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In the opening post in this thread Sthira posted a YouTube video featuring a talk by Dr. Alan Goldhamer from the True North Health Center, who specializes is extended (up to 40 days), medically-supervised, water-only fasts for therapeutic purposes. Embedded below is an interview of Dr. Goldhamer by another online health resource I find useful, Andrew Perlot from  Renaissance Human. Andrew started Renaissance Human fairly recently, so there isn't that much content yet, but I've been following him for years via his science-based nutritition & lifestyle-oriented YouTube channel.

 

Dr. Goldhamer has had 15,000 patients fast under his supervision at True North over the last 30 years, and as he puts it, everyone who has walked in has walked out, despite fasting people for up to 40 days on just water.

 

What most caught my attention was the collaboration he mentions he and colleagues are starting with Luigi Fontana and the Buck Institute to track biomarkers of health and aging during and after extended water fasts. He talks about this collaboration at 15:15 and again at around 19:45.

 

He also talks about:

  • the scientifically documented health benefits of fasting starting at 43:15'
  • more about the Fontana collaboration (44:50).
  • The importance of B12 for vegans (46:30) and vitamin D (48:00).
  • He speaks about the best form of water to drink (distilled is best, RO is #2) at 49:30.
  • Meditation & relaxation techniques at 53:00.
  • How fasting and exercise raises BDNF at 55:00
  • The shortcomings of the medical model when it comes to actually healing people of chronic conditions at 59:00

For anyone interested in learning more about Dr. Goldhamer and his work, here is the website for his True North Health Center. He says they offer a free phone consultation to see if an extended water fast may be right for you.

 

--Dean

 

 

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Thanks, Dean, great interview. Fasting is a piece of the puzzle, I think, and Goldhamer's onto it. These collaborations with Drs. Longo and Fontana, and the Buck Institute seem like natural fits.

 

He often makes the distinction between prolonged water-only fasting (5-40 days) and Dr. Longo's "intermittent feeding" strategies. Both are good: they're different tools to acheive different goals. My own health goal is prob yours, too: acheive LEV, haha, and so maybe prolonged fasts combined with CE. These are puzzle pieces until real techno rejuvination therapies perhaps one day grace stage right.

 

Opening more fasting centers -- backed by the fragile publications from the conservative medical establishment -- hopefully will put a dent in this tragic obesity epidemic. So many good people are trapped by food addiction leveled upon all of us by the food industries (Phillip Morris...). Here is a societal good: get more people experiencing the benefits of fasting, combine fasting with rest, and follow the fasting experience strategically.

 

I am puzzled by his opposition to oil, however, particularly olive oil. I wonder what he might think about companies like Amphora, who recognize fraud in the mainstream industry, and attempt to supply us the people with better oils?

Edited by Sthira

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I'm on day 5 of another water-only fasting gig, and doing okay with it. Ups and downs, of course -- downs are not related much to the imposed hunger as with loss of energy. Wheeee I'm dizzy sometimes! I'm thinking about extending out this fast to ten-days, but just playing the tune as it comes. When I have mo'money, I'd like an accurate ketone/glucose combo meter (if such a device exists) but ketone strips cost more than $50 for just ten strips, so...

 

But I wanted to share for inspiration a great podcast by an awesome brother, Shawn Stevenson, check it: http://theshawnstevensonmodel.com/health-benefits-of-fasting/

 

He writes:

 

"Sometimes I wonder how things that are so simple can be so powerful (and yet so overlooked). When we talk about fasting, we are talking about something that’s deeply connected to the highest expression of our genes..."

Edited by Sthira

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Sthira,

 

I came to this thread to post and noticed you left us hanging on day 5 of your water fast. That was 8 days ago! I hope you've finished it by now. Please give us an update on how this one went. 

 

The reason I came to this thread was to link to this post I just made in the cold exposure thread, which talks about another interview of Ray Cronise by Rhonda Patrick from FoundMyFitness.com. This interview with Ray was shorter than the Rich Roll one earlier in this thread. And even more interesting, Ray was on day 23 of a 24-day supervised water fast at the time of this interview.  Ray looks good, and says he feels great. He acknowledges though that clear thinking isn't always easy at that point in a fast, and I have to admit he is a bit rambly at times in the interview. 

 

 

Ray is a pioneer in human application of mild cold exposure a topic near and dear to my heart. See my post on the cold exposure thread for more discussion of Ray and this interview.

 

Lately he's been exploring both time-restricted feeding and intermittent fasting. He thinks modern society coddles us too much - we aren't exposure to cold temperatures or significant time away from food, and as a result our health suffers. He sees quite an explicit link between the benefits and mechanisms of cold exposure and calorie restriction / fasting. 

 

Overall a very interesting interview. Rhonda is pretty sharp.

 

--Dean

 

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I try to limit my feeding to an 8 hour window out of 24. I eat twice a day - noonish and then sometime after 6 but finish before 8. And then every Tuesday I do a partial fast in that I just eat my first meal (around noon as usual), and then nothing else, except a coffee around 3-4 pm, until next day when I again have my regular noon meal. Then every Friday, I do a tea fast - i.e. don't eat anything from my Thursday evening meal until Saturday noon, and the only liquid I take in (and not a whole lot) is green tea. It works for me. I really feel quite sharp after the Friday fast. I like it so much, that I look forward to it the whole week. One time a friend was asking me about my diet (which I don't like to talk about, and never promote), because he saw me as always "on the ball" whereas folks around at work usually have their afternoon sleepies 4-5 pm, to be combatted with massive coffee runs. I briefly explained the principles of CR to him, and he seemed quite determined to try it. I could see him struggling with the hunger issue, but he also asked me about how I take my meals - and so I explained to him the idea behind only eating twice a day, and he was following closely and then I said - "and after all this calorie juggling, every Friday I give myself a treat!" - his eyes really lit up, imagining the treat "I don't eat any food at all!" - he burst out laughing, laughing, laughing... I've never heard him laugh as hard. He thought I made a fantastic joke. Except I wasn't being sardonic or jokey - I really look forward to the fast as a treat!

 

That said, I never tried any fasts longer than 2-3 days. I'm not saying it doesn't have value, but I feel just fine on my very modest regimen of one semi-fast and one fast day a week, and then keeping 16-17 hours food free the rest of the weekdays. Would anyone here claim/advocate great benefits from longer fasts?

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Sthira,

 

I came to this thread to post and noticed you left us hanging on day 5 of your water fast. That was 8 days ago! I hope you've finished it by now. Please give us an update on how this one went.

Thanks, Dean, for giving a damn :-)

 

I'll hang out my laundry here and say my last fast did not go down particularly well for me. Not at all. I extended it out to eight days -- which in fast-speak is really nothing -- and I combined my fast with complete, total rest. As indicated. Meaning, I literally did nothing beyond lay in bed in the darkness, listen to reggae, and drink vinegar water. Vinegar water that's actually cheating, my horrified conscious mind kept repeating. Oh, sometimes I'd stumble down to take a leak. But by the end of day eight, I was so weak, so fuzzy and out, so anxious, so dizzy, I literally had to crawl to the toilet, and so I thought no this is stupid, this is so so stupid, so I ate some blueberries and cashed out of another fast.

 

Experience gained? Dunno. Maybe I'm moving too far too fast? My weight loss is horrific. But I really want the positive benefits of extended water only fasts -- the AMPK activation, the lowered IGF-1, increased GH, lowered blood sugar... But how to gain benefits without boning down to sub Saharan weights? So I'm trying to work that out. Fasting support would help -- so I'm thinking about signing up for a few weeks maybe this fall at True North. Med-supervision seems smart especially for us who exist alone and at the margins of society.

 

Meanwhile, Dean, I've taken your articulate cues to just eat one meal per day, and leave a nice 24-hr spread between gobbles. One question, tho, why eat your royalty feast so early in the day, and why not, say, late in the evening? I'm sure you've answered this bazillions before, have provided sixteen peer reviewed refs, god I'm a lazy slacker but ... We're just communicating here and now I'm trailing off with more question marks..

Edited by Sthira

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Sthira,

 

Glad you made it and are still with us. Sorry to hear this fast didn't go so well. If you look at Ray Cronise in the above video, he doesn't even look that thin at day 23 of a water-only fast. I think your experience suggests that those of us who are already rail-thin probably need to be very careful when it comes to extended water-only fasts, since we have so little in the way of metabolic reserves. 

 

I'm glad you're giving time-restricted eating a try. Eating as early in the day as I do is clearly unnecessary. But avoiding eating too close to bedtime is a good idea, for reasons Tom and I were just discussing in this thread. Let me know if you this needs further clarification.

 

I really wish you were going to be at the conference. It seems like you'd be a lot of fun to hang out with, and you could benefit from some socializing with other folks as crazy as you!

 

--Dean

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Thank you, Pomerleau, D. (Are you French?) In the video, Mr. Cronise does not look like a man experiencing the tails of a 23-day fast, does he? My BMI would be <15 after such an epic run, so he must have started his fast in a far different space than would you & me, eg.

 

For really skinny punks, sand kicked in our faces, I think fasting should be approached with precision and caution. And probably medical supervision. And so maybe one thing (ha) I learned on this fast (which was short, only eight days) is that perhaps due to my delicately thin frame fasting longer than five days should be, gulp, swallow my pride -- "supervised." Haha, which is what they've (Longo, Mattson, Goldhamer, that skinny Lauren guy in Costa Rica...) have been saying all along: med-supervised, please, too dangerous for all y'all to be fasting down like that. I guess I've questioned this because, well, one: everyone's marketing their shit; two: it costs money to submit to these cats; three: I'm stubborn; four: I like to simplify what others like to complicatifiy; five: oops, forgot what five was; six: because I really don't feel like being around a big group of fellow pathetic "fasters" on retreat down in Santa Rosa or wherever. Dozing mid-complaint surrounded by begonias. But maybe they offer the option at True North to just shut the damned $160/night room door? Or do I have to have a roommate for that low low price haha...

 

Humph: medical supervision.... Now I gotta figure out how to pay. And one of the beauties of fasting is that it's FREE...

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Dr. Weil has  for sure an approach that the authors of sciencebasedmedicine would disapprove. But I have found his suggestions and books useful. 

for example this answer on fasting  , it is a balanced answer and also offer the good tip (for me) on  taking  powdered psyllium to keep regular. 

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why the not only water vinegar?

I'm sorry, rephrase the question?

 

Dr. Weil has for sure an approach that the authors of sciencebasedmedicine would disapprove. But I have found his suggestions and books useful.

for example this answer on fasting , it is a balanced answer and also offer the good tip (for me) on taking powdered psyllium to keep regular.

From Dr. Weil: "To keep yourself regular while on a juice fast, take powdered psyllium. Mix a tablespoon in a big glass of water, drink it all and then drink a glass of pure water."

 

Keeping myself regular during prolonged fasting is certainly an issue. I'll look into trying powdered psyllium on my next extended fast, which will be another 5-7 days the first of June. Thanks for the suggestion! I wonder if ground flaxseed would also work to get poop advancing during fasts? I'm also taking in powdered amla (non-fasting days) based on Dean's hint and Dr. Greger's smoothie ideas.

 

I've never done a juice only fast mostly because of sugar elevation concerns. Your thoughts?

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Sthira,

 

Wouldn't ingesting enough ground flaxseeds to improve bowel motility also sort of defeat the fast - since flaxseeds are pretty rich in calories, fat and protein?

 

--Dean

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Why do you need to keep regular on a fast? If you aren't consuming anything, shouldn't you be completely empty after 1-3 days?

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Sthira,

 

Wouldn't ingesting enough ground flaxseeds to improve bowel motility also sort of defeat the fast - since flaxseeds are pretty rich in calories, fat and protein?

 

--Dean

Probably you're right, so maybe I won't. But I'm not sure what "defeat the fast" would mean. Would that mean eating some ground up fiber might flip off whatever regenerative switches that may be involved in extended fasts? Questions questions, I wish this ancient practice was more thoroughly researched.

 

Why do you need to keep regular on a fast? If you aren't consuming anything, shouldn't you be completely empty after 1-3 days?

Probably I don't need to keep regular whilst fasting. I usually stop all poopage after the first fast day. Then around day nine or so, suddenly it's time to take a weird clumpy dump. By weird I mean dry, small, dark, pellet-like, something like captive bonobo scat -- which I'm pretty familiar with hosing out of primate cages. I figure that the stuff tangled up within my pipes wants to come out when it's ready. Why force it, strain veins, or stick things up in there?

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Since US Memorial Day is this coming Monday, a holiday from face-smashing work obligations, I jumped the gun on my monthly prolonged fast.

 

I started water-only fasting on Wednesday of this week, currently it's Saturday, and so far that's 100 hours of no food. I'm on day 4 of a water-only this time, no vinegar, no psyllium, no ground flaxseed to increase bowel movements. Just reggae and organic purple.

 

Days have been enjoyable and peaceful, and except for niggling weight loss which I wish didn't have to happen (I'm a sinking BMI 18 -- 6'2" 140 -- and honestly being skeletal is my biggest downside of fasting) I'd extend this fast out to ten days. But here I'll end it at six days (and that's due only to social and work related shiz)

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All,

 

A few posts back in this thread, prior to Sthira gracing us with details about his fasting-induced changes in bowel movements, I briefly discussed time-restricted feeding (TRF), or eating within a narrow time window during the day. For anyone interested in this topic, I just posted on the Cold Exposure thread a detailed analysis of a really interesting paper (PMID 22608008) that found dramatic improvements in metabolic health as a result of TRF, at least in mice, and especially when fed a high-fat diet. It found that one of the important things TRF does is to boost the circadian rhythmicity and magnitude of activity in calorie-burning brown adipose tissue (BAT). Here is the graphic abstract from the paper, for anyone too lazy to read my post about it:

 

QcImBVl.png

So Longo may be onto something, but it's not clear to me that the benefits of TRF will generalize to the kind of 5:2 intermittent fasting regime that Longo touts. Why? Because if you look at that details of that paper, the benefits of TRF appear to result from normalizing and amplifying circadian rhythms in metabolic processes, including thermogenesis. It seems just as plausible to me that interrupting one's normal daily rhythms by eating very few calories for two days in a row (Longo's prescribed "5:2" pattern) would be just as likely to impair rather than accentuate the circadian metabolic rhythms that appear to be so important.

 

I'm not saying extended fasts of several days or longer aren't beneficial, just that the mechanism by which time-restricted feeding improves metabolic health may not be the same as intermittent fasting.

 

--Dean

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I'm not saying extended fasts of several days or longer aren't beneficial, just that the mechanism by which time-restricted feeding improves metabolic health may not be the same as intermittent fasting.

When you write "the mechanism" this confuses me. Shouldn't that be plural? Doesn't any behavior -- even eating a single grape -- cause a huge amount of hopelessly complex chemical change within? So fasting is changing all sorts of stuff inside. Again: where's AI?

 

Also I'm still hung up on why researchers must study the effects of fasting on mice when people are available? Why keep replicating and discovering new stuff, then replicating the new stuff, discovering more new stuff, and getting caught up in this mouse-box?

 

Why not study people? Researchers need not lock us down in expensive supervision in order to prove we're honestly not eating, if we're motivated on our own to fast. I don't understand. Why is it expensive to study people who fast?

 

People exist who are self-motivated to improve health by fasting. Valter Longo conducts research in Los Angeles, which is arguably the anti-aging mecca of the world. He'd have hundreds, if not thousands, of compliant volunteers.

 

What gives? Why not study fasting humans rather than fasting mice?

 

Is it the blood tests that are so expensive?

 

Here's the human study -- tell me if it's hopelessly simplistic. Recruit self motivated fasters: don't eat, recruits, for five days. Then blood test whatever chemistry you think is important. Why so difficult?

 

Mice are different than humans. A day of mouse fasting might be a week to ten days or even months for a person. In fact, have you ever seen a mouse fasting study with mice fasting for more than three days? They starve. After one day of fasting mice lose like 10% of body weight. That'd be like me losing 14 pounds per day?

 

Also, fasting "lowers IGF-1," from your reading, correct?

 

Well darn it, now I see this: http://medicine.missouri.edu/news/20160615-preventing-heart-attacks-strokes-older-adults.php

 

The study is in mice. I'm not following mice studies wrt to personal health decisions. If we want to know if lowering IGF-1 in people leads to increased atherosclerotic plaque, let's study people, not mice. If we want to know if raising IGF-1 helps clear plaques, let's study people not mice.

Edited by Sthira

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Sthira,

 

Why not study [fasting] people [rather than rodents]? Researchers need not lock us down in expensive supervision in order to prove we're honestly not eating, if we're motivated on our own to fast. I don't understand. Why is it expensive to study people who fast?

People exist who are self-motivated to improve health by fasting. Valter Longo conducts research in Los Angeles, which is arguably the anti-aging mecca of the world. He'd have hundreds, if not thousands, of compliant volunteers. 

 

Didn't you just answer your own question? Longo is studying people, as well as rodents. E.g. from this account of his research:

 

In a pilot human trial, three cycles of a similar diet given to 19 subjects once a month for five days decreased risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer with no major adverse side effects, according to Longo.

 

Also, fasting "lowers IGF-1," from your reading, correct? 

 

Yes, as does CR. 

 

Well darn it, now I see this: http://medicine.miss...lder-adults.php

 

Yes, IGF-1 is an anabolic hormone, helping to maintain muscle mass, prevent obesity, improve endothelial function, and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, at least in the general population, as your study suggests. And it gets worse, testosterone replacement therapy for men with low T does the same thing  - reducing the risks of heart attack by 24%, stroke by 36%, and all-cause mortality by a whopping 56% [1] without even increasing aggressive prostate cancer risk. In fact, paradoxically in my mind, T replacement may even decrease risk of aggressive prostate cancer, again, at least in the general population.

 

The double-edged nature of these anabolic hormones (IGF-1 and T) have made them a perennial topic of discussion around here. Is it good to be low? How low is too low? Rodents die of cancer, so low IGF-1 may be good. But humans die more of CVD, so maybe low IGF-1 isn't so good. Yada, Yada, Yada. The key question is whether low IGF-1 and low T as a result of a healthy CR diet and lifestyle is different from low levels of the two hormones in the general population. People like Michael seem convinced the answer is yes (but not too low). Others aren't so convinced. The debate rages (or simmers) on. 

 

In the meantime, I'm hopeful that the anabolic benefits of these hormones can be obtained without their downsides via a "back door" involving cold exposure, as I discussed in great technical detail here.

 

--Dean

 

----------

[1] Eur Heart J. 2015 Oct 21;36(40):2706-15. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv346. Epub 2015

Aug 6.

Normalization of testosterone level is associated with reduced incidence of
myocardial infarction and mortality in men.

Sharma R(1), Oni OA(1), Gupta K(2), Chen G(3), Sharma M(1), Dawn B(2), Sharma
R(1), Parashara D(4), Savin VJ(5), Ambrose JA(6), Barua RS(7).

Author information:
(1)Division of Cardiovascular Research, Kansas City VA Medical Center, Kansas
City, MO, USA. (2)Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Kansas
Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA. (3)Division of Health Services Research,
University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA. (4)Division of
Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS,
USA Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Kansas City VA Medical Center, 4801 E.
Linwood Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64128, USA. (5)Division of Nephrology, Kansas
City VA Medical Center, Kansas City, MO, USA. (6)Division of Cardiovascular
Medicine, University of California San Francisco, Fresno, CA, USA. (7)Division of
Cardiovascular Research, Kansas City VA Medical Center, Kansas City, MO, USA
Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas
City, KS, USA Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Kansas City VA Medical Center,
4801 E. Linwood Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64128, USA rajat.barua@va.gov.

Comment in
Nat Rev Cardiol. 2015 Oct;12(10):561.

AIMS: There is a significant uncertainty regarding the effect of testosterone
replacement therapy (TRT) on cardiovascular (CV) outcomes including myocardial
infarction (MI) and stroke. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship
between normalization of total testosterone (TT) after TRT and CV events as well
as all-cause mortality in patients without previous history of MI and stroke.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We retrospectively examined 83 010 male veterans with
documented low TT levels. The subjects were categorized into (Gp1: TRT with
resulting normalization of TT levels), (Gp2: TRT without normalization of TT
levels) and (Gp3: Did not receive TRT). By utilizing propensity score-weighted
Cox proportional hazard models, the association of TRT with all-cause mortality,
MI, stroke, and a composite endpoint was compared between these groups. The
all-cause mortality [hazard ratio (HR): 0.44, confidence interval (CI)
0.42-0.46], risk of MI (HR: 0.76, CI 0.63-0.93), and stroke (HR: 0.64, CI
0.43-0.96) were significantly lower in Gp1 (n = 43 931, median age = 66 years,
mean follow-up = 6.2 years) vs. Gp3 (n = 13 378, median age = 66 years, mean
follow-up = 4.7 years) in propensity-matched cohort. Similarly, the all-cause
mortality (HR: 0.53, CI 0.50-0.55), risk of MI (HR: 0.82, CI 0.71-0.95), and
stroke (HR: 0.70, CI 0.51-0.96) were significantly lower in Gp1 vs. Gp2 (n = 25
701, median age = 66 years, mean follow-up = 4.6 years). There was no difference
in MI or stroke risk between Gp2 and Gp3.
CONCLUSION: In this large observational cohort with extended follow-up,
normalization of TT levels after TRT was associated with a significant reduction
in all-cause mortality, MI, and stroke.

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Thanks.

 

Didn't you just answer your own question? Longo is studying people, as well as rodents. E.g. from this account of his research:

 

 

In a pilot human trial, three cycles of a similar diet given to 19 subjects once a month for five days decreased risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer with no major adverse side effects, according to Longo.

Right, and so this is my current behavior (fast five days per month but without Longo's blessings and expensive FMD lunch boxes).

 

We could replicate Longo's human findings right here (he studied 19 people?), and we do it for low cost, do it quickly, easily. We'll agree to pre-test Longo's blood markers ("risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer"); we'll fast water-only for four days; then we'll post-test those same markers; and write it up hated n=1 style here. We could do this citizen science project, and it's not costing millions, not requiring rodent deaths, and not taking decades of time. We could replicate Longo's 19 person study here.

 

...The double-edged nature of these anabolic hormones (IGF-1 and T) have made them a perennial topic of discussion around here. Is it good to be low? How low is too low?

....

 

In the meantime, I'm hopeful that the anabolic benefits of these hormones can be obtained without their downsides via a "back door" involving cold exposure, as I discussed in great technical detail here.

 

We could also attempt a citizen science project wearing cold jackets: pre-test blood markers; wear the cold jacket for some specified time; post-test blood markers. It seems simple and honest. Who cares about "publishing"? Probably no one is here is in this longevity-seeking behavior for careerism, status, and money. Are we here reading and posting comments for health and hopefully longer lives?

 

I'm not thinking these self-trials (fasting; CE) will extend lifespan -- but who knows maybe they will? Artificial Intelligence I think is the fantasy Godot we're awaiting. Meanwhile, wtf.

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Sthira,

 

Yes we could do semi-controlled citizen science projects on fasting or cold exposure. I'd be game. But before and after blood tests will likely cost each of us several hundred dollars out of pocket. The "equipment" for CE costs ~$100 too.

 

As a result of the expenses, and the effort / hardship involved, I seriously doubt we'd get more than 3-4 people who'd agree to diligently participate and document their results. So it probably won't tell us very much beyond literal N-of-1 self-trials.

 

Sad, but realistic.

 

--Dean

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Optimal or at least adequate nutrition appears to be a fundamental element of CR and this focus on nutrition is supposed to be what distinguishes CR from eating disorders such as anorexia and their associated risks of significant negative health impacts.

 

Isn't it likely that the more/longer one fasts the greater the challenge of maintaining adequate nutrition and the greater the risks of suffering ailments of malnutrition typical of those with eating disorders?  Also, it has been discussed and there appears to be substantiation through research that there is a danger with rapid weight loss of raising blood levels of fat sequestered toxins which seems to make the idea of detoxing through fasting less appealing.

 

I did a bit of googling and there appears to be plenty of controversy surrounding fasting and especially longer water fasting with anecdotal tales of negative outcomes roughly as easy to find as claims of significant benefit.  I failed to find any consensus (though I didn't search deeply) on how much/long fasting is compatible with CR.  Actually, most of what I found on fasting presented it as if it was a completely separate/different approach from CR to managing ones health through diet.

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Todd,

 

Isn't it likely that the more/longer one fasts the greater the challenge of maintaining adequate nutrition and the greater the risks of suffering ailments of malnutrition typical of those with eating disorders? 

 

Certainly if you engage in repeated, extended water only fasts, you are at greater risk of getting into trouble nutritionally. But a single (or very infrequently repeated) water fast shouldn't have too much impact. The human body is surprisingly resilient, unless you are super-slim to begin with, in which case you body might need to start catabolizing important tissues and organs for energy during a long water-only fast. 

 

Also, it has been discussed and there appears to be substantiation through research that there is a danger with rapid weight loss of raising blood levels of fat sequestered toxins which seems to make the idea of detoxing through fasting less appealing.

 

The general consensus is that "detoxing" as the term is often used is pretty much a myth. Your digestive system does a good job (if fed properly) of making such nothing gets left around for very long. Your liver does a bang-up job detoxing your blood. But one way your body detoxes is to sequester potentially harmful substances relatively safely  in your (relatively inert) white adipose tissue. As we've seen, when you lose weight, you burn fat and this releases those pent up toxins into your bloodstream, which might contribute to the negative effects some people report while fasting or when rapidly losing weight, even on a healthy diet. So by this meaning of "detox", extended water fasts may qualify.

 

I did a bit of googling and there appears to be plenty of controversy surrounding fasting and especially longer water fasting with anecdotal tales of negative outcomes roughly as easy to find as claims of significant benefit.  I failed to find any consensus (though I didn't search deeply) on how much/long fasting is compatible with CR.  Actually, most of what I found on fasting presented it as if it was a completely separate/different approach from CR to managing ones health through diet.

 

No doubt about it - extended (> 4-5 day) water fasts can be dangerous and should be medically supervised, particularly if you've never done it before. At a meta-level, the only source of information (and qualified supervision) that I know of in the US for extended, water-only fasting is the True North Health Center, lead by Dr. Alan Goldhamer. See this post earlier in this thread for a link to True North, and for a really good video by Dr. Goldhamer on water-only fasting. Dr. Goldhamer is starting up a collaboration with Luigi Fontana, who is arguably the world's foremost researcher on human CR, having studied us for many years, and conducted experiments with the general population as well.

 

Whatever you do, don't listen to Loran Lockman or (worse) Doug Graham. Neither know what they are talking about. Andrew Perlot (who interviewed Goldhamer in the video mentioned above) actually did a water fast with Dr. Graham and benefited from it - but I've heard some horror stories about how poorly Graham manages his operation and the health of people fasting with him... Andrew is a very rational and intelligent guy who's well worth listening to. Here is his blog post about his 26 day water-only fast, along with videos about the experience, before / after pictures etc.

 

Todd, I'd be very careful if I were you, given your situation. If you are seriously considering it, I would try to talk with Dr. Goldhamer directly to see if fasting might be right for you. I think True North offers free over-the-phone consultations. If I were in your position, I definitely wouldn't consider going anywhere else by True North, or trying an extended water fast on my own.

 

Let us know what if anything more you learn, and decide.

 

--Dean

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Dean, I'm not seriously considering water fasting, at least not right now.  However, if I found evidence that it had a significant possibility of being beneficial for my condition without much risk than I would be likely to give it a try.

 

For the moment though I have found a rhythm that is working for me.  I've never been one to keep a steady schedule, but for the past few weeks I've been settling into a routine of waking at a consistent early time without an alarm, eating similarly sized portions at the same times each day, falling to sleep quick when I go to bed and sleeping soundly through the night.  I'm not struggling with hunger or food cravings.  I've considered skipping or cutting back on meals when I'm not particularly hungry but due to the concern to not lose weight too quickly I've been mostly sticking to my plan and eating my full meals.

 

So I'm hesitant to disrupt what's currently working for me.  An extended water might be very disruptive.  I could probably handle modest intermittent fasting such as skipping/delaying meals but it's not clear that there is much benefit to that over and above what one achieves by maintaining a more steady low caloric intake.

 

I found an app for my phone that tracks my walks and bike rides with gps and logs duration, speed and distance.  I managed to walk 0.62 miles in 37 minutes this morning which is up from 0.5 miles in 50 minutes a week ago.  6 weeks ago I could barely make it 50 feet without collapsing.  The gains are coming slower now, but I'm increasingly confident that this is sustainable and the gains will continue for some time.

 

I managed to get my appt. for my rheumatologist rescheduled and I'll be seeing him tomorrow and hopefully get some blood work done.  Somewhat typical for my disease my CPK levels have been exceedingly high as well as the liver enzymes AST/ALT.  In the past exercise made these numbers worse but I'm hopeful this time they will be better despite heavy, for me, exercise.  And somewhat common for my disease I've also had high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

 

I'm exercising more than I have in a decade and it's now making me feel good instead of crappy.  My somewhat inaccurate consumer blood pressure device has shown a dramatic improvement both for the highs and the lows as I was also prone to frequent crashes of blood pressure resulting in dizziness or fainting which was complicating finding medication to control the highs.

 

I'd like to start taking nicotinic acid (NA) in addition to the nicotinamide riboside (NR) I'm currently taking.   NA is also an NAD precursor and is about 1/50 the cost per milligram of NR.  NA also dilates blood vessels which could benefit both my blood pressure and my Raynaud's syndrome.  However, NA is not recommended for those with liver dysfunction (I don't yet know if my AST/ALT levels are actually linked to liver abnormality).  Even if I can take NA, I think I'll continue taking NR as it is supposed to boost NAD in the nucleus of cells which is where the mutant adrogen receptor protein of my disease accumulates and causes damage.  And the SIRT1 mediated deacetylization of the mutant AR in the cell nucleus consumes NAD unlike the other metabolic processes which cycles NAD between NAD+ and NADH.

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Todd,

 

I'm so happy to hear that you're continuing to make slow and steady progress, and aren't seriously considering an extended, water-only fast (EWOF). If it ain't broke, don't fix it. In fact, that was something I meant to say in my previous post about EWOFs.

 

I'm with Dr. Goldhamer, and consider EWOFs a viable method for kickstarting healthy diet & lifestyle habits for people who have failed to make changes using other, more moderate methods. EWOFs are medicinal, rather than dietary, if you know what I mean. They can help get someone to the door to a healthy diet and lifestyle, but aren't much help with walking through it.

 

It sounds like you're through the door and on a good trajectory. I'll be curious what your rheumatologist thinks of your progress, and how your blood work looks.

 

--Dean

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I'll be starting my seventh five day water only fast of 2016 in a few days. It's working great for me -- far better than CR did. By that I mean I just have so much energy and feel so great after bouncing back from EWOF that I need to be careful about overdoing it.

 

I track my daily vegan consumption on cronometer, I'm hitting my targets and supping B12, biotin, choline, D, and sometimes selenium.

 

I know the advice you'll give me -- you're overdoing it, you may be dangerously malnourishing yourself, ease up, be more moderate, chill -- and I hear you. But I also hear my own body, and so far so good.

 

I'm fasting five days once per month, and sometimes I'm fasting even longer than that. I have deep troughs in this, deep downs, sometimes shit gets really down and awful, and I think part of the fasting equation that's easily overlooked is Goldhamer's admonition that the fast is to be accompanied by complete rest. I do this. I rest. I recover. I do nothing. Literally from day three or four onward, I time my fasting so that I'm able to lay in the dark on my back, legs extended up the wall, I sleep, I doze, I dream, I listen to podcasts, I write goofy posts here, I read and read and read, I do some chill yin yoga, maybe smoke a little herb, listen to some awesome reggae, and whenever I need to urinate I nearly faint from low blood sugar, blood pressure. Sometimes I have to crawl to take a leak. Or I'll fall.

 

But hear me: I think our bodies are way, way tougher and more resilient than we give them credit. We're primates. We're hardened by our brutal past, I think of my body as sort of this rugged chimpanzee. I give my ape body downtime, and my ape body gives me back boundless energy -- so much energy that sometimes I worry I'm gonna fly, so I tamp it down with yin yoga and meditation and some love.

 

Anyway, no one read this far, haha, and if you did don't listen to me because I'm a freak. Do your thing that's best for you, but realize you're way stronger than you think.

Edited by Sthira

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