The intelligent design of the human body is mind-boggling. Even supposedly superfluous parts, like the appendix, may have important functions that we have yet to unravel. To this day, all the technological advances of man aren’t enough to create an object that can exhibit the brain's full powers. And how about the efficiency of the body in repairing and restoring itself? We can go on for ages and still be unable to completely grasp how extraordinary our biological machines are.
It's no wonder that biohacking, the biotechnological movement of leveraging the powers of our body, is gaining popularity even in the medical community. One sought-after biohack is water fasting, which some people say is life-changing.
Lauren and Katie, co-founders of the cutting-edge company HigherDOSE, decided to find out for themselves what the excitement was all about. Under the supervision of leading expert Dr. Mindy Pelz, they did a 3-day session where they learned a ton of information. Here, we'll share some of the benefits they unpacked from their 72-hour water fasting experience.
How is water fasting beneficial?
Water fasting has the potential to deliver amazing benefits that help the body survive and thrive daily. Get the exact lowdown from our Biohack-Hers episode on water fasting. In the meantime, here's a glimpse of how it can be an effective tool for better health.
1. It promotes cellular autophagy.
Every day, our bodies face multiple stressors, including the natural process of aging, lifestyle habits, and environmental factors. These can weaken and damage the cells. When left unchecked, cellular impairment can age us faster, bring about diseases, and, ultimately death.
Fortunately, the human body is equipped with this wonderful self-renewal process called cellular autophagy, our fundamental survival mechanism. A healthy autophagic system will regularly get into action to get rid of busted cells. At the same time, it recycles and repairs some of the usable parts.
However, over time, cellular autophagy declines and can become defective. Water fasting, when properly done, can boost this self-rejuvenating process. During a fast, the withholding of life-sustaining nutrients results in moderate metabolic stress. This activates regulating enzymes, which are proteins that stabilize your wonked-out inner environment. Adaptive responses are then triggered, leading to metabolic reprogramming. Thus, water fasts can be an invaluable biohack to enhance cellular autophagy and optimize our body's processes.
2. It delays aging.
As we become more advanced in years, our bodies show signs of wear and tear. One evident sign is the aging of our arteries and veins, those crucial carriers of nutrients and oxygen to the different parts of the body. These blood vessels also get rid of waste materials in our system. When these become impaired, your tissues and organs can't get what they need to function correctly. In addition, unwanted toxins can accumulate in the body if these aren't regularly flushed out.
Fasting also triggers the liver to release an anti-aging molecule called a ketone. Ketones replace glucose as an energy source when the latter becomes unavailable, which happens when you fast. The same research also shows that these ketones rejuvenate blood vessels by encouraging the reproduction of their interior cells, delaying the aging process.
3. It improves cognitive function.
Remember the anti-aging ketones we mentioned earlier? These same molecules become the brain's preferred fuel source when you fast. This enhances the metabolic activity of the nerve cells and boosts brain performance. For example, one study demonstrated that spatial learning and memory improved for the participants.
In addition, the power-packed molecules promote the recreation of mitochondria, the fuel generators of the cells. They also maintain the connecting pathways between nerve cells and the glands or muscles. On top of that, ketones also help protect neurons from diseases or injuries.
4. It boosts your energy.
It sounds counterintuitive, but water fasting can ramp up your energy levels. When you fast, insulin decreases, and muscle-mass-preserving HGH (human growth hormones) levels increase. Fasting also increases norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter hormone that helps regulate your fight-or-flight response. All these make the fat-burning process more efficient for your body's energy requirements.
5. It fights inflammation.
When bacteria, toxins, or trauma injure our tissues, our immune system sends out first-responders called cytokines and inflammatory cells. These fight off the bacteria and repair the damaged tissues. As a result, you experience swelling, pain, or redness.
Studies show that water fasting unleashes your body's healing power, killing disease-causing microbes and strengthening protective good bacteria. This helps in reducing inflammation and hastening recovery. It also deactivates pro-inflammatory cells called monocytes, which go to sleep during a fast.
Is water fasting right for you?
Water fasting has the potential to help you reset and "reclaim" your health to enjoy a better quality of life. However, it isn't for everyone. See your physician first, especially if:
- You have a history of heart issues.
- You have a history of eating disorders.
- You have gout.
- You're pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You have chronic kidney disease.
- You have diabetes.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have thyroid problems.
- You're underweight.
- You have an adrenal disorder.
Fasting the safe and effective way
Water fasting can be a potent way to a healthier and happier life—but only if done with prudence. Here are some helpful tips that you can use for your water fast adventure.
1. The proper perspective
It's essential to highlight that water fasting is not about starving yourself. Rather, it's a respectful partnership with your body, working with it to strengthen its self-healing powers, clear out its toxins, and help it achieve an optimal state of health and wellness.
2. Thoughtful planning
Water fasting isn't something you decide to do one moment and then jump right into the next. It takes careful planning throughout the entire process for this hack to be effective and safe for anyone. For instance, before the fast, Lauren and Katie stuck to a diet that eliminated sugar and caffeine. They also consumed healthy fats (salmon, avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds) and clean protein (lean, organic, grass-fed).
If it’s your first time and you want to learn how to best prepare for your water fast, check out the website of Dr. Mindy Pelz.
3. Timing it right
Lauren and Katie were at different points in their hormonal cycle when they did their water fast, leading to dissimilar experiences. Women's bodies are particularly affected by hormones. So schedule them during your hormone-ideal times to get the most benefits and make the water fasting sessions a bit more pleasant.
Estrogen levels, which are crucial to the menstrual process, can dip during a water fast. This can be stressful to the female body already triggered by hormonal fluctuations. Thus, some experts recommend that women should not fast at any phase of their monthly cycle. However, others may be able to go through the fast without any problems.
It's essential to remember that each woman's body is unique and will have different reactions to water fasting. For instance, lean women undergoing a 72-hour fast during the mid-follicular phase can have an increased risk of neuroendocrine and reproductive abnormalities compared to women of average weight. Those who bleed profusely during their menstrual phase are also more likely to have a negative water fasting experience than women with a lighter flow.
What's important is to pay attention and listen carefully to your body to find out when fasting is most sustainable for you.
4. Monitoring your glucose
Monitoring your glucose levels is a critical part of ensuring a safe water fast. During water fasting, these can drop dangerously low, a condition called hypoglycemia. In the extreme, this can induce a coma.
Throughout the water fasting of Lauren and Katie, they kept it safe by monitoring their blood glucose and ketones every few hours. The goal was to get to ketosis (when your body doesn't have access to carbs and instead burns fat) without their blood sugar dropping below 50.
5. Easing out of it
The other extreme can also happen when you break your water fast by eating immediately without the necessary transition. You can end up with extremely high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. This can lead to blood vessel damage, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disorder, and neurological problems.
6. Avoiding strenuous exercise
Intensive workouts can make your low blood sugar levels dip further. So, save your HIIT programs and metabolic exercises for those days when you aren't water fasting. Instead, you can do light yoga stretches or take easy nature walks, which won't use up too much energy. Your relaxed but engaged state of mind can help you focus and stay on track.
Taking your water fasting to the limit
Level up your water fasting with HigherDOSE Infrared Light devices! Mimicking the natural healing powers of the sun, the deeply penetrating electromagnetic waves of infrared light drench our cells with energy to self-repair and regenerate. Up-regulate your water-fasting autophagy with the HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket or the HigherDOSE Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna. Boost your dose of the high life with HigherDOSE!
For an in-depth look at water fasting, watch the Higherdose.com/biohackhers series. today.