water you must drink, click here which will take you to a specific hydration calculator that also takes into account any exercise you do.
Day 1: as soon as I decided to start this water fast, I immediately felt starving; I usually eat 6-8 small meals a day because when I eat 3 formal meals a day, I end up snacking or grazing on a lot of crap that I wouldn’t usually even go near. Whenever I felt hungry or tempted to eat, I immediately drank water until I felt full which surprisingly worked and lasted for around an hour and a half. I also got a lot of work done because I was distracting myself from eating. 10 hours into the water fast, my Aunt via Skype even commented on how alert I was looking and my mother also noticed that my skin was looking more vibrant. Good to note here that I have the type of family that would tell me otherwise, which in this case has been rather beneficial!
Day 2: I could only sleep for around 5 hours, which was very strange for me as I have always needed at least 9 hours a night to feel fully rested. To be honest, I had never felt so energetic in my life and I did yoga every single day before this water fast. I spent a few hours researching this and according to Rob Hanna; a professional fasting advisor of over 15 years – yes apparently that is a career – states that for all medical professionals have no scientific evidence to support why water gives us more energy, they can offer a few variables:
- Macronutrient theory, i.e. the shift in the ratio of fats, carbs and proteins metabolized as energy
- Thermogenic Work* theory, i.e. the reduction in energy expended to digest and metabolize foods
- Metabolic Efficiency and fitness theory, i.e. the improved ability of the body to use energy for work
“Fasting shifts our metabolic energy pathways from alimentary derived blood glucose to body-derived ketone production and consumption by all cells, including the brain.”
I also noticed that the painful cysts along my jawline, including those on my upper thighs and calf muscles, had gone. I was also no longer purple, no longer feeling itchy, which meant I wasn’t scratching my skin, but I still had redness around the open wounds on my legs from the folliculitis.
Day 3. I began craving broccoli specifically and anything green my brain could imagine, which again, very odd because for all I enjoy eating a variety of foods, I have never purposely requested broccoli with a meal, or found myself snacking on any specific vegetables, however, I am aware that when the body craves something, it is not necessarily the broccoli in this case, but the nutrients itself such as Iron. The circulation in my feet, legs and hands were completely normal; skin tone was even, no more purple skin and finally warm to the touch – a first in my life as I have had circulatory issues for as long as I can remember. I appeared to look noticeably younger; to be fair, without makeup I could easily get accepted into the local high school, however, due to these earlier skin issues that encouraged this water fast, I looked like I had aged dramatically; deep lines in the forehead, dried, cracked skin etc My pore size on both my lower legs and face had reduced dramatically, whereas before It was as if I could see every skin pore and hair follicle possible. Even though I had not moisturised, and only cleansed/washed my face once a day, to the touch, it no longer felt like Gandhi’s flip-flop nor had I broken out in the course of 56 hours anywhere; no new spots, no new cysts, no new bought of folliculitis.
I stopped this fast on the 60th hour and not because I felt extremely hungry but because my body just told me it was time, which is difficult to put into words; a 3-day water fast is not about sticking to a goal at the expense of ignoring your body but quite the opposite. For me, I have found that water fasting for any length of time, allows you to create a mind-body connection and not just in the spiritual sense; our bodies have been designed to perfection, and has the ability to show us what it needs in order to help maintain the bodies ability to perform at its best. When we have continuous skin issues or long-term illnesses, knowing what I know now, makes me wonder whether that is due to our inability to translate the signals our body sends so that we can help it.
Results After Water Fasting with P
Ance: it has been 6 days since I finished my water fast, and I have still not had any new spots, or cysts. Scars/hyperpigmentation is healing but slowly. Pore size has reduced slightly and even skin tone.
Folliculitis: still no itching, which means no more scratching either. No new ingrown hairs nor any cysts. Now waiting for the scars and open wounds to disappear.
Circulation: No more purple legs, cold hands or feet. Skin is now even on my legs, feet and hands.
Hair Loss: I had slight hair loss around my hairline, predominantly on my left-hand side; hair appears thicker but will need more time to form a conclusion.
I had conducted this water fast in the same week my ‘lady time’ or period was due to arrive, I do not know whether this is due to the amount of water I was consuming daily and still am, however, for the first time in 6 years, my period came and I didn’t even notice it; no pain, no feeling as if my body was growing a brand new uterus with matching womb, no cysts along my jawline or chin area and no painful toilet breaks. It is also the lightest/most normal period I have had since I was a young adult. If nothing else was gained from this water-fast, that alone has made it worthwhile and shall be asking some medical professionals, whilst doing my own research, to find out exactly why that has made such a significant difference.
What I learned about my body from this fast:
Overall, whether you think you have a ‘balanced diet‘ or not is irrelevant, even if a nutritionist claims you have a great diet, it is still irrelevant. What is important, is whether your body agrees or not with what you are consuming and it will tell you whether you are eating the right foods or not and that is the key takeaway from all of this.
It was Easter, so I couldn’t help but devour an easter egg and chocolate in general, as we know, chocolate these days is actually just sugar and fat and not real chocolate, nevertheless, I immediately started itching, which caused slight inflammation in my skin, redness and oddly, the purple colour returned. Thinking this was just my body in shock after eating no food whatsoever for 60 hours, a day or two later I tried a strawberry and some honey and I had the exact same reaction. Both reactions occurred within an hour of eating sugar so it is safe to say, my body does not like sugar and considering that if our intake of sugar is over the daily amount needed, it can become severely detrimental to our health, in all honesty, I do not take this as a loss. I will choose the health of my body, great skin, and energy over any sugary treat. I also noticed two spots on my forehead came up within three hours of consuming sugar so I am listening to my body.
My body loves water, it is just more of an unrequited love, nevertheless, I am getting used to drinking two litres of water a day and my energy levels are still great.
I needed more iron, even though I had full blood work done on everything from fertility, allergies, thyroid checks, liver, kidney function, you name it I did it all for the small price of a summer in the south of France – and they all came back clear or ‘normal‘ and yet, that was not the story my body was telling me and has responded very well to the changes I have made, as stated above. I actually researched why this was because for me, unless they have a record of my blood results of when my body felt and looked in great health, then how could they know when my body was not normal? To me, comparing what the normal range of an entire nation is when everybody has so many variables, sounds a tad useless to me but then again, I am not a doctor.
What I have taken away from this experience is that I will undoubtedly do this again, whenever my body feels out of whack, or if I ever have to take a course of antibiotics or have troubles with PMS etc. What you learn about your own body during this time, even if you do not experience such significant results as I personally did, is worth its weight in gold. The doctors do say that the body is the best pharmacist in the world because it can produce and prescribe the exact medicine and dosage for whatever is needed in the body and they were not joking; I am personally amazed at how effective and beneficial and life-changing to be honest, this water fast experience has been for me but again, please check with your health care professional before conducting any fast, of any kind because what you have, may be the signs of a serious, underlying condition, however, please note that the majority of docotors I reached out to in order to research this, had absolutely no clue on what water fasting was really for nor its benefits…just saying.
Here is what I found on the FDN website:
The difference between a standard and functional blood test analysis
There is no difference in the test itself, but there is a big difference in how that test is interpreted. When it comes to blood chemistry analysis, there are two ranges that can be looked at and analyzed. The Pathological and the Functional range.
The Pathological range is the range most commonly looked at by allopathic doctors. It is this range that indicates a level of disease in the body. It tends to be a very wide range, with focus going to markers in the high and low areas of the range.
The Functional range that is considered “normal” by many doctors in fact may be giving indication that the body is out of balance. If left unchecked, disease will be the outcome. But when looking at the Functional range, a practitioner who can interpret subtle variations and patterns of beginning dysfunction, can often work with a client to prevent the onset of disease and reverse symptoms.
This preventative work can be done through appropriate diet, exercise, stress management, quality sleep, proper supplementation and other non-invasive natural therapies and modalities.
Unfortunately our current model of healthcare is not setup for the prevention of disease, but for the treatment of disease. So the majority of doctors aren’t looking for the
factors that could lead to disease while interpreting a blood chemistry panel. They are looking for the markers that disease is already occurring in the body.
What is FDN?:
Reed is a Certified Nutritional Therapist and Founder of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) Certification Course. Reed served as Health Director and Case Manager at The Better Health & Wellness Center in Poway, California for over 15 years and now teaches the FDN course with over 2500 trainees & graduates in 50 countries. He is also a Clinical Advisor at BioHealth Laboratory where he helps doctors interpret lab test results and develop natural protocols to restore function instead of just treating the symptoms. Reed is known as one of the most successful and experienced clinicians in the world today, having provided functional assessments to over 10,000 clients for hormone levels, bone density testing, adrenal function, digestive problems, immune system and detoxification issues as well as testing for pathogens, food sensitivities and many related health problems. Reed lives in Southern California, teaching the FDN Certification Course. He helps his graduates build robust, private-pay practices.
Even though I do not have eczema or psoriasis, I have included other peoples experiences from the website cureeczemaslowly who had great results from water-fasting. I have included a snippet of their results but please check out their website for the full blog.
Factors That Trigger Eczema & Water-Fast benefits:
Chronic inflammatory disorders such as eczema are characterized by a hyper-responsive immune system.
No doubt fasting is an extended period of time where we let our body do its job of self-healing.
Here’s the concept.
The body has an order of preservation. By stage 5 starvation mode, we would’ve lost much of our fats and muscles. But it knows not to use the muscle tissue from our heart, or the fats from our brain. Because the body follows sequences of importance.
Likewise, recovery has a recovery sequence. If you fast for several days, your body heals certain minor injuries like skin abnormal growths, that weird spot of hair, and so on. Gradually, your body begins to repair increasingly deeper body damages.
First week, your itching will noticeably reduce. Then, your wounds scab. Your discoloured skin seems to be clearing.
But here’s the catch.
Most people think when their eczema no longer itches (with decreasingly smaller patches), they mistake it for seeing eczema as completely healed like a task ticked off the body’s self-recovery to-do list.
Recovery is not black and white, much of the time is in grey-zone. Eczema heals up rapidly during fasting because:
- You’re giving more rest to your immune system to repair itself (from more sleep and halted digestion).
- You no longer consume irritant dietary particles that were damaging your system.
If you immediately eat some irritant food after fasting, it’s going to damage your digestive system again, and eczema is bound to reappear.
Key: Your goal is never to heal eczema because eczema is not a problem you can directly tackle. Your goal is to let your body repair its immune system so it does not manifest damage, like eczema. – Harrison, blogger at Cure Eczema Slowly
Psoriasis 10-day Water Fast results:
Jack from Psoriosisblob who conducted a 10-day water fast (wowza) for his long-term psoriasis. Again, please go to their respective websites in order to read their full experience.
I am very glad that I did my ten day water fast.
My psoriasis did not go away completely, but I stopped flaking completely. My patches had been reduced to slightly raised areas of pink.
The self-discipline factor alone is also reason enough to do it. Afterwards, I literally felt like a boss for having such mental control, and I’m still proud of it today.
Another benefit was that it reset my taste-buds and showed the extent to which I had been conditioned to eating food. The power it had over me. With this realization it made it a lot easier for me to restrict my diet in the years to come.
But would I do it again? I’m not too sure. I have successfully done a five day water fast too, and think it’s great for kick-starting a round of detoxification for your body.
However, I currently think that, if you have a nine to five, and an active social life, it’s nigh on impossible to do a ten day water fast without affecting your productivity and other areas of life.
Relevant Videos on how people conduct water fasts for skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, acne etc that are worth viewing:
I do hope you found this useful, please share this blog post so that we can help others.
Sending well wishes to everyone,