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Fasting

Find a professional for Fasting in Seattle

Fasting is the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drugs — and in some cases, liquids — for a period of time. Fasting for medical, religious and spiritual reasons has been a part of human custom since prehistoric times. Fasting is mentioned in the Bible, the Mahabharata, the Upanishads and in the Qur'an.

Patients often fast for medical reasons, which has been an accepted practice for many years. One reason for fasting is to prepare for surgery or other procedures that require anesthesia.  The presence of food in a person's gastrointestinal system can cause complications when they are anesthetized.  Consequently, medical personnel strongly suggest that their patients fast for several hours before many procedures. Patients are often asked to fast so that baseline values can be established for some blood and urine tests.

A longer fast for therapeutic reasons typically lasts a week or longer and includes some food intake, such as fruit or vegetable juices, as part of a detoxification diet. After approximately three days of fasting, feelings of hunger usually become infrequent or disappear altogether.  Some proponents of fasting believe that pure water fasting can not only detoxify cells and rejuvenate organs, but can actually cure such diseases and conditions as: cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer, allergies, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colitis, psoriasis, lupus and some other autoimmune disorders — when combined with a healthy diet before and after the fast.

When food is not eaten, the body looks for other ways to find energy, such as drawing on glucose from the liver's stored glycogen and fatty acids from stored fat and eventually moving on to vital protein tissues. Body, brain and nerve tissue depend on glucose for metabolism. Once the glucose is significantly used up, the body's metabolism changes, producing ketone bodies.  It is this breakdown of storage tissues such as fat that has a detoxification effect, as many toxins are stored in fat.  Furthermore, the glands and organs of the digestive system get to rest and repair themselves.

Author: Christopher Holder, ND Candidate '07



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