Many of you will be familiar with “intermittent fasting” – it’s quite popular these days.
For the past three years I (Dennis) have been practicing a form of IF known as time-restricted eating (TRE) – that is, only eating food between 1pm-7pm. I’ve been practicing this 4-5 days a week, typically Monday through Thursday.
Giving the body a 12-18hr rest from eating has been linked to improved metabolic health (particularly due to the caloric restriction).
Multi-day fasting, on the other hand, offers it’s own range of potential health and lifespan-promoting benefits. After learning of these wide ranging benefits, I performed my first 72hr fast at the start of 2022. Over the summer I followed up with another 60hr fast.
I’ve openly shared these experiences on Instagram (@thewhealthadvisor) and, since then, have received both questions and potential interest from friends, colleagues, clients, and beyond.
As such, I figured I’d formally invite any interested individuals to share in the experience of my upcoming fast. Doing a multi-day fast isn’t exactly the most pleasant experience, but the benefits seem (to me) to be worth the effort.
Let’s dig in.
The main thing that got me interested in extended fasting – that is, fasting beyond 24hrs – was the process known as autophagy. Derived from Greek, autophagy means “to eat oneself.”
On October 3rd 2016, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for Autophagy.
Put simply, autophagy is the body’s mechanism of getting rid of all the broken down, old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes) when there’s no longer enough energy to sustain it. It is a regulated, orderly process to degrade and recycle cellular components.
Research suggests that some of the most important autophagy benefits include:
- Providing cells with molecular building blocks and energy
- Recycling damaged proteins, organelles and aggregates
- Regulating functions of cells’ mitochondria, which help produce energy but can be damaged by oxidative stress
- Clearing damaged endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisomes
- Protecting the nervous system and encouraging growth of brain and nerve cells. Autophagy seems to improve cognitive function, brain structure and neuroplasticity.
- Supporting growth of heart cells and protecting against heart disease
- Enhancing the immune system by eliminating intracellular pathogens
- Defending against misfolded, toxic proteins that contribute to a number of amyloid diseases
- Protecting stability of DNA
- Preventing damage to healthy tissues and organs (known as necrosis)
- Potentially fighting cancer, neurodegenerative disease and other illnesses
One of the most reliable ways to get your body to begin autophagy is through nutrient deprivation. For those new to fasting, doing a 24-36hr fast could be one way to explore a fasting practice and still reap many of the benefits of autophagy.
Researchers believe that autophagy is a survival mechanism that has anti-aging benefits.
It helps cleanse waste from the body, provides energy, and potentially fights cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and other chronic illnesses.
My original goal was to do a 48-72hr fast each quarter of the year. I missed my Q2 fast but am very much looking forward to this one.
Upcoming Fasting Schedule + Preparation:
Personally, my upcoming fast will begin after finishing lunch (around 12pm) on Wednesday (11/2) and will end with lunch on Saturday (11/5).
In advance of the fast, I am hosting a virtual group meet-up on Zoom on Monday (10/24) at 8pm ET.
- what to avoid 48hrs prior to fasting
- how to enter the fast
- what you can consume during your fast
- staying hydrated + electrolyte supplements
- easing the hunger pangs
- how to break your fast (gently & slowly)
For those interested, I’ve also created a WhatsApp group where all those participating can ask questions, provide moral support, and commiserate with each other.
- THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. Please consult with a doctor or medical professional before participating.
- Only a handful of studies measuring fasting and autophagy exist in humans. More research is needed to fully understand the benefits and implications of autophagy.
Interested in joining? Curious to learn more?
- Watch the video (below)
- Explore the resources (below the video)
- Send me an email expressing your interest and plan to join us on the virtual meet-up on Monday (10/24) at 8pm!
You can’t enjoy wealth if you’re not in good health.