Health freaks everywhere are fans of intermittent fasting, but not many know of its superior cousin, intermittent dry fasting (although every year, 1.5 billion Muslims intermittent dry fast during the month of Ramadan). Check out these miraculous benefits.
17 benefits of intermittent dry fasting
- Promotes weight loss
- Increases metabolism
- Promotes lean muscle growth
- Lowers cholesterol & blood pressure
- Prevents coronary heart disease (CHD)
- Prevents & treats diabetes
- Improves digestive system
- Improves immune system
- Promotes stem cell regeneration
- Slows down aging
- Improves skin
- Accelerates wound healing
- Enhances cognitive function
- Improves bone health
- Increases energy levels
- Reduces cravings
The news keeps pouring in. Ramadan research and regular intermittent dry fasting practitioners swear that the benefits of intermittent dry fasting far outweigh those of intermittent water fasting—especially if you’re committed to the long haul.
Fasting has been causing waves, but the little-known secret is that dry fasting is water fasting on speed. The physiological changes that happen during dry fasting emulate the benefits of water fasting by 3 times. You get the same effects but in a third of the time. This means 1 day of dry fasting equals 3 days of water fasting.
Dry fasting for even just 12-16 hours can have a massive positive effect on your body. Research done at the University of Geneva in 2013 found that the hypertonicity of a 12-16 hours dry fast can increase your autophagy levels to that of a 48-hour or 2-day water fast. These heightened levels mean your body is being cleaned up at an accelerated rate, and you’re growing younger just by dry fasting for 12-16 hours!
Here are 17 reasons why intermittent dry fasting comes up trumps.
Promotes Weight Loss
During a 3 day water fast, you can lose an average of 4–5 pounds (2 kgs). In a dry fast, you lose 4–5 pounds (2 kgs) in 1 day. Weight loss during dry fasting is sped up because of two main factors: reduced food intake and metabolic water production.
Since you are fasting and not eating any food, the calorie restriction, which means eating less than your daily calorie allowance – naturally makes you lose weight. Less food in, more fat burned to make up for the energy deficit. Weight loss follows.
The deprivation of water in our body during a dry fast also doubles up on this fat burning. The body still needs water for its processes, and so it must create its own. Where does the water come from? Your fat cells. Your body metabolizes fat cells to make water. For every 100g of fat, the body creates 110g of metabolic water—increasing the speed of fat burning by three times!
Dry fasting also curbs hunger through the regulation hormone ghrelin (hunger hormone) and leptin (satiety hormone), controlling appetite. It also has physiological benefits post dry fasting as you feel more masterful of your body and its urges.
Reduced food intake during dry fasting also means reduced insulin levels, which spur higher human growth hormone levels (HGH). This increases norepinephrine, which speeds up your fat-burning rate and raises your metabolism.
In a dry fast, your body becomes an internal recycling system, activating a series of metabolic processes that turn every cell into its own incinerator, burning all the unhealthy, old, unnecessary organelles and proteins inside it for energy and efficiency. This increases the heat in your body, and some dry fasters experience this as ‘the chills.’ During a dry fast, your body’s metabolism increases by 10%.
Dry fasting also preserves muscle mass which again increases the rate of fat burn and our metabolism. This study shows how participants of Ramadan fasting retained muscle mass yet lost a significant chunk of body fat.
Promotes lean muscle growth
Not only does fasting preserve muscle mass, but fasting can be an immense tool for building more muscle mass if done correctly. Fasting cues your body to secrete more human growth hormone (HGH), which is key to maintaining muscle mass, but dry fasting produces more than 5 times the HGH of intermittent fasting.
If you exercise and practice dry fast in synergy with your body’s rhythm and metabolism, you can see an increase in muscle mass. Bodybuilders usually do a 16 hour fast, skipping breakfast, and train just before they eat. If you practice weightlifting or resistance training exercising just before you break your fast, then maximize the HGH levels in your body and benefit from refeeding. Do not diet after exercising, and break your dry fast with healthy, nutritious proteins and fats. This is the rebuilding phase, where you are growing muscle. So eat.
Check out this article for more information about dry fasting and muscle mass.
Lowers cholesterol & lood Pressure
Vascular health measures the health of your circulatory system: your blood, heart, and blood vessels. While dry fasting regularly, all these systems get renewed and are given a new lease of life. Intermittent dry fasting can impact our vascular system in several ways.
It lowers cholesterol, as the low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. It also lowers blood pressure as red blood cell production is suppressed during dry fasting, resulting in lower blood pressure, as this Ramadan study points out.
Prevents coronary heart disease (CHD)
Another result of an improved vascular system, coronary heart disease, happens when cholesterol lines the walls of your arteries, creating plaques, narrowing your arteries. This study showed considerable improvements in CHD risk scores on participants with a history of related diseases and their advancements while fasting.
Prevents & Treats Diabetes
The health of your pancreas is key to treating and preventing diabetes. The rejuvenation effects of dry fasting regenerate the pancreatic cells and increase insulin sensitivity. Even water fasting can be beneficial for managing diabetes, but dry fast just does it quicker and more efficiently. Because of its glycaemic benefits, regular dry fasting helps regulate blood sugar levels with a reduction of 50% in glucose and insulin-like growth factor, helping to prevent the onset of diabetes. This 2014 study shows how dry fasting can help treat diabetes.
Inflammation causes many significant diseases, as this study shows, and intermittent dry fasting can be helpful against issues like obesity, diabetes, bowel disease, degenerative brain diseases, and even cancer. Studies on Ramadan fasting report inflammatory markers such as CRP, IL-6, and TNF-a, increasing the risk of hypertension, Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer, psoriasis, and prostate cancers. There are instances where dry fasting for 3-5 days can completely cure allergic reactions and joint pains.
Inflammation can only happen when water is present. Reduced inflammation in the body improves the immune system as it doesn’t have to work so hard to protect the body. Read this Healthline article for more information on inflammation and the immune system.
Improves digestive system
Years of non-stop eating and drinking means your gut never get a chance to heal itself; dry fasting gives your gut a break and allows healing to happen so your gut can do its job better.
Water deprivation helps to also cleanse the gastrointestinal tract by stopping the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which allows the gut to heal. The lack of water also eliminates the toxic bacteria lodged inside your gut while promoting the growth of good gut bacteria.
Dry fasting can help to reduce indigestion, flatulence, constipation, and leaky gut. If appropriately managed, dry fasting can also treat more gastrointestinal severe issues such as peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and H. pylori infections. If you have a hypersensitive stomach, you will reduce the pain, discomfort, and bloating simply by regularly dry fasting.
You can help your gut by taking probiotics immediately after dry fasting. Proper preparation before dry fasting as well as the proper method of breaking the fast will take you a long way to benefitting your gut health.
Improves Immune System
Your immune system is highly affected by your gut. Your lifestyle can corrode the gut lining and sensitive intestinal walls, which can be easily damaged or start leaking. 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 blood cells trigger stem cells to regenerate and increase and create a surge of healthy, new white blood cells that can help our body protect itself.
Promotes stem cell regeneration
A newborn has over 10,000 stem cells but, as you age, this number reduces. When you fast, your system spikes its autophagy or ‘self-eating process and starts to consume unneeded cells, leaving space for new cells to proliferate.
Autophagy also consumes unhealthy or damaged white blood cells (leukocytes). This reduction in white blood cells turns off the enzyme PKA that inhibits stem cell regeneration and cues stem cells to proliferate and divide. These new cells become different cells according to your body’s need and fill up the space left by autophagy’s clean-up!
This article gives you the scoop on stem cell regeneration during dry fasting.
Slows down aging
Aging results from our lifestyle, environmental exposure, and genetics, including lack of sleep and nutrition. The biological age is far more than our actual age today.
The age of our body is determined by the age of our vascular system. Dry fasting rejuvenates our vascular system: triggering internal cellular recycling where metabolic processes—namely, autophagy, stem cell regeneration, and human growth hormone production—recycle old, unneeded, unhealthy proteins, organelles, and cells into healthy new cells and tissue. A study in Harvard also shows fasting delays aging by changing the mitochondrial activity inside our cells.
Regular fasting is often said to extend lifespan by 15–25 years. Research on many lower lifeforms, however, has shown some spectacular results on life extension. Insects that ordinarily lived for 3–4 weeks lived for 3–4 years when fasted. Chickens that lived up to 6 years lived up to 18 years when fasted, and bulls, which usually live up to 4 years, lived up to 12 years. The average life expectancy seems to be 3 times as much, which, by human standards, translates into 250 years!
See this article for more on dry fasting and anti-aging.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, being about 16% of body weight, which means the health of your skin reflects your overall health. Many dry fasters report a huge difference in the way their skin looks with regular dry fasting.
During intermittent dry fasting, unhealthy skin cells are recycled, and new cells are created from stem cell regeneration, which increases the production of fibroblast, collagen, and elastin, resulting in tighter, younger skin that effortlessly bounces back to shape.
Besides removing unhealthy skin cells and fresh new skin cells, other factors that help improve your skin health include the improvement of our gut flora (which is the good to harmful bacteria ratio) and decreasing inflammation and free radicals.
Dry fasting can help with acne, eczema, pigmentation, rashes, psoriasis, allergies, and dullness. See here for more on how dry fasting impacts skin renewal and keeps your skin looking younger for longer.
Accelerates wound healing
Increased immune activity during intermittent dry fasting helps with wound healing as a flurry of fresh new white blood cells proliferates in the body. This article on fasting and immune activity shows. A 2011 animal study on mice also found that temporary, repeated fasting speeds up wound healing. Wound healing is also accelerated by the increase of human growth hormone during dry fasting.
This article discusses how dry fasting impacts anti-aging.
Enhances cognitive function
Increased ketone production levels during dry fasting raise the levels of BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which does miracles for your brain. Benefits of BDNF: improved memory & learning, increased brain plasticity, increased production of neutrons, and protection from brain cell degeneration.
Improves bone health
Dry fasting prevents osteoporosis because your system secretes PTH, which increases calcium levels in your blood while also aiding bone reabsorption and bone formation.
Increases energy levels
Higher energy levels are one of the most noticeable changes of dry fasting. You’ll have a lot more energy after dry fasting because so many toxins have been removed from your body. The rejuvenation of the entire system. Gut health is responsible for overall energy levels but also happiness, depression, and anxiety. The healthy bacteria in your gut helps to regulate blood sugar levels and stop fluctuating energy levels, so with dry fasting regularly, you’ll find yourself feeling great, more and more of the time.
Your cravings are not genetic. There’s a horde of harmful bacteria residing in your gut that crave the sugar you think you want. The more toxic your body is, the more it craves sugary junk foods.
The best way to get rid of these bacteria is to dry fast as the absence of water eliminates these harmful bacteria, increasing the ratio of good to bad bacteria. Many dry fasters report not having bad food cravings and often switch to a much healthier diet after dry fasting.
Your taste buds also become renewed after a dry fast, and food tastes different. Immediately after a dry fast, you’ll notice the taste of fresh fruit or vegetables seems heightened, and processed food tastes awful. Your taste buds can be trained to enjoy foods with a different flavor, and regular intermittent dry fasting means you’ll naturally want to eat clean foods.
If you want to learn more about intermittent 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.***
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