Home / Anti-Aging / The Benefits of Water Fasting – With Patricia Bragg

The Benefits of Water Fasting – With Patricia Bragg

Benefits of Water Fasting

General water fasting benefits

  • Healing / Immune system boost
  • Anti-aging effect
  • Detoxification
  • Clarity
  • Happiness / Lightness
  • Well-being / Increased energy
  • Larger connection
  • Insight / Self-awareness
  • Spiritual experience

Research on medical conditions treated with fasting

Medical literature on the health benefits of water fastingArthritis – Fasting increases free-serum cortisol levels in rheumatoid arthritis patients which is crucial for the body to lower inflammation. [1]

Asthma – Water fasting has been known to reduce asthma symptoms. One study was conducted using water fasting and enterosorption (the removal of toxins through the gut using activated charcoal, clay or other toxin absorptive media) for bronchial asthma relief. [2 , 3]

Diabetes (Type 2) – A study showed improved metabolism control after a “supplemented fasting” period. They were only allowed 200 calories per day. Blood glucose was normalized, urine glucose was eliminated, their triglycerides went down by 65%, cholesterol by 28% and they increased their good HDL cholesterol by 14%. [4]

Cancer – It has been well documented that fasting during chemotherapy reduces side effects of medication and better responses are seen. Alternate day fasting was shown to be better at this than caloric restriction. [5]

Heart Disease – Studies show a strong correlation with heart health in patients that have undergone short (24-72 hours) but fairly regular water-only fasts. [6]

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – In one study 58 patients were separated into a control group receiving psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy (medication) and a fasting group which participated in water-only fasting for 10 days followed by 5 days of refeeding. The groups were retrospectively analyzed. The fasting group had an average of 7 out of 10 symptoms relieved while the control group only had an average of 3 symptoms relieved. The 7 symptoms improved were abdominal pain discomfort, abdominal distension, diarrhea, anorexia, nausea, anxiety and interference with life in general. [7]

"The best of all medicines are rest and fasting." - Benjamin Franklin

Epilepsy / Neurological – It is now well known within the scientific community that many epileptic and other neuro patients respond extremely well to ketogenic diets. This where carbohydrates are kept at a minimum which causes your body to start using ketones instead of glucose as its primary energy source. Water-fasting induces this ketogenic state. [8]

Hypertension / High Blood Pressure – Medically supervised fasts are something that can be coordinated with your physician. It is wise to get a physical and blood work done before starting a longer fast (more than 24 hours) to rule out any conditions that would make the fast more of a risk than a benefit. Many studies have observed blood pressure dropping into a healthy range after a few short fasts. [9]

Depression – In her book, Fasting: An Exceptional Human Experience, psychotherapist Dr. Randi Fredricks, PhD, discusses her clinical experience and research on the qualitative improvements in mood, mental clarity, self-empowerment and an increase in positive thoughts and ability to see the “larger picture.”

Patricia Bragg, CEO of Bragg on Water Fasting

apple-cider-vinegarPatricia Bragg is CEO of Bragg Live Foods, Inc which manufactures the world famous Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar of which her personage and her late father Paul C. Bragg can be seen at the top of the label.

Read our articleBragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar – History, Health Benefits and Uses to learn more about this product and the inspiring legacy and impact these pioneers have made in the health of millions of Americans and others around the world. Patricia also encourages you to read The Miracle of Fasting by her father Paul Bragg.

I had the amazing opportunity and great honor to personally interview this remarkable woman. One of the key topics we covered was fasting. Here is the segment of our interview where Patricia talks about the benefits of water-only fasting. Patricia is such a wonderful person and an inspiring, energetic health advocate. She’ll say she owes much of her youthful appearance, enthusiasm and energy to her regular fasting practice and apple cider vinegar use.

Wait, how can starving yourself be good?

Gandhi would lead people to water fast as a form of non-violent resistance to injustices.

Gandhi used fasting as a form of non-violent protest to injustice.

Isn’t fasting just starving yourself? Isn’t it dangerous or at least bad for your health?

These are common beliefs that continue to be spread by even respectable healthcare professionals. These statements are emphatically FALSE. This is so unfortunate because these popular misconceptions keep millions of people from reaping the life enhancing benefits of water fasting. There are few circumstances/conditions that exclude a person from the benefits of fasting.

Water fasting is one of the oldest practices used throughout time for healing and purifying the body. In addition to its miraculous healing properties, water fasting also plugs individuals into a deeper sense of self and their existence, all while providing unprecedented clarity and personal insight.

Fasting is not starving yourself

True starving is what is seen in those heartbreaking commercials asking you to sponsor a third-world child with visible rib cages and distended bellies. Someone who is malnourished and very underweight should never fast. The feeling of true hunger is different. Your body was made to break down tissue and form it into all the fuel it requires for several weeks with great efficiency.

Fasting used to be a regular part of living. Our ancestors were hunter and gatherers who would experience a bountiful amount of food (after a big hunt or during warmer seasons with plentiful plant foods) followed by periods of scarcity, hunger and therefore fasting. The human body adapted very early on to go long periods of time without food and to do it very efficiently.

Fasting also developed into an important part of the body’s “housekeeping” that eliminated, rejuvenated and optimized all of our trillions of cells. Aside from nearly every religious and spiritual practice advocating the practice of fasting for spiritual and physical health,sages throughout antiquity such the Greek Hippocrates (the Father of Medicine), Pythagoras and Plato all sang the praises of fasting.

“Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work.  The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.  Our food should be our medicine.  Our medicine should be our food.  But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.” – Hippocrates

Different types of fasting

Water fasting woman drinks glass of waterWater Fasting

Water fasting is pretty straight forward; it is abstaining from from food or ingesting anything besides water. In other words, nothing is taken into your body except water. This includes not using gum, medically unnecessary supplements, vitamins, juices, etc.

Water. That’s all you get. You usually perform a fast for at least 16 to 24 hours but experienced fasters can fast anywhere between 10 and 40 days at a time . We will talk more about the duration of a fast in a little bit.

Juice Fasting

Juice fasting is also straight forward. Nothing comes in the body except for juice and water. This type of fast can be a little easier at first than a water fast but after about 3 days water fasters usually lose their hunger sensation while people on a juice fast usually continue to experience some hunger.

An example of a popular modified juice fast is the Master Cleanse or as it’s been more and more frequently referred to as, the Beyonce Lemon Detox Diet, having been popularized by the use of contemporary R&B / Hip-Hop artist Beyonce Knowles. You can read our article the Beyonce Lemon Detox Diet Recipe to learn more and even how to get started with the special make-at-home Master Cleanse solution you drink.

Dry Fasting

Dry fasting is the most extreme type of fasting and not only includes not eating any food but also abstaining from drinking any water. Talk about tough!

The maximum amount of days that a dry fast is usually carried out is  3 days and is usually supervised. It’s not recommended by anyone who is not experienced with regular water fasting and has a knowledgeable, experienced supervisor.

Intermittent Fasting

The 8 Hour Diet - Losing weight through intermittent fastingMore and more research is being done on intermittent fasting and the conclusions are remarkable in terms of health benefits. This type of fast is typically where a person alternates between a fasting period and an eating period. A popular form of intermittent fasting is “Alternate Day Fasting” and requires fasting for 24 hours, followed by non-fasting or ability to eat for 24 hours. Some people continue the alternating cycle indefinitely.

Another form, which I find appealing, allows you to eat everyday; you simply narrow the window you are allowed to eat in a 24 hour period to 8 hours. So you fast for 16 hours (which half or better is usually achieved while sleeping) and you can eat within a 8 hour window you should try to specify and routinely stick to.

This form of intermittent fasting is easy to continue with for long periods of time and produces the same anti-aging effects of “Caloric Restriction” without lack of energy and frailty that is usually seen over time. You’ll definitely want to read my article, Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Its a long term, hunger-free solution to optimal health and longevity.

Fasting: Highly recommended! Get started

Fasting is a health rejuvenating process and a positive challenge that you should experience for yourself and see if you enjoy the benefits you receive.

At the very least, I recommend fasting for a 24 hour period at least once a month. Once a week is even better. After you have a few 24 hour fasts under your belt start expanding into longer fasts. Here is a good article to get you started when you are ready for a 3 day fast. It explains how to prepare for a fast, what to expect from your body and how to come off of a fast properly so you can ease your digestive track and body into eating whole foods again.



About Doctor Scott Health

Dr. Scott McLeod, PharmD is an independent researcher, health advocate and author living in Santa Barbara, CA. For more information about Scott and Doctor Scott Health please visit the 'About' section, here.

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