The Cause of the Root Cause of Chronic Disease Part II: Using Fasting to Prevent and Treat Disease

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Dr. Aaron Hartman

June 14, 2022


Last week we discussed cell senescence as the underlying cause of chronic disease. How does fasting correct cell senescence and provide such a truly miraculous, metabolically-stimulating effect that can radically change your health? That’s the topic of today’s post.
Let’s start by talking about what happens when you take a break from eating.


The Fed State

After we eat, it takes about six or eight hours for our bodies to burn through the carbohydrates (or sugars) from the last meal. So if you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and have a snack before you go to bed, it is possible that you actually never get out of this fed state, and never move past burning readily-available sugar in the blood. This results in cell senescence, as your cells get stuck in this metabolic state of burning only carbohydrates.

Using Glycogen Stores

After about 8 to 12 hours after a meal, your body then dips into its glycogen stores. This is energy that has been stored in your muscles and liver as an alternative source of energy. Once your glycogen stores are depleted, your body turns to its fat stores.

Using Fat for Energy

At about the 12-hour mark, you begin to use your fat stores for energy. This is when people enter ketosis and the effect gets stronger at about 16 hours. Certain substances like the EGCG in green tea, caffeine in clean coffee, and compounds in other teas can help your body enter into ketosis and maintain it.
To get into very strong ketosis, most of us need to fast for one to two days.

A Warning about Fasting

I do not recommend longer fasts for people unless they are under the supervision of a doctor; you need to be healthy enough to fast. This seems kind of silly because fasting was a normal part of living for our ancestors just a couple of hundred years ago. But now we need to be more cautious because health conditions and certain medications can make fasting more complicated.

Entering Ketosis Does Not Necessarily Mean a “Keto Diet”

When you hear ketosis, you might think about a “keto diet”. I’ve personally moved away from this term because ketogenic diets are now being associated with eating excessive amounts of fat, including lots of coconut oil, which is actually not very healthy for us. Large amounts of fats like coconut oil can elevate triglycerides and can cause postprandial endotoxemia, a condition that occurs when toxins are pulled across the liver, resulting in liver inflammation.

Fasting Causes Flexibility and Efficiency

Once we start burning fat as our primary source of energy, we require our body to change how it uses that energy. Our cells have to switch from getting their energy from one source (sugars) to a second (glycogen), and finally to actually burn fatty acids.
Fatty acids burn very cleanly and very efficiently since they don’t create as many byproducts like oxidative species, radicals, AGEs (advanced glycation end products), etc. They also stress your cells to turn over and recycle older cells. If you’re entering ketosis daily or several times a week, your body will create new, healthy, younger cells.

Turning on Genes that Prevent and Treat Disease

Recent research has discovered that fasting and calorie restriction actually turns on specific genes called SIRT genes, which regulate cell energy production. Higher levels of SIRT gene activity is associated with a lower risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic illness. Lower levels of SIRT activity are associated with an increased risk for things like multiple sclerosis. Fasting actually turns on gene activity that promotes health and healing in the body.


Good old-fashioned fasting is amazing. Fasting and calorie restriction mildly stresses our bodies, which respond by becoming more efficient and flexible.
Next week in part three of this series, I’m going to talk about gut bacteria and how fasting resets your gut microbiome, which is so critical for overall health and well-being.
I hope this discussion of chronic disease has been helpful. If you’d like to learn more, please check out our website. Also, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve created an entire educational platform to help you on your self-education journey. These are designed to support you in your learning and give you resources to achieve greater health.
Take care and be well.
Since 2010, Richmond Integrative and Functional Medicine has been helping people to restore their health and hope with an integrative approach to conventional and alternative medicine that’s entirely science-backed. We at RIFM believe everyone is made for health. We offer a comprehensive, in-person patient membership program to ensure you get access to the care you need to thrive.


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