In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, I’m joined by Dr. Alan Goldhamer, one of the world’s leading experts on medically supervised, water-only fasting. He’s supervised the fasting and care of more than 20,000 patients at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California, since he founded it in 1984.
His mission is to expand evidence-based knowledge of how medically supervised, water-only fasting and diet impact human health; train clinicians in the use of these interventions; and share findings with researchers and the public.
“We know using this protocol, this process can be done safely,” he says. “We’ve actually published a fasting safety study–the first fasting safety study that’s been published in a peer-reviewed journal–that involved tracking all the patients for five years, and all of the symptoms, and classifying them according to the CTCAE criteria, the adverse events criteria on hundreds of patients.”
A few things you may not know about water fasting:
- Your Body Self-Cleans: “The body does a really good job of regulating and recycling and restoring electrolyte balance during water-only fasting,” Dr. Goldhamer says. “And as soon as you start supplementing, then it puts increased load on other nutrients, it gets complicated, and there’s no good long term safety criteria using supplemented fasting.”
- Your Gut Heals: “What we see clinically is that these patients with microbial imbalances tend to improve dramatically,” Dr. Goldhamer says. “We do really well in treating conditions ranging from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, to the dysbiosis and chronic constipation, and more.”
- Your Inflammation Decreases: “There’s a powerful anti-inflammatory effect to fasting,” Dr. Goldhamer says. “All the acute phase reactive proteins, high sensitivity CRP, fibrinogen, pepsinogen, whatever you want to measure, tends to consistent and predictably go down during fasting. So the gut leakage appears to be able to heal.”
Our discussion covers research behind water fasting, what health conditions it may benefit and what happens during a water fast. We also get into a lot more information about health.
“There’s a lot in common between whether it’s intermittent fasting changes, water fasting changes, exercise, and all of these attempts to reduce dietary excess,” Dr. Goldhamer says. “All of them are essentially trying to reduce inflammation, get rid of gut leakage, and give the body a chance to heal itself from the consequences of a highly processed food diet, whether it’s processed animal foods or processed plant-based foods.”
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Follow Along with the Transcript
- Fasting will range from five to 40 days. We don’t fast people on very long fasts, over 40 days routinely – 2:36
- There’s a very good rationale and reason for avoiding supplementation in long term water-only fasting. It actually dramatically improves the safety – 4:03
- When you examine someone twice a day during a water fast, what do you look for? – 8:56
- If a person’s had, for example, arthritis, and their joints swell, and they become inflamed, that’s usually a positive sign that the body’s generating an acute response, hopefully resolving a chronic condition – 11:02
- We want to give the body a chance to mobilize, process and eliminate these toxic products. – 13:34
- What’s the number one reason that people come to you for longer fasts? – 14:23
- Insulin resistance means that people are making insulin, but it’s not being effectively used. And fasting has a powerful effect at resolving insulin resistance. In fact, it’s probably the most powerful tool we have at normalizing the body’s ability to use insulin. – 17:40
- I personally recommend that everybody fast every day. And I suggest that they do it, depending on their goals from 12 to 16 hours. – 19:40
- Added salts, added oils, and added sugars, from our perspective, have serious consequences.= 23:14
- People eating conventional diets will deteriorate in their sixth, seventh, eighth decades if they get that long. – 25:50
- You have five pounds of bacteria living in your intestinal tract, five pounds of living creatures, a trillion creatures eating, drinking and pooing inside you. So what you feed those bacteria affects what kind of bacteria you have, and how well they live. – 28:49
- We don’t add sugar to the diet, because you get all the carbohydrate you need from whole plant foods. And we don’t add oil to the diet – 33:05
- Salad has 100 calories a pound. If you were going to try to live on salad, you’d need 20 pounds or more a day of salad. – 38:01
- Water fasting has merit and that what you eat before and after your fast makes a huge difference in how well the fast works – 40:01
- We know that there’s things like insulin resistance related mechanisms with Adiponectin and ghrelin and other things that are profoundly increased during fasting. – 41:20
- Increased BDNF that’s protective against the nervous system. That goes up with exercise, it also goes up with fasting. – 42:02
- The same rats with the same cancer but you fast them, short periods, before, during, after fasting all the rats survived, dramatically enhances cancer free survival, because fasting makes the cancer cells more vulnerable, because they don’t do as well in a low glucose environment, a high ketone environment, and it helps protect the healthy cells from the consequences of the chemotherapy. – 43:27
- One of the important ways to get the most benefit of fasting is to do fasting in a restful state. And that’s where we talked about, we prefer especially long term fasting needs to be done in a controlled setting under direct supervision where there’s been a history exam, lab, proper monitoring. – 49:17
- What’s good for short term athletic performance, what’s good for even maximum athletic performance isn’t necessarily what’s good for long term sustained health. – 54:21
- If any of your viewers are interested in whether fasting might be relevant to them, we offer a free service. If they go to our website and complete the registration forms. Truenorthhealth.com- 56:04
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