“Nature heals, the doctor helps!” -Paracelsus, a Swiss physician, alchemist, and astrologer.
This quote finds an abundance of support with the example of fasting- it’s a natural and powerful way to heal the physical body.
Fasting is perhaps the most effective and possibly safest way to heal the body. Many studies and experiments- many of which I have presented already in earlier blog posts on fasting, prove the effectiveness of fasting for the body.
Fasting is possibly the safest way to heal the body because it is a natural alternative to medicine and medical care, which are commonly practiced in our culture today. Many of the medications prescribed in our culture nowadays, bring about negative side effects that lead to more medication, resulting in one big slippery slope.
Some of the diseases that have been combated and/or treated with fasting include; Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Asthma, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Hypertension, Obesity, and more.
Fasting for Alzheimer’s Disease
Fasting can help prevent and/or heal Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the accumulation of degenerated brain proteins. This leads to certain negative characteristic features like decreased brain activity, poor cognition, and poor learning. Additionally, people who have Alzheimer’s disease suffer from their body’s inability to eliminate the amyloid or protein fragments that get between the brain’s nerve cells. These people also experience insoluble twisted fibers, known as neurofibrillary tangles, “inside brain cells that prevent transportation of vital nutrients and other substances between nerve cells.”
A research study done by the Institute on Aging showed the beneficial effect of intermittent fasting on “ameliorating” the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ameliorating: To make or become better; improve.
This experiment was conducted on two groups of mice. One group had to be on strict dietary patterns similar to intermittent fasting and the other group didn’t. The study concluded that the first group showed a “significant” increase in brain potential, learning and improved behavior as compared to the latter group.
A prominent doctor and neurologist at the National Institute on Aging Baltimore, Dr. Madhav Thambisetty, strongly believes that intermittent fasting may “reduce” the likelihood of acquiring the disease that destroys memory and mental functions; Alzheimer’s.
In his 20-minute lecture given at the MV Arunachalam Endowment on Alzheimer’s, Dr. Thambisetty said that the “results of a yet-to-be-published study showed higher brain glucose concentration in autopsies of people with Alzheimer’s disease when compared to people with normal cognitive abilities.”
“This shows that the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease were not able to use glucose as fuel to get energy. The severity of symptoms was proportionate to the severity of concentration,” the Dr. said. “Further analysis showed that the increased glucose concentration was seen only in the inferior temporal cortex.” The inferior temporal cortex is the part of the brain that is bombarded by this terrible disease.
Thambisetty exclaimed; “I will leave after suggesting a tantalizing possibility. Alternative sources of energy, such as ketones, may be able to reduce risk and prevent pathological damage or symptoms of Alzheimer’s. And ketones can be derived by intermittent fasting or by consuming fatty acids.”
For more information on the relationship between eating and the release of glucose click here: The Science Behind Eating and Fasting: What is the Difference?
There is another ongoing study, a study that took 44 brain autopsies in three different groups of people. These three groups were made up of
1. Patients who had Alzheimer’s disease
2. Patients without Alzheimer’s disease
3. People who showed no symptoms of the disease, but had suffered brain damage.
Brain scans showed that there were decreased levels of glucose in the brain, however, the autopsies showed the opposite.
In his response to this discovery, Dr. Thambisetty asked a critical question. “What changed after they die? We found answers in basic rules of biochemistry. The concentration of three by-products of glucose — serine, glycine, and cysteine — was higher in autopsies because they could not be reversed.”
So, in theory, if glucose is replaced with different sources in the brain, then there is hope of possibly preventing any brain damage or symptoms of Alzheimer’s. “But only further research can provide answers,” said the neurologist.
- Fredricks, Randi. Fasting: an exceptional human experience. AuthorHouse, 2013. Print.
- Davidson, John, and Muhammad Usman. Amazing Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. JD-Biz Corp Publishing, 2013. Print.
- “Can intermittent fasting reduce Alzheimer’s risk?” Times of India 6 August 2017. Business Insights: Essentials. Web. 3 February 2018.