Dry fasting makes you fitter, smarter, calmer, wiser, younger, happier, and the list goes on and on. Start salivating over these incredible dry fasting benefits.
Dry fasting has been around for thousands of years and practiced by all major religions but has only recently claimed its fame—it’s a hack for total wellness.
With more and more research on dry fasting stacking up, primarily through Ramadan, when over 1.7 billion Muslims dry fast for a month, we’ve finally discovered why dry fasting deserves all the attention its been getting.
Benefits of Dry Fasting
- Promotes weight loss
- Increases metabolism
- Promotes lean muscle growth
- Induces autophagy
- Promotes stem cell regeneration
- Increases life expectancy
- Slows down aging
- Improves skin
- Accelerates wound healing
- Lowers cholesterol & blood pressure
- Prevents coronary heart disease
- Prevents & treats diabetes
- Improves liver health
- Improves kidney health
- Enhances cognitive function
- Improves bone health
- Improves infertility & gynecological diseases
- Prevents & fights cancer
- Supports chemotherapy treatment
- Improves digestive system
- Improves immune system
- Helps manage asthma
- Reduces stress
- Increases energy levels
- Reduces cravings
- Heightens taste
- Reduces appetite
- Increases self-control
- Increases gratitude & happiness
Promotes weight loss
During a dry fast, you lose weight for two reasons: less food means more fat burned, and less water, which means more fat burned. Yes, your fat is your body’s backup resource in more ways than one!
Consuming less food than your daily calorie allowance makes you lose fat since your body no longer can get energy from glucose and needs to get that energy from burning your fat.
Consuming less water than your daily water needs also makes you lose fat, although through a slightly different process. The body still needs water for its internal functions, so it metabolizes fat to get this water. A 100 grams of fat creates 110 gram of metabolic water.
Dry fasting can burn up to 3 times the fat loss of water fasting. In water fasting, you lose 2kgs in 72 hours. With dry fasting, you lose 2kgs in 24 hours! Check out my article on dry fasting and weight loss here.
During a dry fast, your body’s metabolism increases by 10%. Reduced food intake means lower insulin levels, increased higher human growth hormone (HGH) and increased secretion of norepinephrine. All of which speeds up your fat-burning rate (lipolysis), raising your metabolism.
In the absence of water and the inability to secrete (pee) out the toxins, your body becomes an internal recycling system, removing everything it doesn’t need. So every cell in your body becomes its own incinerator, burning damaged or unhealthy organelles and proteins inside the cell for efficiency and energy and increasing the heat in your body—which you might experience as ‘the chills’.
Dry fasting also preserves muscle mass, also increasing fat burn and metabolism. This study shows how Ramadan fasting participants retained muscle mass yet lost significant body fat.
Promotes lean muscle growth
Fasting can not only preserve muscle mass but also help to build more muscle mass. During any fast, your body secretes more HGH, which is key to maintaining muscle mass and ensuring you don’t wither away. However, dry fasting is not just your ordinary kind of fasting; dry fasting produces more than 5 times the HGH levels of intermittent fasting.
While following the right timing and nutrition plan, exercising in synergy with your body could help increase muscle mass. Many bodybuilders skip breakfast, do a 16 hour fast, and train just before their first meal.
Practicing resistance training exercises just before breaking your fast means you can milk the super high HGH levels in your body, so when you refeed, all the torn muscles get their nutrition and grow.
The key to this is to eat after exercise and not a diet. Post-exercise is the rebuilding phase, where you are growing muscle, so break your dry fast with a nutritious meal.
Check out this article for more dry fasting and muscle mass.
Dry fasting spikes your body’s levels of autophagy, which is one of the best-known benefits of dry fasting. In 2016, Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery of autophagy — which tells you how significant this finding was for humanity.
Autophagy means ‘self-eating and is the process your body uses to clean all its in-house junk. Autophagy consumes all the dysfunctional, unhealthy, and damaged cells, proteins, and organelles helping your body recycle this cellular material towards building new material and repairing itself.
An ancient self-preservation mechanism that helped humanity stay alive and healthy even through harsh conditions, autophagy is a cellular reset for your body. It triggers cell regeneration and stem cell regeneration and proliferation.
Autophagy helps make us younger and healthier simply by removing all the poison and toxins that age us. It also helps to treat many neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer—as this study suggests.
Promotes stem cell regeneration
Dry fasting encourages a spike in stem cells. You were born with over 10,000 stem cells, but this reduces as you age.
Dry fasting spikes autophagy, consuming unneeded cells, leaving space for new cells to proliferate. Autophagy also destroys old or damaged white blood cells, and this reduced white blood cell count turns off the PKA enzyme which inhibits stem cell regeneration, cueing stem cells to proliferate and divide.
These pluripotent stem cells, which can become any cell, grow into whatever cells your body needs. This article gives you the science behind stem cell regeneration during dry fasting.
Increases life expectancy
Dry fasting can extend life, youth, and vitality by up to 15–25 years. The processes that occur during dry fasting, including stem regeneration and proliferation, autophagy, and elimination of old, weak cells, are among the biggest reasons for the increased life expectancy.
Research on human tissue showed that when you remove old, weak cells, the tissue remains healthy and could exist indefinitely. Simply by removing the unhealthy cells, we can live indefinitely.
Research with lower lifeforms has derived incredible results on life expectancy. When fasted, insects that usually live for 3–4 weeks lived for 3–4 years; chickens that lived up to 6, lived to 18 years; and bulls which live up to 4 years lived up to 12 years—the average life expectancy seems to be 3 times, which for a human being, translates to 250 years!
Slows down aging
The age of your body is the age of your vascular system: your heart and its cardiovascular system. For many people, their biological age is more than their actual age, primarily because of lifestyle, environmental exposure, and genetics.
Dry fasting rejuvenates your entire vascular system. It triggers internal cellular recycling where metabolic processes—namely, autophagy, stem cell regeneration, and human growth hormone production—recycle old cells into healthy new cells and tissues, into new cells, and slow down the aging process.
A Harvard study also shows fasting delays aging by changing the mitochondrial activity inside our cells.
See my article Dry Fasting: The Anti-Aging Miracle? for more on dry fasting and anti-aging.
Many dry fasters report a big difference in their skin. It’s one of the first visible changes of dry fasting—which makes sense since your skin is the largest organ in your body, making up 20% of your body weight, so your renewed health shows in your skin!
During a dry fast, unhealthy skin cells get recycled. New proteins, cells, and tissues form, which means higher production of skin helpers like fibroblast, collagen, and elastin, resulting in tighter, younger skin that effortlessly bounces back to shape.
Improving your gut flora (which is the good to harmful bacteria ratio) and less inflammation and free radicals also clear up your skin, as you have fewer toxins in your body.
Dry fasting can help reduce and permanently cure acne, rashes, psoriasis, allergies, eczema, pigmentation, and dullness.
See my article Dry Fasting: The Secret to Everlasting Beauty for how dry fasting affects skin renewal.
Accelerates Wound Healing
Increased immune activity during intermittent dry fasting helps with wound healing. As this study on fasting and immune activity shows, a flurry of fresh new flurry white blood cells increase in the body. A 2011 animal study on mice also found that temporary, repeated fasting speeds up wound healing.
Lowers Cholesterol & Blood Pressure
Vascular health is the health of the circulatory system: blood, heart, and blood vessels. Dry fasting regularly renews the vascular system as a whole, impacting your body in several ways.
This Ramadan study points out that red blood cell production gets suppressed during dry fasting, resulting in lower blood pressure. Dry fasting also lowers cholesterol, as it reduces levels of high-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease, as this study proves.
Prevents Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
Coronary heart disease occurs when the walls of your arteries have been lined by cholesterol, creating plaques that narrow your arteries. This study showed improvements in the CHD risk score on Ramadan participants with a history of related diseases and their advances while dry fasting.
Prevents & Treats Diabetes
Your pancreas is key to diabetes prevention and treatment. Dry fasting regenerates your pancreatic cells and increases insulin activity. Regular dry fasting regulates blood sugar levels and sees a reduction of 50% in glucose and insulin-like growth factor, helping to prevent the onset of diabetes. This study done in 2014 shows how dry fasting can help treat diabetes.
Improves Liver Health
Dry fasting heals liver cells, improves inflammation and increases the secretion of your liver’s enzymes. This study done in Ramadan shows dry fasting aids with improving liver functions and helps with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Improves Kidney Health
The kidneys work hard during dry fasting; however, if you follow the guidance and drink water before and hydrate well after, your kidneys can benefit significantly from a dry fast. This study supports that dry fasting shows improvements to kidney function; however, if you have specific or chronic kidney issues, such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), you should make sure you get medical advice if you’re dry fasting.
Enhances Cognitive Function
Dry fasting initially stresses the brain as its glucose supply has ceased, but your brain quickly responds by adapting and activating changes in the way it functions.
These changes include: DNA repair, nerve protection, increased nerve activity, nerve repair, increased mitochondria in nerve cells, and new nerve cell production from stem cells in the brain—all of which make your brain a more powerful machine.
Increased autophagy levels during a short fast can also improve brain function by wiping out harmful or unhealthy brain cells, as seen in this study. Even short-term dry fasting can help brain health. Another 2016 dry fasting study done during Ramadan shows levels of BDNF increased during dry fasting.
The spike in ketone production increases the levels of BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which is like miracle-gro for your brain.
BDNF is a neurotrophin, which is a protein that helps neurons grow and survive. The benefits of BDNF include improved memory and learning, increased production of neutrons, increased brain plasticity, and protection from brain cell degeneration.
Improves Bone Health
During dry fasting, your system secretes PTH, prevents osteoporosis, and increases calcium levels in your blood, helping more bone reabsorption and bone formation.
Improves Infertility & Gynaecological Diseases
Only a tiny percentage of women are absolutely infertile; in most cases, infertility results from existing conditions such as fallopian tube damage, scarred ovaries, uterine malformation, endometriosis, ovarian dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, or polycystic ovary disease (PCOD). Dry fasting can increase luteinizing hormone, positively affecting PSOD, as it helps regulate women’s ovulation cycles.
Dry fasting improves total body health, allowing for full body healing and curing many diseases, which means previously infertile women could become fertile again, which also applies to abortions, and miscarriages, as a healthy body means a healthy womb.
Soviet veterinarian Suren A. Arakeylan (1928 -2002) experimented on caged hens that had stopped laying eggs. After these hens were dry fasted, they shockingly started laying eggs again. These eggs were also 30% heavier (weighing 68 grams instead of 48 grams) and were biochemically proven to be more nutritious as well.
Prevents & Fights Cancer
Fasting triggers the process of autophagy, which consumes unhealthy cells, including pre-cancer cells and cancer cells. Along with the increased levels of white blood cells in your body, dry fasting also helps eliminate more of these rogue cancer cells, stop cancer progression, and eliminate the growth of abscesses, cysts, and tumors.
Cancer cells also need carbohydrates to multiply, but during dry fasting, when your body has run out of glucose, it goes into the state of ketosis, where its using fat for fuel, and cancer cells can’t proliferate. This study shows how fasting reduces cancer, and this research on extended overnight fasting showed a reduction in the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Dry fasting helps with the side effects and efficiency of chemotherapy. Some of the side effects of chemotherapy include poor blood count, low immunity, and overall weakness, and research shows dry fasting helps counteract these. This study shows how short-term dry fasting helps to aid the recovery of chemotherapy.
Improves Digestive System
Your gut never gets a chance to get a breather, as you’ve been spending years eating and drinking constantly. Dry fasting gives your intestinal tract a time-out and allows it to heal.
Without water intake, your pancreas stops secreting hydrochloric acid, helping to cleanse your gastrointestinal tract. No water also means all the toxic bacteria and parasites in your gut will die of dehydration, while your good gut bacteria can propagate, balancing out your gut microbiome.
Regularly dry fasting reduces flatulence, constipation, indigestion, leaky gut syndrome, and more serious gastrointestinal issues such as peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and H. pylori infections. Sufferers of hypersensitive stomach can reduce the pain, discomfort, and bloat with regular dry fasting.
Help your gut more by taking probiotics as soon as you break your fast. For more on maintaining and healing gut health, check out my article How To Prepare For A Dry Fast (in 10 steps) as well as how to The Complete Guide on How to Safely Break a 24-Hour Dry Fast.
Improves Immune System
Your immune system is highly affected by your gut. Your lifestyle can corrode the gut lining and sensitive intestinal walls, damaging them and causing them to leak. A damaged gut lets the proteins from our food seep into our blood, and that’s when our immune system launches battle.
Dry fasting also resets the immune system through the increased activity of autophagy and stem cell regeneration, where your body consumes old, healthy cells and replaces them with fresh new cells – including white blood cells. This drop-in white cell blood cell triggers stem cells to regenerate and increase and surge healthy, new white blood cells that can help our body protect itself.
Inflammation only happens with water, and in the scarce conditions of dry fasting, the water in the body only goes towards vital processes.
Chronic inflammation is the cause of many major diseases, as this study shows. Reduced inflammation during dry fasting can reduce obesity, bowel disease, degenerative brain diseases, and even cancer. Reports say dry fasting for 3–5 days can completely cure allergic reactions and joint pains.
Ramadan fasting studies also show that inflammatory markers CRP, IL-6, and TNF-a, which increase the risk of diseases like hypertension, Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer, psoriasis, and prostate cancers, are decreased during dry fasting.
Less inflammation in the body helps the immune system as it doesn’t have to work so hard to defend the body. You can learn more about inflammation and the immune system in this Healthline article.
Helps Manage Asthma
Asthma is caused by inflammation and excess mucous in our breathing passage due to an allergic reaction. This study shows that dry fasting reduces inflammation, avoids adverse allergic reactions, and controls asthma.
Dry fasting generally improves your mood and ability to handle stress because it improves gut health. An unhealthy gut most often causes anxiety, depression, and mood swing. Almost 80 % of the happiness hormone, serotonin, is also produced in the gut, not the brain. A healthier gut leads to more secretion of serotonin, which makes you happier and better able to cope with stress.
This study shows how fasting improves brain and psychiatric disorders. Another 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.
Increases Energy Levels
After dry fasting, you’ll have a lot more energy, for one, because you’ve removed so many toxins. Your body also feels great because it’s younger, with many new, fully functional cells, tissues, and organs. However, a significant factor in your renewed vigor is your gut.
Gut health is responsible for overall energy levels and also happiness, depression, and anxiety. The healthy bacteria in your gut regulate blood sugar levels and stop fluctuating energy levels, so after dry fasting, you’ll be feeling a lot more energetic.
Your cravings are not hunger, even your craving. The more toxic your body is, the more it craves sugary junk food, and by toxic, we’re talking about toxic parasites, viruses, and microbes.
There are hordes of nasty microbes residing in your gut that crave that banoffee pie you’re reaching for. Dry fasting removes these cravings by removing the harmful bacteria—in the absence of water, these bad microbes cannot survive — and the next time you have a longing for something sweet, you’ll find yourself reaching for a banana instead.
You’ll notice immediately after a dry fast that even a tomato tastes luxurious, while processed food tastes terrible—your taste changes after a dry fast. As more and more toxins get neutralized from your digestive system and your tongue, your sense of taste becomes hypersensitive.
As you age, you also lose your ability to taste due to unhealthy tongue receptors, which is why older people don’t enjoy the taste of food as much. After dry fasting and your new tongue receptors, you’ll be able to taste much more intensely. You then can train your taste buds to enjoy different types of foods and find you’ll naturally want clean foods.
Dry fasting reduces appetite by regulating the hormones associated with hunger—ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (satiety hormone), which help you control your appetite better. Dry fasting also heals your gut, giving you a healthier gut microbiome, which naturally helps to control your appetite since it’s the bad bacteria that often trigger your hunger!
Learning to control our urges is a benefit that has a waterfall effect on your decision-making abilities. Realizing how much power you have over your emotions: irritability, anger, frustration, discomfort, and ultimately hunger, leads to a renewed sense of control and trust in your ability to take charge of your life and make decisions that may not be comfortable and hugely can benefit your life, in every area of your life, especially your health and fitness.
Increases Gratitude & Happiness
As they say, you only know what you got when it’s gone. During a dry fast, you’ll often find yourself reminiscing that you used to be able to eat and drink whenever you wanted, making you realize how lucky you are.
The moment you have your first sip of water, you get an immense sense of gratitude, and it happens again with every drink of water you take, and even more when you have your first bite of food.
You gain a deeper appreciation for all your blessings and think more for those who cannot eat food or have don’t have clean water. This more profound appreciation for all you have can ultimately impact how satisfied you feel about your life.
The How Of Happiness, the best-selling psychology book by Professor Sonja Lyubowmirsky, asserts that happiness is 10 % life circumstances, 50% genetics, and 40% attitude. So having a grateful outlook, feeling lucky and thankful for all you have, can completely change your emotional wellbeing, regardless of who you are and what your life situation might be.
Hopefully, you’ve been blown away by how amazingly beneficial dry fasting is! But if you want to level up your dry fasting mastery, especially for weight loss and age reversal, sign up for 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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