Prolonged Fasting for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

References: Joel Fuhrman: FastingUpton Sinclair: The Fasting CureCellScience DailyHealthlineCDC StatisticsLancet,

Inflammatory bowel disease is way too common. It is the leading cause of admission to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (personal communications). It causes a ton of misery. Want to fix it? This may be the cure in sight! A prolonged fast, 10 days of water only, may be the cure! 
There are doctors in America who are already helping people through this. Joel Fuhrman has a whole chapter on the topic. And he is not the first. Ironically, it is one of America’s most prominent authors, Upton Sinclair, who first shown the light on prolonged fasting. He stumbled on 10 day water fasts as a cure for many illnesses and wrote one of his 100 books on the topic. He mentions many illnesses that reported to him how they had been cured when they followed his admonition to fast for 10 days. 
But this advance isn ‘t based on some guru’s opinion. We are now getting credible research to support the claim, including more calls for volunteers to join in research studies.

What is the credible research that is out there? In Cell Reports, Valter Longo shows that in mice with inflammatory bowel disease, fasting with both a fast mimicking reduced-calorie format and water only format, signs and symptoms dramatically improved. This occurred, in part, because of a dramatic shift in the type of bacteria in the colon: many more beneficial lactobacillus and bifidobactericea species.

We don’t have large, multicenter studies in humans yet. We have anecdotal cases and “tangent” type studies: close and similar but not quite. For example, in the journal Lancet from 1993 we have an elimination diet study with some 123 people with inflammatory bowel disease who embarked on an elimination diet versus standard steroids. The elimination folks who identified and then avoided their offending foods did MUCH better at maintaining a remission: 3.8 versus 7.5 months with the elimination diet. 
There is likely some overlap with the concept of lectins as detailed in Steven Gundry’s Plant Paradox box. He also gives anecdotes of folks cured of Crohn’s with a “lectin avoiding diet”. That is another form of elimination diet. It is what I would do if I had inflammatory bowel disease. 
What is going on with fasting that cures inflammatory bowel disease? Here is my conjecture that makes sense with what we know so far. Our fore-parents, just 300,000 years ago ate African plants. As humans spread across the globe out of Africa, we discovered more foods that had elements that spark inflammation and immune response. (Gundry’s lectin thesis.) This accelerated in the 20th century with industrial food production and jet planes/refrigeration. We are able to get exotic foods from all over the world to assault our intestines. I believe that Crohn’s is actually an autoimmune response to atypical tuberculosis in the gut caused by drinking contaminated milk from cow’s with Johne’s disease (atypical tuberculosis in cows that sheds the TB bacteria into their milk and isn’t removed with pasteurization). Crohn’s is the only disease besides TB in the lung that makes granulomas – rounded islands of inflammation. Our guts are so distracted with fighting all the foreign lectins, bacteria, sugars, noxious trans fats, fake sweeteners and trace pesticides that our immune system just can’t tamp down the occasional autoimmune cell. When we fast, we remove the damaging input and our immune system can refocus on the causative autoimmune cells. That’s it in a nutshell.

WWW: What Will Work for me. I’m intentional embarking on a program of eating more fiber by changing my breakfast to blueberries in almond milk with 3 heaping tablespoons of freshly ground flax. It’s a yummy breakfast. And then I have 2-3 heaping tablespoons of L. reuteri yogurt I make at home to have a massive hit of probiotics. L. reuteri is the lactobacillus you find in folks who have never had antibiotics. We Americans are weaned off artificial formula made from soy immediately onto Amoxicillin at age three months. No wonder our guts are distressed.

Pop Quiz

  1. Prolonged fasting is actually just stupidly starving yourself. T or F. Answer: Well, we naturally answer this as true. But it’s not. It’s resetting your immune system.
  2. Why is the gut to involved with our immune system? Answer: 70% of your immune system is around your gut because it is the first barrier between the outside world, what you eat, and your inside world. The cell lining of your gut is only one cell layer thick, so the immune system has to be sitting there, watching.
  3. Why is our gut so recently so dramatically inflamed? (Crohn’s disease has increased from 2 million to 3 million sufferers in America in just the last 18 years). Answer: Conjecture here but the cumulative effect of foods containing lectins, to pesticides, to all sorts of modern chemicals, to Johne’s disease, to drugs like ibuprofen and alcohol that make leaky gut, to stress, to lack of sleep, to…….
  4. What has Longo proven with a 5 day fast mimicking diet in humans in regard to your immune system? Answer: Your CRP drops some 30% and your immune system gets a reboot while your “vacuum cleaner” gobbles up and eats dysfunctional tissues, cells, debris, old organelles…a nice combination deal.
  5. Who is that famous author who did 10-day water fasting all the time? Answer: Upton Sinclair. Read his book, “The Fasting Cure”. 99c on Amazon.
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