How does fasting positively affect your gut health and treat chronic disease?
In the past couple of weeks, we’ve alluded to the idea that gut health plays a major role in chronic disease. This week we’ll talk about two ways that poor gut health affects inflammation and causes chronic disease. After that, we’ll talk about a simple way to improve gut health that can prevent and treat disease in the body.
What is postprandial endotoxemia?
First, you might remember that we referred to postprandial endotoxemia last week. That’s a complicated-sounding term that basically describes a condition that happens when, after a meal (postprandial), toxins are pulled across the lining of your gut and into your liver. All heart disease and all dysfunction of your endothelial (the lining of your cells), is a postprandial phenomenon. This means that eating in a way that frequently pulls across these toxins and overloads the liver results in a low-grade level of these endotoxins in the blood, which can actually be measured in blood testing. This phenomenon is directly related to inflammation, cell dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and other diseases.
Enter fatty liver disease.
One of the major functions of the liver is to filter out these endotoxins after eating and prevent them from getting into your bloodstream. But in our modern lives, the liver can get overwhelmed with these toxins from frequent meals and snacks or chemical exposures. When this happens, fatty liver disease can occur It is estimated that 30% of Americans and 10% of the world’s population have fatty liver disease.
A Miraculous Intervention
So what can you do to reduce this inflammation and also reduce your risk for fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and more? Fasting.
After about eight hours, your food has gone through your stomach and colon, and your liver can finally rest. It can focus on just filtering your blood and switching its metabolism to making ketone bodies. These ketone bodies actually help clear out your brain, your cells, and your mitochondria.
Fasting also takes away the food source of some disease-causing bacteria in your gut, which lowers their counts. Fasting can significantly improve gut issues. People with IBS or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) can actually use fasting (or interval fasting) as a tool to help with their gut function.
Simple fasting helps improve gut function, reduces disease-causing bacteria, lowers toxins in the blood, and reduces liver inflammation.
These days even competitive athletes are using fasting to improve their performance. Some are also becoming ketogenic athletes and have learned how to make ketones their primary source of energy for exercise. All of these benefits are accessible to you simply through either calorie restriction diets or ideally some form of interval fasting.
What does interval fasting look like in practice?
Personally, I follow 16:8 keto flex model, which Dr. Dale Bredesen and Dr. Terry Wahls use in their Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis patients. Dr. Mark Houston at the Vanderbilt Hypertensive Clinic also uses the exact same protocol for his heart patients. The idea is to basically compress your eating into an eight-hour window. So if you eat dinner at 6pm at night, you don’t eat breakfast or any other food or drink with calories until 10 o’clock the next morning. Doing this Monday through Friday can be a huge leverage point for your health.
This one simple and free intervention is helping multiple sclerosis patients, Alzheimer’s patients, and cardiovascular patients, and even is used by elite athletes. And this is something you can do too. Fasting is an extremely powerful and simple intervention that can radically change your health.
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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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