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Intermittent fasting and CFS/ME?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by sleepingbeautyxxx, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. sleepingbeautyxxx

    sleepingbeautyxxx

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    I already tried out IF (8/16) a couple of times but not strictly.

    Since it's meant to promote healing and regeneration of the body, I'm wondering if CFS/ME sufferers could benefit from it if done long term?

    The few times I tried it out I was completely fine. No worsening of any symptoms. But I have to mention that I was at a good state at that time.

    I'm debating if I should try it out longterm and see if my brain fog gets better.

    I found a pretty good article on:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blo...ittent-fasting-weight-loss-and-other-benefits

    1. Neurological: Calorie restriction increases the transcription of genes coding proteins involved in neuroplasticity and neuron survival. In rats and mice on an alternate-day fasting regimen, proteins that function to prevent protein damage in neurons are elevated. Calorie restriction, in general, up-regulates autophagy (which enhances removal of damaged proteins in cells). Energy restriction of 30% below what subjects typically consumed improved glucose metabolism, suppressed oxidative damage and inflammation, and protected against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and muscle wasting in a study of non-human primates. It also preserves volumes of brain structures involved in emotional control. In animal models of reduced calorie intake, outcomes from stroke and traumatic brain injury are improved. Animals with experimentally induced strokes recover function better on restricted diets. Alternate day fasting protects rats from cognitive impairment in Alzheimer models. Calorie restriction protects dopaminergic neurons in rodent Parkinson’s disease models. Fasting improves memory in human subjects who reduce their daily caloric intake by 30%. It's important to note that while many studies strongly suggest there very well could be multiple benefits to our brains from IF, no definitive study has been done in humans that proves IF has a significant impact on the risk of getting a neurologic disease or effect on reducing the impact of a neurologic disease.

    From this one could suggest IF being super beneficial to cfs patients, but you never know...

    Has anyone made good/bad experiences with IF? Let me know!
     
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  2. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    Experience that is all bad I'm afraid. I think little and often small packets of nutrient dense calories is better for our dysfunctional metabolism.
     
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  3. TakMak

    TakMak Coughs and sneezles spread diseasels

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    I tried a 5/2 regime for a month after seeing Michael Mosley on a BBC program about fasting a few years back. I felt dreadful for the day after the fasting days. The first week I thought it was just a coincidence but, no, each time I fasted the following day I felt worse.

    I may try it again at some point because my symptoms have worsened in the last two years and I'm keen to try anything.
     
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  4. Keela Too

    Keela Too Sally Burch

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    It seems to help me. I now rarely eat before 2pm on any day, nor after 8pm at night.

    I have also done a few longer fasts, 24, 36 and a couple of 48hr fasts. I take extra salt when fasting.

    However I recognise this is may be a personal response. I have also cut out most sugar, and eat mostly low carb.
     
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  5. sleepingbeautyxxx

    sleepingbeautyxxx

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    @TakMak interesting... I always had the feeling that my cognitive function got slightly better. But as I said, only tried it a couple of times.
    Let me know if you try again! Wish you luck. x
     
  6. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    If I don't eat little and often I will feel really unwell. Weak, shakey, sweaty, dizzy and then a killer headache.

    Having said that I do have some gastric issues & I have had to seriously reduce sugar and refined carbs from my diet.

    The original post had data in which (seemed?) to refer to fasting and/or reduced calorific intake. I probably don't eat 2000 calories a day - probably more like 1500 to 1800 I should imagine.

    There's no doubt I feel better if I avoid very fatty meals, too many carbs in one go and eat little and often with nutrient rich foods. By better I mean it avoids triggering gastric issues and thus making ME symptoms worse. The underlying ME remains the same.
     
  7. sleepingbeautyxxx

    sleepingbeautyxxx

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    Do you naturally have a high metabolism @Invisible Woman?

    I feel like people with high metabolisms (those who can eat and eat without gaining a pound I mean) can't handle longer periods of not eating. A friend of mine is one of those persons, she never could fast since she would perhaps faint. If she doesn't eat she gets headaches, gets dizzy etc.

    But I never experience any of that. I can't eat huge amounts of food without gaining some weight. Maybe fasting is more suitable for people with lower energy requirements?

    By the way I definitely feel better cutting out excess fat in my diet, too. I feel way better on a carbohydrate rich diet and even refined carbs don't seem to bother me a lot.
     
  8. NL93

    NL93 Senior Member

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    I eat all my meals between 12 and 8 pm and feel fine with that. I do have to eat A LOT in a small window of time. I eat 2500 calories a day and sometimes can't fit all that food in my stomach LOL.

    I want to add that I think caloric restriction and fasting for entire days is one of the worst things you can do if you have ME. You need enough fuel! The body is already having problems generating energy, you don't want to make that worse.
     
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  9. sleepingbeautyxxx

    sleepingbeautyxxx

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    @NL93 Honestly I'm struggling eating 1400kcal a day (if I eat healthy foods) but I'm female and short so I think it's alright. I also don't lose weight eating about 1200-1400kcal a day.

    And I never fast entire days, I'd only try 8/16 :)

    I'm hoping that it might help with sleep quality since your body doesn't have to digest while trying to repair the body...
     
  10. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    Hi @ sleepingbeautyxxx

    I think I did have a fairly high metabolism as a youngster. I could eat lots but was very, very active. If I was busy or got engrossed in something I'd often forget to eat.

    Then I developed Hashimoto's at least a decade before ME and so my thyroid became underactive. In the early stages this can cycle so you sometimes gain weight and then it all falls off.

    By the time I was diagnosed with ME I was at the point where I couldn't skip a meal or leave it too long without eating or I would feel really unwell.

    Coincidentally, I also seem to struggle to absorb some nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium and chromium and manganese. The latter 2 are important for maintaining control of blood sugar levels apparently.
     
  11. NL93

    NL93 Senior Member

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    I am female too and used to undereat a bit. I think I ate 1500 calories a day. My weight was stable (BMI of 19). I then decided to eat a lot more, between 2200 and 3000 calories a day and noticed an increase in energy. I still weigh the same but am eating much more and am more functional. I eat plant based and no junk food and it sometimes is a bit of a struggle to eat so much, but since it helps with my energy levels I am sort of forcing myself to eat :D I also sleep better now that I eat more.

    1400 calories a day is too little I think. That is the amount an 6 year old needs. Maybe you can try to eat a bit more and see how you feel?:) Add in some calorie dense foods and smoothies so that you can drink your calories? :)
     
  12. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    To be honest I think the range 2000 calories for a female is too general.

    I am rather small and my calorie needs compared to an active female of 5 foot 10 or so would be quite different.
     
  13. JES

    JES Senior Member

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    Calorie restriction could be beneficial, but the form of fasting I'm really interested in is complete water fasting for a period of 48-72 hours, which triggers ketosis. It seems that this form of fasting has the potential to "regenerate" the immune system (source).

    The problem when I tried this form of fasting was that it left me very weak, dizzy and with palpitations from around the 30th hour onwards, which meant I had to stop before the 48 hour mark. However, recently I read about a special diet named ProLon, developed by people in the University of California. The benefits from this diet are supposedly the same as from water fasting for five days, but makes it easier for the body to go through it. Unfortunately this meal program is expensive and not available to order outside of US, UK and Australia, but it's something I would trial if I had access.
     
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  14. sleepingbeautyxxx

    sleepingbeautyxxx

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    I agree with @Invisible Woman. If I ate 2000 kcal a day I would gain quite a bit of weight since I'm not very active at the moment. I feel sick if I eat that much. I'm also quite short (1,60m).

    I eat plant based too by the way! :)
     
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  15. sleepingbeautyxxx

    sleepingbeautyxxx

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    But I heard your body adapts to a low calorie intake after about 35 hours and the body becomes more energy efficient so you gain back weight quickly. Probably also not a good idea because I'm still in school and I don't want to accidentally faint haha.

    I think intermittent fasting triggers ketosis too, depending on your glycogen storage. You might get at least a few hours of ketosis. But the advantage is that IF can be done longterm and it isn't as hard as a normal water fast obviously.

    ProLon seems very interesting to me! Maybe it's available in other countries soon?
     
  16. ghosalb

    ghosalb Senior Member

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    I switched to nutrient rich (70% green leafy vegetables and fruit +20% protein+10% carb) diet and 12 hour (dinner to breakfast) fasting 3-4 years ago and results are all good, specially cognitive and weight loss....these hours are easy to do and maintain....I also try to give as long a break between meals as possible during the day...I could not do this diet before when my diet was not nutrient rich....I used to eat every 3 hours or suffer dizziness even though I ate healthy (egg, chicken, fish, some vegetable+fruit, bread, pasta etc.)....I listened to Dr. Joel Fuhrman on Public television here in the USA and decided to give his diet a try for one month to see what happens and I never went back to my old diet again...his pitch was for immune system boost and weight loss as a bonus...
    Since our metabolism is not working well...I do not know if eating more and overloading a dysfunctional system is a good idea. But one can also make an argument that since our body is only extracting small amount of energy from what we eat, eating more may give us more energy....but then what happens to the extra calories that is not getting transformed to energy.....from my personal experience, I feel lot better eating less that eating too much.
     
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  17. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    No, they're from the University of Southern California. It's not affiliated with the University of California. And their products have yeast extract, a form of MSG/E621 which can cause serious problems in people who are sensitive to free glutamic acid.

    I've also read the research they use to support their claims sell their products, and it's a bunch of methodological crap with cherry-picked results.
     
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  18. sleepingbeautyxxx

    sleepingbeautyxxx

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    @Valentijn sounded too good to be true haha.

    I already thought that there has to be something...
     
  19. Basilico

    Basilico Florida

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    I was a strict paleo eater and then a primal eater years ago. During that time, I got really into intermittent fasting for the supposed health benefits. I had no issues with hunger or blood glucose or anything, but I was forced to abandon it after a few months because it turned out to be a huge trigger for my IBS. I later learned that my system deals well with smaller/regular sized meals, but eating huge amounts in one sitting really wreaks havoc on my GI system, causing lots of pain and bloating.

    Another huge problem I had was that fasting completely f*cked up my sleep; I could avoid the sleep disturbances if I skipped breakfast and lunch and ate my 1 meal (a huge dinner) at the end of the day, which I did for a while, but then my GI system would be in ruins. I eventually realized it was pointless to continue.

    I did try longer term fasting a few times, but after about the 24-36 mark, my heart rate and BP would start dropping significantly, low enough to be concerning. It was like my body refused to acknowledge the fat I had in storage was a viable option. The minute I had a fruit smoothie, my BP and heart rate went back up to normal. Clearly, my body does not respond well to fasting.

    So, I never experienced any of the supposed benefits, and my health was no better during or after IF. For me, it was a huge bust. However, some others seem to have a better experience with it, so I don't think it's a terrible thing to try, if for no other reason than to write it off.
     
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  20. Basilico

    Basilico Florida

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    I forgot to mention that even though I don't do more serious IF due to the issues I described, I do tend to fall into a 8/16 or 10/14 on most days without trying to just because I often skip breakfast. This has been going on for years at this point. I have a hard time considering 8/16 as IF, even though I know that technically it is considered as such. After following this pattern of eating (unintentionally) for years, I can say that my health has not improved in any way that I'm aware of.

    The only possible benefit (which is a big question mark, as I can't conclude it's from skipping breakfast, it might have been like this all along) is that I have excellent blood glucose control. I can eat a big carb meal on occasion (100+ grams) and my blood sugar is perfect - it never rises above 120, and it settles back to baseline (mid 90s) within about 1 hour. However, I never used to check it years ago, so I can't say that this is due to 8/16 eating, it might have always been this good.

    My husband, on the other hand (who has CFS), was a frequent faster for most of his life, his standard of eating was often 8/16 since he rarely had much of appetite and didn't like to eat when he first work up. He's from Italy, where the culture does not include snacking, so if you miss a meal, you wait until the next one. He would often end up eating once per day since he had chronic GI issues that included nausea/lack of appetite.

    His health and glucose control during several years of eating like this were terrible, and he seems to also do better with smaller, more frequent meals, which he converted to after learning he had pre-diabetes. His mother often fasts as well, because she has a weird issue where she never feels hunger, no matter how long ago she's eaten, and she's prone to colitis and IBS-D, so fasting was often her first go-to. Her overall health has deteriorated noticeably, so I can say that in her case, regular fasting has not improved any areas of health whatsoever.

    I think IF is one of those things that on paper sounds like it does a lot of great things, health wise, but in practice doesn't deliver. I don't doubt that a few people do get positive results, but those people probably would respond well to a variety of interventions, so I have a feeling their results are more about them being responders than about the merits of IF.
     
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