Some dry fasters proudly say they’ve been abstaining from drink (water, not vodka). But deciding how long you should dry fast can be a matter of life-and-death, so, unless you’re Buddha, don’t jump into a week-long dry fast!
How long can you dry fast? Dry fasting can be practiced anywhere between 10 hours and up to over 20 days. The longest recorded dry fast is 21 days. However, the recommended duration for most practitioners is to dry fast 12-24 hours.
The human body can go without water for several days, unlike popular belief, and can be a powerful method of healing and self-rejuvenation. Dry fasting is stressful on your body, however, so understanding your health, goals, and suitability will help you determine not only how long CAN you dry fast, but how long SHOULD you dry fast.
Intermittent Dry Fasting
Intermittent dry fasting refers to abstaining from food and water for 12-23 hours and is the shortest duration of dry fasting to reap benefits. Intermittent fasting is a time-restricted feeding method that simply means eating within a specific window.
A dry fasting practice of 16:8 simply means dry fasting from water and food for 16 hours and drinking water and food for 8 hours. Like in intermittent (water) fasting (popularised as IF or intermittent fasting), you can use similar patterns of fasting and feeding, such as 12:12, 14:10, 16:8, 18:6, 20:4.
Intermittent dry fasting is the easiest way to do dry fasting with relative discomfort and can easily be incorporated into an ongoing intermittent fasting practice. For instance, if practicing a 16:8, start incorporating a 12:12 dry fasting window by not drinking for 12 hours. For example, you can stop eating and drinking at 8pm, fast for 12 hours, drink water at 8am, then eat at 12pm. You can use this principle and move up to 14:10, then do 16:8.
Intermittent dry fasting benefits increase with the duration as the body goes deeper into the healing process the longer it doesn’t have access to nutrition and water. The recommendation for dry fasting for most people is to do between 12–16 hours daily and 16–18 hours 3 times a week.
During a dry fast of this length, many of the healing processes that happen during a dry fast, such as an increase in stem cell regeneration, autophagy, and human growth hormone secretion, can all be enjoyed with a shorter dry fast. Some benefits include anti-aging, renewing the gut and vascular system, mental clarity, more energy, and increased muscle mass. Check out my article for an inspiring list of dry fasting benefits.
A fast of this length is also less stressful on the body and is more suitable if you’re having digestive issues or not so physically fit or healthy. If you’re diabetic, this may also suit you better than a prolonged fast.
Dry fasting does require more care than water fasting in entering and exiting. As less preparation is needed and being easier to break the fast without paying too much attention to your gut, this is a much easier and less restrictive fast for your health. As a result, it is the type of dry fast that can and should be practiced regularly by people from all walks of life. Pregnant and nursing women are the only exception as they require more water and should not dry fast.
A famous intermittent dry fast is done during Ramadan, when more than 1.7 billion Muslims practice dry fasting between 11-22 hours, depending on where they are in the world. See this article for the benefits of Ramadan fasting.
1-day dry fasting
This dry fasting involves 24 hours and can sometimes extend to 36 hours (sleeping overnight to break the next day). Many sources recommend this duration because 1 day of dry fasting equals 3 days of water fasting. Dry fasting for just 24 hours results in similar spikes in autophagy, stem cell regeneration, and human growth hormone of a 3-day water fast. Similarly, you can lose about 4–5 pounds ( 2 kgs) if you carefully prepare and break the fast.
Many experts recommend a 24-36 hour dry fast because you can maximize benefits without causing too much discomfort in your routine. Doing a 24- 36 hour dry fast doesn’t require so much interruption to your life or schedule; it doesn’t require you to set your environment, inform or avoid family, reschedule meetings. The preparation for these dry fasts is also less than an extended dry fast, although it can still be intense.
This length of dry fasting is not for beginners. You have to work your way up to this dry fast; you should have already been doing intermittent fasting regularly as well as several prolonged juice fasts and water fasts. You should also have studied fasting and its benefits, as well as doing a colon cleanse. These are achievable, though, and you’re not at as much risk of dehydration or complications. See this article on how to prepare for a 24 hour dry fast.
A 24-36 hour dry fast can be introduced slowly to most fasting practitioners if they’ve had experience. It can fit into going into the office and having meetings, and you won’t feel that tired compared to an extended fast.
In a typical 24-hour dry fast, you would wake up at 6am, brush your teeth, drink tea or coffee, drink a glass of water. Then dry fast until the following morning at 6am when you break your fast. On a 36-hour dry fast, you would start your fast at 6pm the day before you fast, wake up the next day, and fast all day until 6 am the following day.
Both are achievable without too much trouble. You can lie down often and won’t experience too much discomfort other than some slight thirst, weakness, maybe some hunger. Your breath will also not be much of an issue.
Dr. Sergey Filonov, a Russian dry fasting expert who has conducted thousands of dry fasts, and the author of 20 Questions & Answers on Dry Fasting, says that every time you dry fast for 24 hours, you become 3 months younger. He also believes that dry fasting for 24 hours, once a week, if appropriately done following all procedures including cleansing and nutrition, is equal to a long, extended therapeutic dry fast and can eliminate severe and chronic illnesses. This is because you’re giving all your organs a break from working and allowing them to focus entirely on healing once a week.
Dry fasting 1–3 days
Prolonged dry fasting is for more advanced fasters with several water fasts, juice fasts, and dry fasts under their belt. This fast can range from 1-3 days and 4–5 days; however, there are more considerations for 4-5 days. Fast of over 5 days should not be conducted alone and require supervision.
A 1-3 day dry fast is a full-body reboot and 3 days is equal to 9 days of water fasting. If well prepared, it’s possible to fully heal from certain diseases. However, you need to be ready to go through some discomfort.
Get hungry and dizzy, or headaches, pain in your stomach—signs that your inner healing and cleansing have begun. If you have inflammation issues, it’s good to do more than 2-day dry fasts. Inflammation cannot survive without water. The anti-inflammatory and immune system is going full speed ahead, and flu or respiratory diseases disappear if you get to this stage.
All microbes and viruses need water to thrive. All the harmful elements of your body get destroyed, and as your body needs water, it gets to heal itself. Some diseases that can be cured with dry fasting over 48 hours are endometriosis, spinal disc, and ovarian cysts.
However, research shows that almost all diseases are rooted in inflammation, so extended periods of dry fasting can have such a healing effect. The white cells usually eat intruders in your food or deal with the microbes and viruses in water composition. But without water, their attention goes towards all the internal cells and tissues that are not functioning well, healing inflamed parts of your body and eradicating inflammatory diseases. Some diseases that are best cured with a 3-day dry fast are allergies, bronchial asthma and hypertension.
For beginners, acidosis happens on day 3, but if you have done dry fasting a few times, it can occur on day 2. Every time you fast, the acidotic crisis happens earlier, and after this crisis, the healing can really start. That’s why dry fasting should become a lifestyle… as the benefits accumulate over time.
Acidosis happens when the ketone concentration in your body becomes so high, there’s no way to remove them from the body, as it’s not enough to pee them out, which can mean you feel sick or almost hungover. It can also be quite painful, especially in certain areas that your body focuses on, as the tissues in that area are being regenerated and healed. But new tissues will be far better once you go through this. Anytime after day 1, stem cell regeneration starts, but by day 3, the stem cells are hugely increased in the bone marrow—up to three times the number on day 1. Brain stromal cells are also being produced, which can turn into cells in the part of the body that needs attention.
But the ketones will start getting used, and your tissue will be regenerated faster each time. You can lose 4-5 pounds (2 kgs) a day up to day 3. Your breath, especially if you’re experiencing the acidotic crisis, can be pretty foul, so avoid spending time with others and go for long walks in nature so your lungs can release as much air and toxins as possible. You get fresh air to help with the oxidation processes going on in your body. Go for more outdoor walks, spend time in nature as your skin starts to absorb moisture from its environment. You can also do massages around the abdomen and spine—use sesame oil and a hot water patch on the area if the pain becomes too much. Try to relax before sleeping, meditate and listen to things that calm your mind.
Dry fasting 4–5 days
Above 3 days, and we’re in the more serious territory. There’s a higher chance of fever and shivers as the heat in the body goes up, and internally, cells are burning in their own furnace— every cell is a furnace of its own. Everything that is not needed by the body is getting destroyed, especially toxins.
The body’s metabolism is up over 10%. This temperature increase helps your body fight disease more efficiently, just like a fever, putting a sick person in a sauna, or the ‘sweat it out’ idea when you’re not feeling well … heat helps to create more anti-bodies.
If you’re doing a soft dry fast, you can take cold showers to reduce this heat. If possible, spend time outside in the cold and walk barefooted on snow; go naked if you can! It’s essential to be in nature and a new environment once you’re past day 3 as your skin becomes highly porous and is absorbing everything.
You can do body, abdomen, and spinal massages. Spine massages help to stimulate the gut and the nerves surrounding the gut, easing circulation in those areas. Weight loss on day 4 can be up to 2-3 pounds (1 kg). Cancer cells can be killed off here as the T-Blood cells kill viruses and increase your immune system without water with poisonous materials in it.
You can experience insomnia, and many can’t sleep as your body’s chemistry, and heat are pretty high. The benefits you get are outstanding if you have prepared well and exit the fast carefully too. Your body is an intelligent animal, and tissues that are not useful disappear according to how important they are to the functions of your body.
Your liver loses twice as much weight because it’s losing glycogen and fat. Fat goes first, then skin tags or growths, then other useless or dysfunctional growths. Cysts, tumors, abscesses all decrease and start to disappear. This is also why the myth of muscle loss during fasting is inaccurate—muscle is a valuable tissue and used last! (Check out my article on dry fasting and muscle loss.) Dry fasting of up to 5 days can be utterly life-changing and heal multiple life-long illnesses.
Extended Dry Fasting
There is, beyond this, fasting of over 5-20 days. However, these almost always be done under supervision, as you’ll need the support, and it’s a highly intense experience for the body. You can lose an average of 2–4 pounds (1 to 1.5 kgs) a day.
Usually, those doing a dry fast aim to fast Day 7 and Day 9, where the 2nd acidotic crisis hits, and the anti-aging effect here is potent (although it may take up to 3 weeks to surface). Much spiritual work can be done here as well. The health benefits of this kind of fasting can extend to the vascular system and reproductive organs—see my article on fasting for anti-aging.
The longest dry fasting record was 18 days in the Guinness Book of World Records by Andreas Mihavezv, although in April 2021, Trevor Sheldon did a 20-day hard dry fast on the mountains of Guatemala!
There are also multiple ways to combine fasting, such as 5 days dry fasting, 5 days water fasting, and 7 days refeeding. Or the Cascade method where people alternate dry fast with water fasting, 1 day dry fast, 1 day refeed, 2 days dry quickly, 2 days refeed, and so on, incrementally increasing fast days with feeding days. These are explicitly done to heal and cure the body, and more can be read in Dr. Sergey Filonov’s book: 20 Questions & Answers on Dry Fasting, which informed much of this text.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick download on dry fasting hours, and if you want to learn more about dry fasting, especially for rapid weight loss and age reversal, 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.***
- Dunning, August. The Phoenix Protocol Dry Fasting for Rapid Healing and Radical Life Extension: Functional Immortality. August Dunning , 2020.
- Coutinho, Luke. Dry Fasting Miracle. EBURY PR, 2020.
- Filonov, Sergey. 20 Questions & Answers About Dry Fasting . Translated by Vera Giovanna Bani , Siberika , 2019.