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Active fasting vs passive fasting

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25 Jan 2013 00:46 #15013 by david
david created the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
For the first time one of our members (Meditating) has taken a couple of months off work to undertake a 40 day supervised fast at a Fasting retreat in California. A few of us had questions about their protocols and specifically wanted to know whether active fasting was encouraged. When we put the question to Meditating this was her reply:

TN does not follow the elimination cycle protocol. They are a fasting center and do not also operate a water spa. They do not have any kind of spa here. They also do not allow fasting patients to shower because of the same hypotensive concerns which are even more so when a patient is placed in a steaming environment.

I also asked for their take on active (some physical exertion) vs passive (no physical exertion) fasting and they only allow the latter. While they do have a small gym area for those who are pre or post fasting, their studies and patient reports have proven patients have better toxic elimination, lose more weight, and have shorter recoveries during a passive fast. Sometime ago I talked to a female runner here who had done both and she found that to be true since she had a much quicker recovery (presumably because she was better rested during her passive fast) and she lost more weight too.

I asked this question when I first arrived and may not remember all that was in the answer but during a passive fast the body uses all the energy to work on eliminating toxins. This makes sense when you consider the argument that one reason you fast is to shift the energy spent on digestion to toxic elimination and rebuilding new cells. The same is true when you eliminate physical exertion.

Another reason was active fasting leads to the consumption of more muscle tissue than passive fasting. I recall that Kruger believes the opposite is true and professionals do disagree; however, I think the reason TN believes this has something to do with how the body provides the additional glucose the brain needs for physical exertion. I might have that wrong but I thought I remembered that being one of the reasons I was given.


My reply to her Blog comment was:

This is useful information Meditating. The way I interpret The Fast Doctor's function of his five step active elimination cycle is that it agrees fully with the concept that toxins are released during a passive fast however where his technique kicks in is not in the elimination of toxins from cells, fat and tissues, but dealing with mobilised toxins in the blood that are desperately trying to find an exit point. According to his studies the skin is the optimal channel for eliminating toxins with large molecular size. The reason being that they may be too large to be eliminated via the kidneys without causing harm.


Shant's reply to the same Blog comment was:

Thank you, Meditating. And thank you, David for summarising Dr. Kruger's concept of active fasting that I believe is fantastic.

I disagree with passive fasting approach.. inactivity leads to muscle atrophy so while patients lose more weight, much of that weight is body protein. To burn 1 pound of protein requires far less calories than the same amount of fat. The only way to not lose muscles is to use them -over-use them. I'm not saying here that maybe if TN incorporated some form of exercise (short and intense) into their programme you would have suffered less in the end, or you wouldn't have suffered at all. It's just that I can't get my head over this. I can't imagine I'd fast and rest. Whenever I did so, I felt sick, mentally sick. Losing muscles while fasting is non-sense. Over one week ago I did fast for 6 days (I know it's a low number..) but I did hit the gym every day for heavy weightlifting and sprints or uphill jog. I didn't feel the urge to lower the repetitions or the weights, quite the opposite. I got stronger. I wish everyone would feel the same way while fasting.


Meditating's rejoinder:

Shant, during my 2 2-week fasts I did at home (and several numerous 3-6 day fasts), I too increased my activity and felt so much better. But a fast is like a pregnancy and each one is different. I was quite surprised to hear that most people who fast here begin feeling weak and tired after a few days because I had the opposite experience. Nonetheless, I was really surprised when my body hit the wall and I could not get out of bed, which seemed to be triggered when the body enters a deeper phase of detox. This may also be the result of passive fasting which TN found increases detox.

Unless any one of us is conducting controlled studies with a large number of patients over an extended period of time, we can only base our beliefs on our limited experiences and then , as people generally do, limit our sources to those things that support the beliefs we already have. It is always a good idea to keep an open mind because that is the only way we continue to learn new things or to properly evaluate the things we already believe to be true.

I arrived here believing the same thing you do now because it made sense to me and it was the only knowledge I had access to beyond my own limited experience. Personally, I cannot ignore that TN is the largest fasting center in the world and has been operating longer than any other center and fasting is their main focus. They keep meticulous records on their patients so everything you tell a doctor during visits and/or rounds is put in your patient database and given the amount of time the doctors take to input the data it is clear they are categorizing the information in several ways, TN has had their studies, with large population numbers, published and have proven to the NIH they have done so and are now deserving of a grant. T. Colin Campbell joined them in this project and he is internationally recognized and has had close to 400 medical studies/articles published.

It is extremely difficult to publish a study in a US medical journal and get funding from the NIH regarding a modality that does not involve pharmaceutical giants and scads of money for physicians. It is even harder when the therapy works so well. Despite treatments like fasting being an enemy of the conventional medical trade associations, TN had the data to back it up. That does give them a unrivaled credibility. As long as their studies were done properly, and they were put through a scathing indictment by the conventional medical community on that issue before publication, TN has a degree of expertise that cannot reasonably be dismissed.


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25 Jan 2013 08:44 #15018 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
This is a rather complex issue but as you rightfully point out we don't get much funding for research as there's not a lot of money to be made as in pharmaceuticals.

The St Petersburg medical faculty in Russia has however researched this in some detail and I have done thousands of blood tests and other investigations over decades to come to the conclusion that active fasting is the way to go in the overwhelming majority of cases. Passive fasting is rather unnatural particularly early in a fast and if you don't use your muscles, your metabolism might just target them for "food"..

André

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25 Jan 2013 09:17 #15019 by david
david replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Thank you Doctor and do you mind clarifying the advantages of toxin elimination through the skin which active fasting promotes and what the body does with toxins when this transcutaneous channel is not primed as in the practice of passive fasting? I seem to remember something about the kidneys being the default conduit for these toxins however that larger toxic molecules can overload the kidneys? Is it to do with fat soluble and non fat soluble toxins? Apologies I should know this by now.

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25 Jan 2013 10:53 - 25 Jan 2013 10:54 #15023 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
The main internal alternative to the skin is the liver dear David. But the only outlet from the liver is via the gall bladder and common bile duct. These drain into the duodenum, the very first part of the small intestine. Thus to get out, they have to escape via the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, caecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid and rectum.. anywhere along this way it can be re-absorbed.

Once eliminated through the skin and washed off, the toxins are... gone!

The kidneys can only eliminate substances that are small and water soluble. Thus this route is not very applicable to toxins typically retained in the eating body.

André

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25 Jan 2013 11:06 #15024 by david
david replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Thank you Doctor, do you think there might be a connection between passive fasting and coughing up bile? In Meditating's words: "The night of my 33rd fasting day, I started puking up bile. Tons of the stuff. After each incident, I threw myself back on the bed and immediately fell asleep from exhaustion."

Also is there a misconception that some toxic molecules are too large to exit via the pores of the skin and therefore need to be eliminated via the intestines?

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25 Jan 2013 14:38 #15025 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
For sure there will be a connection dear David. The liver excretes bile into the Duodenum... barely 70-80 cm from the mouth, but several meters from the other opening to the intestine.. thus if there's a lot of toxin diverted to the liver and no active way of eliminating it, there's a good likelyhood it will be "bounced" to the closest exit.

The pores in the skin can handle at least the same size molecules as the gut, if not larger. But the chemistry may be different, some being preferentially eliminated via the gut. That's why, in people who have not fasted recently, I do maintain a low threshold to allow a gut flush, although I do not generally promote this idea.

Incidentally, I recently learned that the skin, when you sweat a lot, can actually take over practically all the functions of the kidneys also. The skin, after all, can eliminate both water soluble and fat soluble chemicals.

André

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25 Jan 2013 16:26 #15027 by david
david replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
It makes good sense then to take good care of one's skin by frequent brushing and avoiding all manor of cosmetics which clog up the pores. Frequent air baths, leggings and plastic shoes are out.

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27 Jan 2013 19:37 #15051 by superhuman
superhuman replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
great discussion andre and david :)
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25 May 2013 14:29 #16784 by moises
moises replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
David,

I love the way that you are willing to give an open hearing to opposing viewpoints. As meditation pointed out in the quotation you gave, we are all naturally subject to a "confirmation bias" whereby we we tend to see only those instances that support our preconception, and disregard those instances that conflict with them.

In this thread, Andre has emphasized the physiological mechanisms that support the use of active fasting.

When I read through some of the older posts, I found another point that Andre made, which has not been brought up in this thread.

Here's my interpretation of Andre's other argument.

1. Our human ancestors were hunter-gatherers.
2. In many hunter-gatherer cultures periods of food shortages, and total lack of food, were frequent occurrences.
3. During these periods, it was still necessary to care for children and the aged, maintain clothing and shelter, and search for food. (They did not have the luxury of going to spas when food was scarce.)
4. Therefore, our ancestors either had the capacity to be physically active while fasting or they did not survive.
5. We have inherited from our ancestors the capacity to be physically active while fasting.

That said, I agree that it would be best to have a randomized controlled trial comparing active fasters with passive fasters. Since we might not see such a study in our own lives, there is an obvious alternative. Unlike myself, many of the people who post here are frequent fasters. It is certainly worth doing one fast actively and one fast passively and comparing the results.

One drawback with my proposal is that many of us just do not have the luxury of taking time off from jobs, family obligations, school, etc. But for those of us who are able to do a truly passive fast, it would be fascinating to find out how they compare.
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25 May 2013 15:57 #16785 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Indeed Moises, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. Thus they ate plants (leaves, roots, fruit, etc.) most of the time. Then, after a period of INTENSE physical activity, they would have a successful hunt, gorge themselves with meat and sleep for a long long time.. as they could typically not store meat they had to consume all they could. Also, they would typically not hunt when they have had enough to eat, once again because they could not store food, particularly meat.

It would really be fascinating if we could do a trial like what you suppose. Perhaps if we approach Prof Valter Longo from California, he seems quite open to the idea. Randomized controlled is the word. Unfortunately double-blind will simply not be possible!

André

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27 May 2013 21:36 #16799 by david
david replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting

David,

I love the way that you are willing to give an open hearing to opposing viewpoints. As meditation pointed out in the quotation you gave, we are all naturally subject to a "confirmation bias" whereby we we tend to see only those instances that support our preconception, and disregard those instances that conflict with them.


Moises thanks for that :) if I thought I knew anything about fasting then I would more than likely also have ideas I would not be willing to budge on.

Great that you picked up on the key points underscoring The Fast Doctor's views on active fasting. I think it holds water and thanks for laying it out in this logical format so we can all understand it.

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28 May 2013 08:28 #16805 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
This is an interesting exhange of ideas. Do bear in mind that "opposing viewpoints" are commonly both right, which is why we should embrace open debate or at least an open mind.

But "opposing" is not necessarily mutually exclusive: Even in orthodox medicine, for example we can sometimes treat the same condition with opposite medicines. Vertigo, for example, sometimes respond to an antihistamine like Cinnarizine and if it does not, it may respond to histamine like Beta-Histine.

People are different, live in different climates and environments, go through biorhythms that change how they respond, and the expectations of the mind may over-ride all other effects anyway. We are indeed lucky and blessed to live in such an interesting world!

André

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28 May 2013 12:45 #16807 by moises
moises replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Andre,

You make a very subtle, and much-needed point.

I always enjoy the fact that you have a firm basis in science. But the very nature of science is to be "reductionist." Science reduces complexity to a few variables. Science has accomplished many great things. But there remain many more great things for science still to accomplish, because the world is still a lot more complex than current accomplishments of science have grasped.

One thing that science has shown is that when untrained subjects are put on a resistance exercise program, some will make double-digit percentage increases in muscle mass and others will LOSE muscle mass! It defies reason that a sedentary person who starts a resistance exercise program would lose muscle, yet it happens.

So, there are very few firm rules when it comes to human well-being.

But, getting back to active versus passive fasting. Many are concerned about losing muscle mass. And I think that this is a valid concern. You have addressed this concern by pointing out that fat is consumed for the most part, not protein. So there is little need for the body to metabolize muscular protein. You have also pointed out that muscle is more likely to be conserved if one uses those muscles, sending a signal that muscles need to be maintained.

I think that there is another reason to fast actively that I have not yet seen addressed. When people get injured, it tends to be the tendons and ligaments, the connective tissues, that get hurt. Lying around during an extended fast, it seems to me, would allow not only the muscles to atrophy, but also the tendons and ligaments. Staying active during a fast would, perhaps, do more to keep those tissues healthy.
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28 May 2013 13:34 #16809 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Thanks for the interesting remarks dear Moises.

Concerning muscle loss: It is indeed to prevent such loss that I promote active fasting. Your body will "look" for useless or unused tissues to serve as energy source during a fast. Thus if you don't use your muscles, the body will be more likely to break them down to extract the carbohydrate from the protein. Your interpretation is very similar to mine.

Yes indeed tendons, ligaments AND BONE tends to get lost if you stop moving them. Here in Africa we experienced the advent of an epidemic of osteoporosis as urbanization and vehicles reduced the amount of walking and other exercise people do.

André

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28 May 2013 15:59 - 28 May 2013 16:01 #16811 by Ockeghem
Ockeghem replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Please delete. I re-read David's post above and got an answer to my question. :)

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30 May 2013 14:41 #16835 by moises
moises replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
I have a tendency to get high blood sugars. Fortunately, I found out about this early, so it is not serious.

One thing that I have learned is that exercise later in the day is a very effective way of lowring blood sugar. When I am very active, my need for insulin is significantly lowered. When I go through periods of inactivity, my need for insulin increases.

Although fasting, in itself, increases insulin sensitivity and lower a diabetic's need for insulin, it would seem as if activity during a fast would heighten the effect.

Once one broke the fast, there would be less insulin sensitivity in the inactive person than in the active person.

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30 May 2013 18:08 #16838 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
It is important, dear Moises, to have your Quicky (insulin sensitivity) index measured. That reflects the relationship between insulin and blood sugar levels. If your insulin levels are very high, the pancreas can "burn out" and you'll be dependent on insulin injections.

Indeed fasting plus exercise can contribute a great deal to reducing insulin resistance. I have recently had a patient who went from pre-diabetic to perfectly normal within 5 days on a fast. And as you mention, the insulin sensitivity remained high after breaking the fast. But I would still suggest regular fasting at least 30-40 hours once a week to maintain the benefits.

Your changing insulin needs reflects a likelyhood that your pancreas can still make a bit of insulin. If that is the case, a longer fast might give it the break to get up to speed again. But don't bargain on it: Once you need insulin injections it is likely that your capacity for insulin production is lower than your needs.

André

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30 May 2013 21:23 #16843 by moises
moises replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Andre,

Very helpful! Thanks. After this fast I will definitely do the 30-40 hours per week fast as a start and see how I handle it.

moises

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31 May 2013 12:49 #16850 by moises
moises replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Here is an incredible article on diabetes and calorie restriction. The results achieved in curing diabetes are jaw-dropping. Both phase one and phase two insulin responses were nearly normalized after eight weeks on a calorie restricted diet for Type 2 diabetics.

As far as I am concerned, the key point the author makes is that "The beta cells had woken up!" [271, exclamation in the original].

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31 May 2013 13:15 #16852 by TheFastDoctor
TheFastDoctor replied the topic: Active fasting vs passive fasting
Indeed dear Moises, I regularly see diabetes reversed by fasting. Although this almost never happens with Type 1, it is relatively common in Type 2. Recently I documented a complete reversal within 4 days of fasting. Intermittent fasting is just as powerful as calorie restriction and a combination would likely be even more effective.

In Type 2 diabetes, however, it is traditionally not the beta cells that need waking up, it is the insulin receptors on all the other organs' cells. But indeed in this article's research both these mechanisms were responding. Thanks for the link.

André

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