Dry fasting may sound like an extreme sport, but it’s been around for thousands of years and practiced by millions of people, even to this day! Yet, you might wonder if dry fasting is something you can do daily without endangering yourself.
Dry fasting means you don’t eat or drink for a certain amount of time: no water, tea, bone broth, fruit juice, or vegetable juice. No food should enter your mouth for the duration of the dry fast.
Dry fasting every day usually means intermittent dry fasting, much like the popular intermittent fasting (the most famous one being 16:8) with a single exception—dry fasting means you can’t drink anything.
How long should you dry fast?
A dry fast can be anywhere from 10 hours to over 20 days, but the daily recommendation is 12–16 hours. However, similar to intermittent fasting, once you’re more comfortable and advanced, you can extend your dry fast up to 18–20 hours daily.
Dry fasting can be very beneficial for your body. Every year, during Ramadan, over 1.7 billion Muslims dry fast for 30 days, and between 11–22 hours, depending on the region. Much of the benefits of intermittent dry fasting have come from Ramadan research.
Can you dry fast every day?
You are dry fasting every day when you sleep at night — which is also when the body heals. When you’re eating or drinking, up to 80% of your body’s energy is on digestion and assimilation; however, extending your overnight dry fast to the awoken state allows your body to have more time in repair mode.
There’s truth in the age-old wisdom of having a light, early dinner or going for a walk after dinner to digest your food, and this is because if you have food in your belly, your system will need to spend time outlining it while you sleep.
When your body is in a dry, fasted state, it activates processes that overhaul your health, with hormonal and metabolic changes that renew and rejuvenate your entire system. Think of this as internal housekeeping, necessary so dangerous, harmful material doesn’t pile up in your body and cause diseases. Three leading players contribute to the full-body overhaul that happens when you dry fast:
Autophagy—also known as ‘self-eating, consumes all the unneeded proteins, cells, and tissues, damaged, worn out, or harmful and recycles this cellular material towards cellular repair and growth. This process renews the entire system applies to all the cells of your body, except for viruses, bacterias, and pathogenic cells.
Stem Cell regeneration—new stem cells cell regenerate and proliferate. Stem cells are pluripotent and can grow into whatever cells your body needs. This article gives you the science behind stem cell regeneration during dry fasting.
Human Growth Hormone secretion—a result of an ancient survival mechanism, HGH does many things. Still, it primarily fuels your body and gets it ready for fight or flight mode, so you’ll be prepared physically for whatever comes next.
Daily dry fasting means that instead of spending 8 hours in repair and healing, you spend 16 hours. Instead of 1/3 of your day in healing mode, you’re spending 2/3 of your day in healing mode—which is 30% more of your lifetime getting healthier.
Meanwhile, the more hours you spend dry fasting daily, the more health benefits increase as momentum picks up; however, it’s also good to mix things up with your intermittent dry fast. Our body adapts to anything constant, so you stop getting the benefits. So mix things up. Sometimes do a 12-hour dry fast, sometimes 14, and most days do 16 and then go for 24 hours once a week. Dry fasting for 24 hours once a week is incredibly beneficial. (Check out these guides on preparing for a 24-hour dry fast and this guide on breaking a 24-hour dry fast.)
Here’s why dry fasting daily can be the best practice you could ever incorporate into your life. Reasons you should dry fast every day:
- Increased happiness
- Weight management
- Look younger
- Increased fitness
- Boundless energy
- Enhanced brain power
- Improved relationship with food
- Never get sick
- Sleep better
- Extend life expectancy
Let’s break them down, one by one.
1. Increased happiness
Dry fasting daily can have a positive impact on your mood and your overall attitude. Every time you fast and control yourself from food, you become more conscious about what you have and what others don’t have. The famous psychology book “The How Of Happiness” by Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky asserts that 50% is genetics, 10 % is circumstances, and 40% of happiness is your internal state of mind. So being grateful is crucial to how happy you feel.
Of course, a significant influence on your happiness is your state. Of course, happiness is a choice, but it’s harder when your body is working against you—happiness begins in your heart, but it ends in your gut.
Doctors say the gut is the second brain because it so dramatically impacts your choices and mood. Poor lifestyle habits mean you likely have a very unhealthy digestive tract. Your intestinal lining could have holes inside it from rotten food or alcohol, which means it’s leaking out waste, lead, mercury, and a slew of poisons into your blood, causing inflammation, which affects your mood.
Your bad food cravings can make you crash, lethargic or sick, and these cravings depend on the gut microbiome: the ratio of good to harmful bacteria in your body. Bad bacteria, parasites, and pathogens thrive on sugar, crave it, and force you to feed it, making you unwell, depressed, and emotionally unbalanced, definitely not the recipe for happiness.
Dry fasting heals the gut because the digestive tract gets a break and can heal the gut lining without any food or water intake. Dehydration during dry fasting also kills pathogens and bacteria in the gut, as they cannot survive without water.
More than 80% of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, is created in your gut—so a healthy gut means you’ll feel good.
This Ramadan study on nurses, who often have to deal with high levels of emotional stress, showed a significant level of stress reduction when dry fasting—less stress equals more happiness. This study on patients with depression also shows how fasting improves brain and psychiatric disorders.
2. Weight management
Dry fasting makes you lose weight twice as fast as water fasting or any other kind of fasting because you’re not burning fat for food; you’re also burning fat for water.
When you eat for fewer hours, you’ll likely be eating less food, which naturally means you’ll be in a caloric deficit, and when you run out of glucose, you burn more fat.
But your body also needs water, just like every other living thing, and your body gets the water it needs from metabolizing fat. Your fat cells are 90% water. A 100 gram of fat creates 110 grams of metabolic water.
Your body makes 400ml of water daily, and when you dry fast daily, you will constantly need more water, so you’ll continuously be burning more fat to get this water.
This study done in Malaysia shows that total water content in the body remained the same during Ramadan dry fasting, indicating that the body gets the water it needs from your fat stores.
Another factor that increases your weight loss is your increased metabolism. When you dry fast, insulin levels drop, which increases Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This process raises norepinephrine (or noradrenaline) and increases fat-burning, spiking your metabolism levels.
The many metabolic shifts and changes during a dry fast, including activating the cellular recycling system in which cells internally start burning off waste within the cell, also increase your metabolism as your body is trying to stabilize. As Dr. Sergey Filanov (a dry fasting expert for over two decades) explains in his book, 20 Questions & Answers on Dry Fasting, dry fasting can increase your metabolism by 10%.
Finally, HGH modulates ghrelin and leptin, the hunger hormones, which control hunger and satiety. Many factors can cause you to be hungry or not feel complete, including timing, emotional state of mind, and even lousy sleep—which increases ghrelin levels, so you’ll feel hungry in the morning, even though you’re not. Daily dry fasting regulates these hormones, so you don’t have to try so hard.
3. Look younger
Your skin is the biggest organ in your body, making up 20% of your body weight, and so when you are in good health, it shows on your skin. Dry fasting’s internal recycling mechanism and its impact on improved gut health are the most significant contributors towards tight, bright, bouncy skin.
Autophagy consumes unhealthy cells such as old, loose, saggy skin, skin tags, or lesions. This useless skin is the perfect target for autophagy’s recycling mechanism. (For more on dry fasting and loose and saggy skin, read this article.)
Stem cell regeneration also creates new skin cells. It increases the formation of skin-supporting proteins and cells such as fibroblast, collagen, and elastin, so you’ll get more elastic, bouncy, and healthy skin.
Higher growth hormone levels (HGH) also increase collagen production, which supports skin elasticity, blood circulation, and sleep quality, all of which boost your skin’s health even more.
Dry fasting also helps with wound healing, as you get a spike of immune activity during dry fasting. This research explores how Ramadan fasting helps with wound healing and the effects of fasting on your immune system. This 2011 study on mice also discovered that temporary, repeated fasting speeds up wound healing.
An improved gut flora, reduced inflammation, fewer toxins, and free radicals also clear up your skin. Dry fasting can reduce and cure psoriasis, allergies, eczema, acne, rashes, pigmentation, and dullness. See this article for more on how dry fasting affects skin renewal.
4. Increased fitness
Dry fasting increases your fitness mainly through its increased levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is why athletes often look young.
This study describes how water fasting, even for 1 day, increases HGH secretion by 2–3 times. Dry fasting is 3 times faster than water fasting—therefore, you’re looking at 5–10 times more HGH during a dry fast. HGH increases your all-around fitness. It’s what makes you makes you stronger, more alert, and gives you better quality sleep.
HGH preserves muscle mass, increases fat burn and your metabolism. This study shows how subjects retained muscle mass during Ramadan. (For more on how to gain muscle during dry fasting, see this article.)
HGH makes your joints stronger, increasing the collagen production needed for your healthy joints and cartilages. Your bones also become stronger since dry fasting triggers PTH production, preventing osteoporosis and increasing calcium levels in your blood, helping bone reabsorption and bone formation. All this results in stronger bones with more flexibility—bones that won’t break doing a handstand.
Your entire vascular system gets renewed during dry fasting. Vascular health is the health of the circulatory system—your blood, heart, and blood vessels.
Dry fasting lowers blood pressure, as seen in this Ramadan study. It also lowers cholesterol by reducing high-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels, which lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease, as this study shows. A healthier cardiovascular system results in better fitness levels and more options for fun exercises such as jogging, soccer, or (HIIT) high-intensity interval training (and yes, some people do consider HIIT fun).
5. Boundless energy
You’ll have a lot more energy after dry fasting simply because you’re more efficient at burning food. The total gut makeover gives you more power (versus less lethargy) and lets you fully absorb the nutrients you put into your body.
Daily dry fasting helps you make better food choices simply because you’ll become more conscious about your health, and with a healthier digestive system, you’ll stop craving unhealthy foods. Having the right kinds of food will completely change how much energy you feel.
After dry fasting, you can increase the healthy bacteria in your gut, which will regulate blood sugar levels and stop energy fluctuations. Your gut health impacts happiness, depression, and anxiety—all of which can deplete your energy because you’re in a negative state of mind.
An increased metabolism caused by dry fasting also means you’ll always be moving around and raring to go. Daily dry fasting also increases ketone production and ketosis, which is the fat-burning state.
The state of ketosis gives you a much better, consistent form of energy, especially for your brain. When you dry fast often, you can easily switch fuel sources, from glucose-burning to fat-burning.
If you also eat a low-carb or ketogenic diet while you dry fast, you can become fat-adapted and have access to unlimited amounts of fuel from fat for long-term exercises—such as marathons.
6. Enhanced brain power
Dry fasting initially stresses the brain as its glucose supply has ceased, but your brain quickly responds by adapting. Your brain becomes healthier, faster, and more powerful, capable of healing itself quicker.
Increased autophagy levels during a short fast improve brain function by wiping out harmful or unhealthy brain cells, as seen in this study. Increased stem cell regeneration during dry fasting creates new nerve cells from the hippocampus. Even short-term dry fasting can help brain health. This dry fasting study done during Ramadan shows the levels of BDNF increased during dry fasting.
The spike in ketone production increases BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factors. BDNF is a neurotrophin, a protein that helps neurons grow and survive: in other words, its miracle grows for your brain.
The benefits of BDNF include:
- Improved memory and learning.
- Increased production of neutrons.
- Increased brain plasticity.
- Protection from brain cell degeneration.
Dry fasting daily also increases the speed you get into ketosis and means you’ll have more ketones to fuel your brain. Your brain loves ketones, and it is an energy source that can be used straight away, in a consistent stream of energy—unlike glucose supplies, which can go up and down like a roller coaster, causing surges and crashes, and mental fogs with their inconsistent supply.
Studies show ketones are also great for your brain because they have anti-oxidant factors that protect your brain from free radicals, damage, and oxidative stress. Ketones also help with epilepsy and a bunch of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
7. Improved relationship with food
When you dry fast daily, your relationship with food changes for several major reasons: 1) your gut is healthier, 2) your taste buds are more sensitive 3) your appetite gets smaller, and 4) you have better self-control.
An unhealthy gut means a toxic gut; toxins come from parasites, viruses, and microbes. These microbes crave sugar and make you want to have the entire dessert menu so they can breed and take over more of your gut. Dry fasting daily annihilates cravings by eradicating the pathogens that cause it.
To further amplify these new healthy cravings, your taste buds are also hypersensitive when you dry fast daily, as more toxins get neutralized not only from your gut but also your tongue. Aging makes you lose many of your tongue receptors, but as your body recycles the old and puts in the new, your tongue gets new cells, so you can taste if something is off, or processed, or too salty. Taste is also a trainable skill, so you can train your tastebuds always to eat clean!
You’ll also start to find that you’re not so hungry after daily dry fasting because dry fasting regulates the hunger hormones—ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (the satiety hormone)—helping you to control your appetite better.
As you practice daily abstinence, something else extraordinary happens: you start experiencing self-control. If you can withhold from eating and drinking for so many hours, what else can you do? Dry fasting daily can be done for many reasons, but the principle behind it is that your health comes first, and more importantly, you can make choices that bring you happiness in the long term, not the short term. This will change your relationship with food, nutrition, and overall wellbeing.
8. Never get sick
Inflammation needs water, but water only goes towards vital processes when you’re dry fasting, so you starve your pathogens. Try healing the flu by dry fasting; it works—they cannot grow without water.
The many processes of dry fasting make it too difficult for pathogens to continue existing in your body. Autophagy will first aim for these cells and pathogens when discovered in the body, clear them up, and use their leftovers as food for your healthy, new cells.
Your immune system gets a boost through increased autophagy. When autophagy consumes these unhealthy white blood cells, stem cells are triggered to create a surge of healthy, new white blood cells that protects your body better.
Chronic inflammation is the leading cause of almost all diseases, and inflammation management can reduce degenerative brain diseases, obesity, bowel disease, and even cancer.
Ramadan fasting studies show inflammatory markers that increase the chance of diseases like hypertension, Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer, and psoriasis drop during dry fasting. Less inflammation greatly helps the immune system as it doesn’t have to work so hard to defend the body constantly. Of course, an increase in your general wellbeing also helps with reducing inflammation.
9. Sleep better
Sleep is vital for the healthy functioning of the body. Higher Levels of HGH secreted during dry fasting means you’ll have much better quality sleep, as HGH improves your sleep quality.
HGH also increases your metabolism, which means you’ll have more energy, and naturally move around more, which tires you more and gets you deeper rest.
Better sleep is essential for many reasons; almost all of your healing processes happen when you’re asleep, including the great repairman autophagy. When you sleep, your immune system releases a protein called cytokines, which helps fight inflammation, infections, and trauma. Your nervous system also gets a break, and studies show blood pressure gets reduced when you get good sleep.
Not getting enough sleep also triggers more Ghrelin secretion, the hunger hormone, which means you’ll feel hungry even though you aren’t. So that’s why the morning after a stormy night of sleep (think horrible nights out of binge drinking, where you get the worst sleep imaginable), you want to eat a full English breakfast and cheesecake.
10. Extend life expectancy
The consensus is that dry fasting can easily extend life by up to 15–25 years. The internal clean-up team of stem regeneration and autophagy and the multiple hormonal and cellular survival mechanism can ensure only the survival of the fittest and help reset every system, organ, and tissue in your body to a younger version of itself.
Research shows that when waste material is removed from human tissue, the tissue continues to be healthy indefinitely, so theoretically, simply by removing all the junk in your body, you could live indefinitely. Research with lower lifeforms has seen remarkable life expectancy results, and Dr. Sergey Filanov quotes many such experiments in his book.
For instance, research done at the University of Chicago show insects that live for 3–4 weeks lived for 3–4 years when dry fasted. Experiments by Suren Arakeylan showed chickens that lived up to 6 years lived to 18 years when dry fasted and even 21 years when dry fasted. Bulls which generally live up to 4 years, lived up to 12 years when dry fasted. Using this dry fasting animal research, and the average life extension being 3 times longer, means humans with a dry fasting lifestyle could live up to 250 years!
For more on dry fasting for anti-aging, check out my article here.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to start dry fasting every day! And if you’re excited about dry fasting daily for weight loss and age reversal (as you should be!), check out my new video course, 25 Again! The Dry Fasting Lifestyle For A Younger, Slimmer You.
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor/ physician, and although I have a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science, I cannot and do not hold myself to be a medical professional (“Medical Provider”). This article does not contain medical /health advice. The medical/ health information here is for general and educational purposes only. It is my opinion, based on my research and personal experience, and not a substitute for professional advice by your health care provider. Please consult with a professional before acting on the information here, and do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical attention because of anything you read in this article. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.***
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