1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
Knitting Equals Pleasure, Despite ME/CFS
Jody Smith loves knitting. Again. She thought her days of knitting and purling were long over but ... she's back ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

2 enlightening fasting experiences

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by cigana, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Dear all,

    I thought I would share with you what I think I have learned from 2 short water-only fasts I have done. For those of you who don't know much about fasting and its ability to heal I recommend the book by J Fuhrman "Eating and Fasting for Health". After the initial period of being hungry (2-3days depending on the individual) the body goes into "ketosis" whereby stored fats are used for energy rather than glycogen.

    I have only done short fasts (2-3days) because I have been concerned about the need to do these with medical supervision, but I do intend to do a long fast sometime in the next 6months. My main gut symptoms are stomach bloating (which gets progressively worse as the day goes on) and some constipation. Anyway:

    Fast no (1): I fasted for 2 days and then ate little (<800kcal) on the following 3 days at which point I believe my body went into ketosis as I completely lost my hunger and most incredibly I had lots of energy - felt almost normal in fact. This has lead me to conclude that my fatigue is gut-related, perhaps an inability to properly get energy from food or some kind of toxic effect associated with eating (eg. leaky-gut or by-products from bad bacteria).

    As I mentioned in another thread I never seem to get colds/flus anymore, despite being frequently in contact with people who have them. In fact I haven't had one for around 6-7years. Until this week:

    Fast no (2): I fasted for 2 days. The day or two leading up to the fast my partner reported she felt like she was coming down with the flu. By the seond day of my fast she definitely had the symptoms of a cold (and this became fully-blown over the ensuing couple of days). Strangest thing is that for the first time in 6-7 years I actually got the flu too.

    What I think I have learned from the seond fast is that the reason I don't normally get viruses is because of my leaky-gut (I have tested for very low secretary IgA and have other indications to suggest I have compromised gut integrity). With leaky-gut presumably proteins and other undesirables are being allowed to pass directly into the blood stream and thus the body responds with an immune response (which can be auto-immune in nature - hence my joint pain). Since I am normally eating 3 times a day every day my immune system is constantly on red-alert, so that if any virus were to come along it would be swiftly dealt with. However this time, I had not eaten for 2 days and hence this red-alert was not present. Thus my body simply responded with the normal immune response it would do to colds, and I get all the symptoms of that normal response (runny nose, sore throat, headaches).

    So for anybody else out there who never gets colds/flus - have you had leaky-gut tests?

    All of this is just my uneducated guess so I'd be keen to get ideas from anyone who knows a thing or two about the human body!

    Cheers

    Cig
  2. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

    Messages:
    776
    Likes:
    451
    UK
    Thank you for your fascinating post, Cig. During the many years I was severely ill I discovered that if I stopped eating for three days I would improve from being bedbound to being able to sit in an armchair. Fasting seemed to be key in reversing a worsening of the illness, but I have never heard anyone else who has tried this before. During those times I never developed a cold, though and haven't had one now for 30 years.
    I don't know if I had a leaky gut, but I was intolerant of nearly everything and could only eat rice cakes, which looked and tasted like the ceiling tiles, and a few vegetables. After many years, I discovered pancreatic enzyme supplements and they worked like magic enabling me to eat a variety of foods again.

    Thanks for your interesting explanation, Cig.

    C.G.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,019
    Likes:
    10,799
    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi cigana,

    Back in the mid to late 90s I often didn't have enough energy to go grocery shopping. About two to three days after I ran out of food I had enough extra energy to go shopping again, although I was also in danger of hypoglycaemic episodes.

    I am not sure that it is about the gut: I think its about glycolysis vs ketosis. First there is a pH shift: we become more acidic. This could help temporarily. Secondly we produce energy differently at the subcellular level. I haven't done enough research to form a firm opinion on that chemistry, but there is reason to believe that it will produce less toxicity, and other reasons to believe it will produce more toxicity, if I recall my old research. Its complicated.

    I often do better if I eat only once a day. This is the opposite of what we are usually told - small regular meals etc. There could be an immune component to this (leaky gut etc as you describe). It could also be due to other changes including hormones. I have wanted to test a number of possibilities by modifying my diet, but I haven't had the money to be able to afford large amounts of meat or vegetables.

    Bye
    Alex
  4. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

    Messages:
    4,514
    Likes:
    1,931
    Sofa, UK
    I too have had the same experience with some extreme fasting over the last year or so. Abdominal bloating has been a major feature of my illness as well; it was years before I realised that I wasn't "getting fat" but, rather, my stomach was inflamed. Getting that inflammation down by eating the right foods (including, of course, no wheat/gluten) was a major step forwards.

    These days, I regularly go a couple of days without eating much at all. When I've done so, I've often found that I have (relatively speaking) loads of energy. I've also had a similar experience with not sleeping; sleeping trashes me and I wake up exhausted, but if I just give up and miss out a night's sleep, I again get an energy boost (although my concentration etc do inevitably suffer). It's probably not a viable long-term strategy, it's largely imposed by necessity (the difficulty of obtaining the genuinely organic foods that I'm OK with), but it's a very interesting observation.

    Most of us in the rich world eat far more than is good for us anyway. I saw an interesting documentary a few years ago about the search for immortality and longevity, and one of the most popular approaches amongst people interested in that is to follow a diet that is below the recommended calorie intake. That's based on studies with monkeys which essentially found that those fed less food - a theoretically starvation diet - lived longer.

    My main conclusion from these observations is that dietary deficiencies are definitely not the source of my problem (OK, I knew that anyway because I had a good and varied enough diet for that not to make sense as a theory, much as it was pushed at me). Instead, it seems clear that reactions to foods, whether leaking out from my gut or just provoking a damaging response within my gut, are key to my problems.

    Working hard on your diet, figuring out precisely what foods you can tolerate best, and accepting that this highly-restricted-diet is likely to be permanent...those things are fundamental for all ME/CFS patients IMO. No matter what else you are trying, working on this is always a good idea, and fasting is part of that equation.

    I think one of the things I'll be doing fairly soon is consulting one of those doctors who are expert in the gut to see whether there might be anything I can do to repair my digestive dysfunction. It's possible that my gut flora has become deficient or imbalanced, and maybe I just need some version of those "good bacteria" to repair the whole situation. That's going to take specialist treatment, I'm not going to achieve that 'off the shelf', but it seems like a very good thing for me to try.
  5. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

    Messages:
    400
    Likes:
    84
    Newcastle upon Tyne UK
    Hi Cig

    I am a new member, just joined today, and thought I would reply. I have noted that there are posts on here regarding d-lactic acid in relation to CFS, and would like to point out that d-lactic acidosis lasts for up to 80 hours, or round about 3 days. D-lactic acid is implicated in CFS, and is caused by carbs being fermented by certain gut bacteria. Treatment for DLA is with minimally absorbed antibiotics, IV sodium bicarbonate and low carb diets. DLA is a speciality of a gastroenterologist, who usually see DLA in patients with a shortened bowel. However, it is not seen in a routine blood test, and requires a d-lactate assay kit. I live in the UK and only know of one hospital which carries out this test. A gastro would most certainly treat this condition if a test was positive.

    Hope this is useful to you.

    Best Wishes

    Glynis
  6. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    Interesting thread. I have known for the duration with this illness that Gut issues are central.....But, I'm yet to diagnose what those issues are exactly. But yes, bloating and constipation were chronic. Old GI labs showed tremendous inflammation and slowed gut transit time. My guts shutting down is still one of the earliest symptoms I have in a flare. GI function has improved somewhat with Anti-viral Tx, a gluten free and more alkaline diet. I basically eat a whole food diet. Haven't tried serious fasts.
  7. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your reply and relating your interesting experiences. Yeah it took me about 7 years to realise I wasn't just "getting fat". You say you think your bloating is from inflammation - interesting I had always assumed mine was from a combination of (a) excess bacteria gas (due to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and (b) the drawing-in of fluids associated with leaky-gut.

    Trying a calorie-restricted diet is on my list of things to do. It could allow more energy to be available for healing.

    You say less sleep is better for you - that reminds me of this interesting article (there're a whole class of people who are much better on very little sleep), see the links given:

    http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=104240&sid=0f39ae5c794f8a7167adb732e5b2a73b

    You say you've done some extreme fasting - can I ask how long and how often? I'm really interested in fasting...

    Cheers,

    Cig
  8. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Hi Glynis,

    Thanks very much for your information, it could turn out to be really useful. I'm in the UK too - which hospital is it that does that test?

    Cheers

    Cig
  9. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Just to say, to all of you who have said you feel better after not eating for 2-3 days, I would say that this is a very positive sign that you should consider a long-term (at least 2weeks) water-fast, which seems to be the most powerful therapy I have come across for healing gut-related problems. You should do this with an experienced practitioner though.

    Cig
  10. justy

    justy Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,461
    Likes:
    2,310
    U.K
    Hi Cig, i have read your posts with interest on this matter. However i am slightly concerned that you seem to be urging very sick people to fast for 2 weeks at a time. For many of us this is certainly nevergoing to be something we could undertake and i think it is pretty irresponsible to suggest it for everyone with gut problems.

    Best wishes though for you in what you achieve with this approach
  11. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Hi justy,

    Thanks for your concern - I should have added that it's important to do the fast with an experienced practitioner (and I just changed my post to say this!). No one with a deficiency, diabetes or kidney disease should attempt fasting without consultation of a very experienced clinic such as True North Health.

    Do you have any specific reasons why CFSers shouldn't fast - or is it just your gut feeling (no pun intended!)? Are you familiar with the research on fasting? I would say that the more sick someone is, the more they should consider fasting (with the above contraindications in mind), but I would be very interested to know if you (or anyone else reading this) has any specific reasons in mind why it could be a bad idea. I hope I haven't got the wrong end of the stick when it comes to fasting with CFS...

    Thanks,

    Cig
  12. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

    Messages:
    400
    Likes:
    84
    Newcastle upon Tyne UK
    D-Lactic Acidosis & CFS

    Hi again Cig,

    The hospital that tests for dla is Birmingham Childrens Hospital. The test for adults too. They prefer a gastro to be involved, to interpret the test results, however if the test was positive they would notify the sender by phone to tell them. The test needs to be done in a hospital setting, as the blood needs to be centrifuged within an hour of being taken. The path lab at BCH are very helpful, a really nice bunch.

    I get mixed up with micromols and milimoles, the measurements taken, but for example a test of 2.4 would be 2400 with Birmingham Childrens Hospital. Normal dla should be 0-0.25. I enclose some links regarding dla in relation to CFS, and also a link on dla in a short bowel patient, with a good graph of symptoms.

    This first one is from another discussion group, where someone said they had tested postive for dla. The reading of 2.4 would certainly warrant investigation or treatment by a GI, I think they would be astounded to see it though, as they have a very narrow field of vision regarding dla, they almost exclusively see it in short bowel patients. A GP or other dr would not be trained to see that this is a serious condition, or the implications for treatment.

    http://www.endfatigue.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=35&view=next

    This abstract is saying that patients with CFS have bacteria in their stool that are dla producers, and says the symptoms are strikingly similar. I have the full pdf of this, which I have tried to enclose, not sure if it will work as I am a techno-phobe and not good at this sort of thing!:ashamed:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19567398

    This is a Newsletter from the Breakspear Hospital (private) regarding CFS and d-lactic acid.

    http://www.breakspearmedical.com/files/documents/Issue24Spring2010web_000.pdf


    This is the d-lactic in short bowel paper, with a graph of symptoms.

    http://hkjpaed.org/details.asp?id=577&show=1234

    As I said yesterday, d-lactic lasts up to 80 hours, when you stop eating carbs. It has a circadian rhythm, meaning that it builds up after every meal, peaking in early evening (which I think is why sleep problems are so common in CFS). Maybe cutting carbs out would be a good way of seeing if there are improvements to be had. Also milk sugar counts as a carb, so no milk or soya milk.

    Hope this is useful to you, I think it may be the missing link for CFS.

    BW

    Glynis

    Attached Files:

  13. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Wow Glynis thankyou very much indeed for such a detailed reply. By the way you've attached that pdf fine so perhaps not so much of a technophobe as you thought! I look forward to reading these links.

    Cheers

    Cig
  14. justy

    justy Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,461
    Likes:
    2,310
    U.K
    Hi Cig. Im thinking mainly problems to do with blood sugar for some people are a big issue in M.E. My blood sugar is now more or less under control, but it has taken me a lot of work to get there. I still have to eat very regular meals, otherwise get the shakes, anxiety goes though the roof and temperature control etc goes even more haywire than usual.

    Anxiety is another reason, i have to eat protein regularly to keep my anxiety levels down, also to be able to sleep without too much waking.
    I am also concerned that for many with heavy toxic loads including candida etc the die off or detox reaction would be too great, adn some who are very ill could go down hill rom this very rapidly. Many of us do not clear toxins well, and i would have thought dealing with this first would be very important.
    If i have strong detox reactions it can lay me up for weeks. Im pretty sure now that i will still get over the reaction eventually and get back to my normal, but you do hear of people who have a trong reaction and can never get there level of functioning back up.

    I just think its important to not treat very sick people with such a cavalier attitude. A good friend told me i needed to go on a fast at a time when i coulnd teven hold a glass of water without it shaking everywhere, a long fast, if i had taken his advise i strongly believe would have hospitalised me at that time.

    am not against fasting at all, i just think that its important that people who are very sick and vulnerable do not try things hat are potentially dangerous until they are feeling able to cope wth it.
  15. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Hi Justy,

    Thanks for your reply. Regarding your concern about too heavy detox I think you are right this is a concern and that is why you should only do a fast at an experienced clinic such as True Health North, where they can distinguish between "normal" detox symptoms and something that it too much for the body. They will also perfomr blood tests before the fast to make sure you can handle the detox. It's also worth bearing in mind that fasting is a unique physiologic state that acctually increases the body's ability to detox as compared to the usual non-fasting state (primarily through urine).

    I have also struggled with blood sugar problems and in all of my experiences they go away with fasting and this is one of the reasons why I like to fast. In fact before insulin was discovered fasting was actually the preferred treatment for type-II diabetics who obviously have severe blood sugar problems. Fasting can be very beneficial in healing type-II diabetics, as well as insulin resistance - another cause of blood sugar problems. This is because during fasting the body doesn't use blood sugar for energy (glycolosis).

    I'm sorry if I come across as cavalier in my treatment of CFSers, just for the record I am recommending people consider fasting with the utmost seriousness - I believe it is the most effective treatment for gut-related problems in general and is safer than most supplements. We are all so used to popping pills which are concentrated - unnatural - nutrients, but regard not eating as dangerous (whereas in fact it is very natrual and essential for our evolutionary survival). I'm sorry if I sounded like I was suggested people who feel they are not able to cope with fasting should fast - just for the record I think if you don't feel you're up to fasting then you certainly shouldn't fast.

    Best wishes,

    Cig
  16. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

    Messages:
    400
    Likes:
    84
    Newcastle upon Tyne UK
    Hi Cig,

    Glad you liked my reply, hope you get a chance to read them soon. I have another paper, which I cannot acess now, I have the printed version only, not on-line. It states that when oral feeding is stopped the bacteria causing DLA starve and die off quickly. Maybe you could print the links I sent off, and take them to your GP. Whether they would refer you to a GI, though, I don't know. Alternatively, Biolabs in London do the test for d-lactic. You would need a referral letter from your GP, and an appointment could be arranged, if you call them. I don't know how much this would cost, or whether you are in a position to pay for it. Also, you would need to carb up, so your symptoms would be really bad, not sure whether travelling to London would be feasible at that point.

    I don't think people realise the implications of DLA found in a blood test, it is only in the expertise of GI's, and I don't think they have recognised it in anything other than short bowel patients, so they too would need enlightening. A positive test from Biolab or Birmingham Childrens Hospital would certainly whet their appetites, I bet, even if they would merely want to dis-prove it.

    BW

    Glynis
  17. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Hi Glynis,

    I read your links with great interest - I have streptococcus overgrowth (which was implicated) and E. Coli overgrowth (also shown to produce d-lactic acid) and my symptoms are always worse in the evenings, as is suggested they would be.

    Thanks very much for the info on the tests - I live in London but my GP doesn't agree to anything. It's a real shame you need to make you symptoms worse before you take the test, at the moment I don't want to carb up because I've managed to get my symptoms down so well lately I don't want to undo the good I've done - but I will definitely consider it at a later date if I don't continue to get positive progress. Damn I am really in two minds now!

    I find what you say about the bacteria dying off quickly interesting - I would have thought they'd go into a stasis mode, perhaps different bacteria respond differently when there is no food available.

    Cheers,

    Cig
  18. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

    Messages:
    400
    Likes:
    84
    Newcastle upon Tyne UK
    Hi Cig,

    I tend to agree with you that the bacteria would go into stasis, if they did die off totally, then short bowel patients would be treated and never have dla again, which they do. Maybe they go into survival mode. I have read recently, can't remember where though, that some bacteria produce a protein which caused blood platelets to clump round the bacteria, hiding it from antibiotics and the bodies own defence mechanisms. Not sure if this is correctly written by me, but I think that's the gist of it.

    I'm glad you are managing your symptoms, hope it continues. Just remember to keep things low carb, and you may feel better long term. Have you heard of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet? There is a great site at Pecanbread.com. It's for autism, and other bowel conditions, and show's you how to do the diet in stages. The easier to digest carbs being the first ones to be introduced, and harder to digest carbs introduced at a later stage, when bacteria levels are lowered through diet. I think the implications are that if you have dysbiosis, you tend to digest like a ruminant ie ferment carbs which perhaps damages the gut, and the aim is to get back to digesting carbs, by starving out bacteria that would ferment, until your gut is healed and can digest carbs. It's a good site to read up on that sort of thing.

    Best Wishes Cig, hope your health continues to improve.

    Glynis
  19. Athene

    Athene Never give up

    Messages:
    1,130
    Likes:
    149
    Italy
    This is a very interesting thread.

    Cig, the relief from symptoms (bloating/pain and also general symptoms of exhaustion etc) that you described getting from fasting is exactly what I once got from doing a very strict Atkins phase one diet, which forces the body in ketosis. I kept it up for 6 months and the benefits lasted the whole time. I was really energetic, felt well, my tummy was flat and painless...

    So I wonder if the effects of fasting are caused by the total removal of carbohydrates of all kinds. The Atkins diet reduces carbohydrate intake to under 4% off all calorific intake, which is enough to initiate ketosis. It normally takes three days of doing the Atkins diet for ketosis to start.

    Would you be at all interested in trying this to see what effects it has for you? I don't want to put you or anyone under any pressure, but I am desperate to find out if this actually works for anyone else. It seems less drastic and easier to do than total fasting. I have never fasted and I don't think I could handle it, not only from a self-discipline point of view but simply because it makes me feel so bad fasting for just half a day!
  20. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Likes:
    170
    UK
    Hi Athene,

    Thanks for the reply - looks like we are conversing on two threads simultaneously! It's very interesting what you say - I had forgotten Atkins induces ketosis. Alas I would only be prepared to do Atkins as a last resort, because of the damage it does. Sorry to disappoint you, but if it's worth anything I do believe I would see the effects you found yourself. I will try the elemental diet first in order to send the SIBO into remission and help the leaky gut, then work on the leaky gut, then water fast over Christmas if I get the opportunity. Failing that I would try the Atkins ketosis and I will let you know if I change my mind in the mean time.

    Cheers

    Cig

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page