The human body and its systems are designed in a way that allows people to fast. Fasting is a powerful therapeutic process. It is an effective, safe, and proven by time method that has been used for centuries to treat the sick, free body from toxins, and help people recover from mild to severe health conditions. Some of the most common illnesses that fasting helps to treat include benign tumors, acne, eczema, adult onset diabetes, chronic headaches, asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, as well as rheumatoid, and generative arthritis. Regular fasting starts regeneration processes within a human body and helps it heal and feel well by giving rest to organs and body systems. Correct fasting is known to reverse the aging process and contribute to a longer and healthier live. In spite of the great advances that pharmaceutical industry makes in the development of new drugs, many healthcare professionals and patients are genuinely interested in alternative treatments, such as fasting and dietary therapy. Regular fasting can significantly improve health. Moreover, it helps rebuild immune system and overcome illnesses and degenerative diseases common in the chemically polluted environment. The content of the literature review will principally report the collection of findings to provide conclusions of different authors and studies that focus on advantages of fasting on obesity and weight reduction, treatment and prevention of diabetes, and relieving signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The paper will review separately studies on effects of fasting on the aforementioned conditions. The purpose of the literature review is to demonstrate that therapeutic fasting is an effective intervention that can help (a) lose weight and fight obesity, (b) prevent and treat diabetes, and (c) improve the condition of patients with rheumatoid arthritis https://topdissertations.com/.
Effects of Fasting on Weight Loss and Obesity
The review of the relevant literature demonstrates that dietary restrictions and fasting remain among the main interventions recommended to people who want to lose excessive weight. Fasting can be very helpful intervention for people who suffer from excessive weight. The author explains that on average, a fasting person loses one pound daily during a water-only fast. During fasting, the human body begins using fatty tissues to produce energy as body burns fat reserves during a water fast to supply energy. Simultaneously, toxins that were previously stored in fat reserves are released into circulation to be eliminated through urine and respiratory tracts. Therefore, during fasting, weight loss is accompanied by body detoxification as well.
In their book The Miracle of Fasting, Bragg and Bragg give a comprehensive description of the effects of fasting on a human body and argue that fasting is an effective strategy for weight reduction. First, a fasting person can lose from a half of a pound to five pounds daily. Second, during fasting, excessive weight decreases in areas where fat deposits are located (consequently, fat shrinks where it is concentrated in excess). Third, the possibility to choose between different types of fasting and combine it with exercise makes it suitable for almost anyone.
The scientists studied the effect of intermittent fasting (dietary pattern that implies skipping certain meals) combined with calorie restriction on weight reduction in obese women. The results of their empirical study indicated that intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction and liquid meals is an effective intervention for helping obese women lose weight.
In another study, lifestyle interventions based on dietary changes remain the mainstream treatment for obesity and form the first step in any weight loss program. The authors argue that weak effectiveness of pharmaceutical weight reduction therapies and the fact that bariatric surgery remains restricted minority treatment make fasting the intervention of choice for overweight and obese individuals. The expert list the reasons why fasting can be considered an effective and clinically relevant approach. First, intermittent fasting has been found useful in treating obese individuals. Second, despite the fact that fasting can be a procedure that is very strict in nature, fasting interventions generally report good patient adherence rates. Lastly, the evidence demonstrates that fasting can cause a significant weight reduction in obese individuals. Therefore, intermittent fasting offers the benefits of bariatric surgery without risks, limitations, and costs associated with surgery.
The scholars analyzed five high-quality research studies (randomized trials) to determine whether therapeutic fasting is clinically beneficial. The authors claim that the analyzed studies on fasting employed robust designs and produced high-quality clinical evidence. Reviewed observational clinical outcome studies and randomly controlled trials evaluated the effect of fasting on cholesterol level, weight loss, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. First, fasting was found to be directly associated with weight loss. Second, fasting was associated with lower rates of coronary artery disease. Finally, fasting was associated with lower prevalence of diabetes.
Fasting in Treatment of Diabetes
Another conditionthat can be successfully prevented and treated by fasting is type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes. It is a major non-communicable disease that occurs when the body cannot use insulin it produces or does not produce sufficient amount of insulin. Diabetes prevalence increases globally and the condition itself remains the leading cause of premature deaths. When managed improperly, diabetes can lead to a host of health issues, including nerve damage, kidney disease, stroke, heart diseases, blindness, foot and leg amputation, and death. Usually, type 2 diabetes begins when a person reaches his or her mid-fiftieth. As the following sources demonstrate, adjusting dietary habits and pursuing healthy eating strategy have a beneficial impact on prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.
While there are many chemical agents available to treat and control diabetes, drug treatment can have adverse effects and fail to avoid late-stage diabetic complications. Therefore, the scholars recommend using specific medicinal plants and dietary supplements to treat diabetes as effective interventions that are less likely to have side effects. For example, the authors state that medical nutrition therapy and a dietary plan can help in controlling blood glucose. Scientific and medicinal evaluation of such medicinal herbs as Momordica Charantia (bitter melon), Trigonella foenum graecum, Gumnena sylvestre, and Azadirachta indica demonstrated their efficacy in treating diabetes. In addition, dietary supplements in the form of vitamins and minerals, such as Chromium, Vanadium, Magnesium, Nicotinamide, and Vitamine E can play the role of treating and preventive agents for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and their complications.
The use of intermittent fasting offers the potential to improve the condition of individuals with diabetes. When diabetes 2 patients use drug therapy, many of them start gaining additional weight, becoming overweight and obese or exacerbating already existing problem with excessive weight. The authors argue that daily calorie restriction in the form of intermittent fasting can reverse type 2 diabetes by improving pancreatic function, insulin level, and metabolic parameters, and prevent the development of diabetic complications. Moreover, although some diets may be too severe for patients with type 2 diabetes, appropriate intermittent fasting can be used to slow the progression of type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese individuals.
Healthcare professionals can recommend dietary modifications to treat diabetes. The author states that dietary treatment of diabetes helps achieve such objectives as (a) improving health through balanced nutrition, (b) preventing, delaying, and treating diabetes-related complications, and (c) achieving optimal blood lipid and blood glucose concentrations. Dietary management of diabetes involves modifications of quantity and quality of products to be consumed, since foods can have a powerful effect on preventing and reversing diabetes. The author recommends what Annapurna calls partial or selective fasting, including some solid foods and limiting or excluding other foods, and claims that even simple dietary changes can have a profound positive effect on diabetes treatment and prevention. Since fat is a problem for people with diabetes (it becomes difficult for insulin to transport glucose to cells), reducing body weight and minimizing fat intake helps insulin transport glucose to cells more effectively. Selective fasting for treating diabetes includes reducing oils, high-fat diary products, and meats and increasing consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains. The study argues that following the combination of near-vegetarian diet and exercise program helps patients with diabetes (both taking insulin and oral medications) to stop using their medications.
Fasting and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Theresearchers studied nutritional status of thirty-four patients with RA over the period of 13 months. In the course of the study, the sample group (seventeen participants) followed their usual diet. The other seventeen patients (experimental group) went through the three-step process: fasted for 7-10 days, adhered to the gluten-free vegetarian diet for three and a half month, and were then transferred to nine-month-long lacto-vegetarian diet. After comparing two groups of patients, the scholars reached the following conclusions. First, the fasting and dieting group reported significantly reduced body mass index. Second, while the experimental group reported significantly reduced growth of insulin-like growth factors after one month, the overall difference between experimental and control group was insignificant. Finally, there were no significant differences between concentration of copper, zinc, ferritin, haemoglobin, and serum albumin between the two groups. Fast followed by diet manipulations for over a year has only minor impact on nutritional status of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The impact of extended fasting and diet on the intestinal bacterial flora, since changes in it are believed to contribute to degenerative and inflammatory diseases, including RA. The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between dietary patterns, changes in intestinal flora, and clinical outcome of RA. Although clinical improvement was greater in fasting patients in comparison with non-fasting patients, improvements were not related to alterations in intestinal flora.
In 1999, six years later after the study by a group of scientists conducted a very similar controlled trial to test the effect of fasting and vegan diet on patients with RA (fast for 7-10 days and gluten-free vegetarian diet for three and a half month, followed by nine months of lacto-vegetarian diet). The study found that patients from fasting and vegetarian diet groups improved significantly in comparison with control group participants who followed their usual diet during the trial. Patients in the experimental group reported significantly greater improvement of their condition compared to the ones from the control group. The author reached the conclusions that fasting and dietary treatment can be a valuable intervention to enhance traditional medical treatment of RA. Therefore, the comparative analysis of the studies leads to the conclusion that although fasting and following year-long diet manipulations had only minor impact on nutritional status of patients with RA, fasting and dietary treatment can be an effective additional intervention in the treatment of RA.
Editorial (1999) article in Rheumatology, an international peer reviewed academic journal that publishes scientific and clinical-epidemiological papers on a broad range of conditions, including musculoskeletal and rheumatological conditions, presented a review of several studies on the effects of dietary restrictions and fasting on RA. The article argues that fasting has been found to have a positive impact on both laboratory and clinical variables reflecting disease activity in RA. The current evidence indicates that while biological processes associated with fasting impair disease activity, exogenous agents, such as food antigens, can initiate RA processes in susceptible individuals. Furthermore, while it is not completely clear what food products are likely to aggravate disease symptoms, several studies determined that guts are involved in pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases. Since the intestinal bacterial flora has been found to be affected by diet, it can alter the intestinal flora and affect disease activity. The article suggests that disease activity in RA can be affected by partial fasting. For example, consumption of spinach, tomato, pork, and beef can lead to disease aggravation.
While dietary modifications (especially various vegetarian diets and the vegan diet free of gluten) were commonly used by patients with RA, there was a relative lack of data from controlled studies to convincingly confirm the effectiveness of vegetarian regimen in treatment of RA. In response to such lack of data, the author conducted a nine-month-long randomized trial to determine the effects of gluten-free vegan diet and non-vegan diet on patients over forty percent of the patients in vegan group who completed the gluten-free vegan diet and non-vegan diet demonstrated significant improvement of their condition compared to four percent in the non-vegan group. Therefore, the authors reached the conclusion that dietary modification can improve the condition of some patients with RA. In summary, the review of studies on the effects of fasting on patients with RA shows that while different authors agree that fasting positively impacts condition of patients with RA, there is no agreement about mechanisms, which make dietary interventions relieve signs and symptoms of RA.
The analysis of the literature on the effects of therapeutic fasting on specific conditions, such as overweight and obesity, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis demonstrates that fasting is an effective and relevant intervention that can significantly improve health of patients who suffer from aforementioned illnesses. While the search for literature to be reviewed helped identify numerous sources that discuss effects of fasting, no credible and reliable sources on the topic of detoxification have been found. Therefore, the review of literature has focused mainly on effects of fasting. Since nearly all the reviewed sources are found in peer reviewed academic journals, the information contained therein can be considered valid scientific knowledge. Thus, presented synthesis of literature can serve as a valuable source of information and guidance for scientific community, healthcare professionals, patients, and others individuals interested in the topic of the presented review. The current review allowed identifying following trends in the effects fasting has on weight loss in overweight and obese patients, patients who suffer from diabetes, and patients with rheumatoid arthritis. First, as the current study demonstrates, there is a demand for alternative, non-pharmacologic approaches to treating obesity, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Second, fasting is an effective weight reduction strategy that can be recommended to obese individuals. Third, type 2 diabetes can be effectively prevented and treated by fasting, adjusting dietary habits, and pursuing healthy eating strategy. Finally, although mechanisms, which help fasting relieve signs and symptoms in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are not completely clear, numerous experimental trials demonstrate that fasting can help some patients recover from rheumatoid arthritis.
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