Therapeutic Fasting: Prolonged Life through Fasting?

Myths and Facts About Detox Diets and Fasting Medicines

Detoxification diets such as detox are intended to bind and eliminate harmful substances and toxins in the body. The trend in the diet is to reduce weight by avoiding processed foods, sugar, white flour, gluten or yeast. At the same time, the body breaks down harmful substances such as alcohol, medication or environmental toxins, as far as the theory goes. The diet is accompanied by teas or massages. According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), however, there is no scientific evidence that such measures promote the elimination of toxins. What is a fact and what is a myth in therapeutic fasting?

Many experts believe that doing without makes sense, but for different reasons than the concept of the diet suggests. The main effect of therapeutic fasting is psychological. According to Dr. med. Verena Buchinger-Kähler, who heads the fasting clinic in Bad Pyrmont, does the body's detoxification work herself. The chief doctor refers to the process of autophagy, with which cells break down and utilize their own components. This ranges from misfolded proteins to whole cell organelles. The cell gets rid of harmful substances and discharges them, thus creating a kind of self-detoxification mechanism. Since the principle is inhibited by insulin, according to Buchinger-Kähler it can help to not eat anything for a while.

Fasting is good for the soul

The founder of the fasting clinic in Bad Pyrmont Dr. Otto Buchinger was the first to emphasize the emotional dimension of fasting, as reported on the website of the clinic. For many people, therapeutic fasting is a popular method of escaping everyday stress, letting your mind wander and recharging your batteries. In addition to a better feeling for the body and more performance, a common consequence is more joie de vivre. But one thing is not therapeutic fasting: a weight loss cure. Although the weight decreases in the course of fasting, this should not be understood as the main goal. Rather, the focus of therapeutic fasting is on developing a mindful way of dealing with yourself and your own body.

Diverse areas of application

The fields of application for therapeutic fasting are diverse and can be used for both chronic and acute diseases. In the fasting clinic, metabolic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, skin diseases, digestive system diseases and respiratory diseases have already been successfully treated. Mental illnesses such as exhaustion and simple psychosomatic disorders can often be remedied by therapeutic fasting. The treatments are partially covered by the statutory health insurance companies.

Previous animal studies have shown impressive results

Model experiments on animals have already given astonishing results in previous studies. Fasting mice could increase their life expectancy by up to 30 percent. The results were even more pronounced for worms. There was also increased cognitive performance in some fasting animals. However, many effects of fasting have so far only been demonstrated in mice and rats.

Does fasting purify?

Some experts, such as the nutritionist and diabetologist Prof. Andreas Pfeiffer, do not think much of the detoxifying effect of fasting. According to the DGE, there are no slags. According to the DGE, a radical cure is not a suitable measure to lose weight. The psychological effects are much more emphasized. Fasting people deal with their body, their health and their diet. However, the experts warn seniors, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers or children should not simply expose themselves to a detoxification diet. First of all, the DGE recommends that you first avoid alcohol and nicotine. For most, that's enough detox. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Dr. Jason Fung - Therapeutic Fasting - Solving the Two-Compartment Problem (January 2022).