Fasting - Ketosis

Back to Science and Medicine


Ketosis

Source All About Fasting

When our body is not getting enough glucose from what we eat to meet its needs, either because we are spending more glucose than usual by doing exercise or because we are not eating or drinking enough of it, the body runs out of glucose and uses glycogen storage in the liver. Glycogen is a stored form of glucose. When glycogen has also run out the body breaks down fat to produce another chemical called ketones, and ketones are used as a source of energy. When the body is making and using ketones we say that the body is in a state of ketosis.

Ketosis begins after about 48 hours (2 days) or water fast for women, or about 72 hours (3 days) of water fast for men. That is the amount of time it takes for the body to run out of glucose and glycogen, but one could reasonably enter ketosis sooner if glycogen storages are already low, or possibly one could enter ketosis even later if one is resting during a fast and not using up as much glucose in body functions and mental processes.

Ketosis does not only happen for people who are fasting. Persons who do heavy exercise may enter ketosis during the day, and people can run out of glucose and glycogen during their sleep and wake up in ketosis. Some people practice low-carbohydrate (sugar) diets and eat mostly proteins, and they can be more or less in a constant state of ketosis for a long time.

Persons who eat a lot of proteins but none or few carbohydrates can develop adverse health affects long term due to the different type of ketosis that appears then. Such a ketosis can create mild acidosis of the blood which can lead to osteoporosis (brittle bones).

During ketosis, the body is using ketones from fat as the energy source, but some of the body functions require glucose specifically, so when insufficient glucose is being supplied from the food, the body will choose to break down some proteins to produce glucose out of the proteins. If a person is eating proteins during ketosis then perhaps they are getting this glucose from those consumed proteins in their diet, but for a person who is in a fasting ketosis and is not eating proteins either, their body will have no choice but to break down muscle to make the required glucose, and someone in fasting ketosis is thought to lose possibly 200 grams of muscle a day, which sounds like a lot doesn't it!

If a fasting person is still eating some amount of glucose, such as by doing a fruit juice fast or a fruit fast, then they are supplying the body with the minimum amounts of glucose that may enable it to not have to break down muscle for glucose, but this of course also prevents the body from entering ketosis.

The source tells that according to some doctors, when the body is fasting it is looking for materials to use and since none are supplied from the diet, it searches for those materials across the body itself, and the body would be targeting any cells that are diseased, damaged, aged, or dead, and always consuming the "worst" cells first. The damaged body material is broken down and the material that it was composed of is now rearranged to make new healthy cells. So in a way, fasting is a form of recycling, and achieves regeneration, rejuvenation, repair, and healing for the body. Doctors who study fasting say that fasting can help to cure many health problems and the medical community seems to agree that fasting leads to rejuvenation and reverses the signs of aging.

There are test kits for home use that check for ketone levels in the urine, but it only measures excess ketones and if the body is using up the ketones that it makes then it would not show up in the urine.

The source also mentions something very interesting, that after a few days of getting used to ketosis, to some people who fast, they then begin to experience ketosis as something wonderful and they have increased energy levels and a loss of appetite. Persons with more body fat would experience higher energy levels during ketosis whereas someone with less body fat to produce ketones from may feel tired and need more rest during ketosis. Loss of appetite would last for a few days after which the body has finished with the cleanup and rejuvenation and asks for food again and the person experiences hunger and the need to eat returns.

Comments

For some people, after a few days of adjustment, ketosis is a wonderful and comfortable physiological state with high levels of energy and loss of appetite. Is this the Breatharian state, we have to wonder? A state in which we are able to not eat, and we feel both wonderful and have higher levels of energy and experience that we have no appetite or need to eat, all the while our body is rejuvenating, healing, and getting better and better? Could this be the spiritual experience that Breatharians report, and the feeling that they must be getting nutrition from "somewhere", that they feel more energetic and healthy than normally, and since they don't understand where that energy could be coming from since they are not eating, it may be tempting to say that it is some spiritual nutrition entering the body, and it might also feel that way, but all the while they are in fact using their body's own fat and ketones, not knowing it, or not wanting to reduce a spiritual esoterical experience into something of physical origin?

Breatharianism may in fact just be the same as that wonderful rejuvenating ketosis that "some" experience. But why does the source say that only some people experience ketosis as pleasant? What factors determine whether someone in ketosis has that "wonderful" experience or does not? Could this be where the mental and spiritual work comes at play? People in Breatharianism choose to fast and they make themselves comfortable during... ketosis, and I highly suspect that it is a person's wishes and choices that determine whether they enjoy ketosis or not, which is how it became possible to weave a whole esoterical spiritual concept out of... ketosis.

There was a time when I wanted to try the Atkins Diet. It has you eat no carbohydrates, so no fruit, sugar, potatoes, bread, or any other sources of sugars and carbohydrates. Basically just meat, dairy, eggs, vegetables, water. It didn't take long before I became very uncomfortable, I felt angry and irritable and I had a huge craving for sugar and sweets and my body was begging for some candy, which is basically just pure sugar. It was far from "wonderful". I have heard reports from other people too that the Atkins Diet makes a person emotionally very uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, when I feel a "spiritual calling" to do a fast, I can easily let go of all or most foods, and if I choose to keep some foods it is always fruits, definitely not meat or dairy. During such a "spiritually evoked fast" I am physically and emotionally doing great. However if I ever decide to fast for other reasons than for "when it feels right", then I will get cranky and hungry and want to eat pretty quickly. So the mental factor and "when the timing is right" are absolutely essential, and I think that these are a key factor.

If you take away the food from a person who wants to eat, they will become hungry and feel very cranky. But if it is a person who feels a spiritual calling to fast, they feel just wonderful. Meanwhile the physical factors are the same for both persons, only the mental and spiritual are different. Even the same person will have a good or a bad experience depending on their mental state prior to beginning the fast, so we should not suspect that some people are susceptible for a good experience whereas others are not; it seems to depend on the mental state at that time.

The brain regulates so much of our body, our thoughts and emotions trigger so much of how the body functions. That is why there is a whole spiritual concept created around fasting. Fasting is not a purely physical or mechanical situation. The outcome and experience of a fast is highly affected by the person's thoughts, emotions, and spirituality.

Spirituality should not be thought of as non-existent. Spirituality is part of what regulates our brain and thus body by means of thoughts and emotions at least, and is very real. We could say that spirituality is an emotional and mental experience that relates to very pleasant and benevolent thoughts and feelings to which the physical body also responds in many positive and healing and supportive ways. We all know that the body is damaged while we are in a state of stress or grief, and that a low-stress lifestyle promotes health and longevity. To be in a state of spirituality is yet another form of "positive thinking" which supports the physical body and health, so no wonder we practitioners of Breatharianism come to think of spirituality as our source of nutrition, because it really feels that way.

So it seems that medical science has confirmed that fasting - limited periods of time with restricted eating and drinking - can lead to rejuvenation, healing and repair of the human body, and that fasting also lengthens lifespan. Also, ketosis itself is experienced as wonderful by some individuals who enter into it. But to what extent is Breatharianism only the spiritual interpretation of merely biological phenomena, or might there be something more to Breatharianism which takes off far beyond fasting and ketosis to being something considered biologically impossible, where the body is - in fact - taking nutrition not from its own tissue storage, but from other, alternative, esoterical sources? Could such a thing be possible?

Are Breatharians only experiencing the benefits of fasting and choosing to indulge themselves in the pleasant feelings of healing and rejuvenation that take place and enjoying the loss of appetite during ketosis? Wanting to think of it as a purely spiritual and almost religious experience fully detached from any physical origin or limitations, yet might the source of the Breatharian state in fact be ketones, and not a spiritual nourishment at all?

But the thing about Breatharianism is that it is a state where the person does not feel the need to eat and sometimes also no need to drink. It is an absolutely wonderful state to be in, it feels very spiritual and beautiful, like entering into Heaven. And Breatharianism is not an automatic process. Nobody who simply stops to eat and drink can enter into Breatharianism. It takes a choice, it takes for the mind to align with the benevolence of the experience for it to become truly benevolent.

What people who eat do not understand is that Breatharianism is wonderful and pleasant and that the body has no signs of nutritional deprivation during it. In fact the body seems to be healthier than for someone who eats. And perhaps that is just due to the repair that happens during ketosis. Spiritual or strictly biological, Breatharianism is a special version of fasting that evokes a truly spiritual experience, and it uses the mind-body connection for a person to enter into it.