Today, I wanted to touch upon the concern about gallstones and fasting. The function of the gallbladder is well established and you may want to read my article on the Glorious Gallbladder.
Professor Valter Longo, who is a professor in gerontology and biological science in the USA and the Director of The Longevity Institute has recently published his book called The Longevity Diet and it is well worth a read. Dr Jason Fung, a Canadian nephrologist and well-known author of the books, A Complete Guide To Fasting and The Obesity Code are also good reads, especially the Obesity Code. Both Professor Longo and Dr. Fung have brought to light the impact of fasting on health. Although fasting has been known through the ages only recently has it become more popular and more research is on the rise in relation to fasting and its impact in all manner of illnesses, from MS through to simple weight loss.
The science itself is fascinating and deserves a ‘look in’ by any health professional but it has also created some polarity between the researchers from the so-called ‘extreme fasting’ through to the more ‘intermittent fasting’.
In some cases people have ended up in A&E due to ‘gallbladder attacks’ created by gallstones, others have experienced muscle twitches and/or cramps, some hair loss or extreme cold (latter two symptoms can indicate thyroid imbalances). However, the agonising pain of a gallbladder attack can be so acute that some people think they are having a heart attack and it has created some unrest about fasting. Why does this happen? How can one fast safely? First of all, it is NOT ONLY about the fasting BUT THE FEASTING too which I go into depth in my e-course for both women and men.
Professor Longo’s book that was just released in February 2018, also touches upon the importance of how one ‘feasts’ and the impact of fasting on the gallbladder. Others have touched upon the impact that fasting may have on the adrenals, the circadian rhythm of the body etc., and these are important to recognise and address. The biochemistry and science point to the importance of understanding your own biochemical individuality. One person may be able to fast without batting an eyelid for 72 hours straight and another person may just manage 10 hrs. How is it that one person may end up in A&E with a gallbladder attack and another can break out in hives?
This boils down to biochemical individuality. If you have a history of heart disease or fatty liver, or insulin resistance or cancer or medications, suppressed emotions, does it make sense to follow the same ‘protocol’ as someone without such a history? I use the word protocol very loosely, as it is very much an individual process, nothing is set in stone.
If you have had liver issues in the past or pancreatitis or thyroid issues, it is not as simple as fasting straight without considering supporting various systems and organs. Some prefer to fast from 8pm to 8am others fast from 7pm to midday, some have breakfast as they find it supports their ‘adrenal peak time’. It is important to keep this in mind when embarking on any nutritional lifestyle, not just fasting.
Prof Longo does not encourage long-term fasting without the support of a qualified medical professional due to the issues not only with gallstones but the body’s circadian rhythm. The theory with gallstones is that when one does not eat for a period of time, moreso the extended fasts, the gallbladder does not get the signal to contract and therefore the bile starts to form sludge, I mention this in my article on the Glorious Gallbladder.
When I put together the feasting and fasting e-course, it was with all the above in mind which is now confirmed by the work Prof Longo. Some individuals do require extra support be it through a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, or organ support, or a gentle drainage programme. After all, the body will be releasing those toxins held in the cells and you want them out not re-circulating and tucked into other tissues. No doubt, as the research continues in this area, we will hear and learn more about the impact of ‘fasting and feasting’ on wellbeing and I have a keen interest in integrating more naturopathic techniques to further enhance the repair and healing of the body.