What can be said to those who say that fasting is harmful?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- It is really odd to take into consideration the opinions of people who are not experts about the issue.

However, some of the benefits of fasting determined by experts are as follows:

Benefits of fasting

Some of the scientifically determined benefits of fasting are as follows:

- During fasting, when the stomach works less than usual, the heart will have more time to rest since it will perform the task of carrying blood to the stomach less.

- Fasting helps to lose weight healthily and this fact has been proved scientifically. During fasting, stored fats start to be burnt through the fat cells in the body.

- Since stomach muscles get exhausted when they work, they will do less work and get less tired during fasting.

- The stomach lining will have more opportunity to repair itself during fasting than the periods when it is damaged.

- The body will work more calmly and healthily.

- Liver cells have the opportunity to renew themselves during fasting.

- Fatty liver decreases significantly during fasting. The oil released into the blood is removed from the body faster during this period.

- Globulins and albumins, which are used in the defense of the body, will be secreted more from the liver when it has less burden.

- Fasting has important contributions to the kidneys along with other benefits to human health. During the fasting period, there will be a decrease in the waste materials in the blood; thus, the kidneys will have less work. Urea and wastes will be disposed of through the kidneys more easily.

- In addition, all production systems in the body will have the opportunity to rest and renew themselves in this period. (Prof. Dr. Osman ERK, Internist)

Fasting protects man against cancer

Fasting makes many repair genes take action in addition to decreasing the level of IGF-1 in the blood.

IGF-1 is a hormone that stimulates many types of cancer, primarily breast, prostate, ovarian and colon cancers. Thus, the body goes into fat burning mode during fasting; aged, damaged and degenerated cells are eliminated.

Fasting reduces cholesterol and balances blood pressure

During fasting, the insulin level decreases; the body starts to burn fat instead of storing fat. Blood sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride and uric acid levels decrease; blood pressure approaches normal levels. Insulin sensitivity resulting from the resting of the pancreas, which produces insulin, reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases.

Fasting purifies the body from toxins

Being hungry for certain periods enables the body to rest, purifies it from toxins and affects health positively by causing less calorie consumption. The stomach, intestine system, gall bladder, liver and pancreas, which get very tired due to three main meals and snacks and which have difficulty due to excessive burden, rest and become healthy during fasting.

Fasting renews brain cells

Chemicals called neurotrophic factors increase in brain cells during fasting. Brain cells are renewed. A protective effect against diseases such as Parkinson's disease forms.

Fasting suppresses aging genes

Genes controlling aging (daf2) become deactivated with insulin, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) and calorie restriction; anti-aging genes (SIRT3) are stimulated. A number of repair genes become activated. Damaged cells in the body disappear.

Fasting enables the body to renew

Yoshinori Ohsumi, the Japanese scientist, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2016 with the thesis of the cell self-digesting (autophagy). In this thesis, Ohsumi demonstrated the effect of remaining hungry for a long time on the body.

Here are the effects of fasting on the body ...

Yoshinori Ohsumi, the Japanese scientist, who won the Nobel Prize for his thesis that cells digest themselves and regenerate as they are triggered by hunger, proved the effect of fasting on human health scientifically.

'Autophagy', derived from two words meaning auto (itself) and phagein (eating) in Greek, means self-digestion of cells: when there is not enough energy to maintain the vitality of the body's aging mechanisms (proteins, cell membranes, etc.) in general, the body starts the process of recycling of those cells. This is generally known as the programmed death of the cell. Cells are programmed to die after a certain number of divisions. Although this incident may seem equivalent to death first, it is necessary for health. The old cell membranes and other particles inside the cell are turned to proteins when enzymes that will break down proteins are sent to aging cells.

Autophagy, cell's self-digestion, was first discovered in 1962, following the administration of glucagon to the mouse when the increase of lysosome (the organelle that destroys parts of the cell) was observed in its liver cells.

Nobel laureate scientist Christian de Duve was the first person to use the word 'autophagy'. Destroyed subcellular particles and unused proteins were marked for elimination and lysosomes were sent there to eliminate them.

Cells dissolve when they remain hungry for a long time due to fasting

When cells are hungry, autophagy is triggered. When we take food, blood sugar increases, enabling energy to be stored in cells. When we are hungry, the energy in the old cells has to come out. In that case, the glucagon in the old cells increases and the particles inside the cell dissolve and energy is formed. It is triggered by remaining hungry a long time, that is, by fasting. When a person remains hungry for a long time, cells dissolve; meanwhile, growth hormone is secreted and the formation of new cells is triggered.

Let us state again that Yoshinori Ohsumi received the Nobel Prize for Medicine with the thesis stating that the particles of old cells must be destroyed for the renewal of cells, which becomes possible when one remains hungry for a long time.

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