Digestive System

Fasting and Detox: Is it a Fact or a Myth?

Trivia:

Did you know that fasting and detoxification are methods used for diagnostic procedures and therapies both in conventional and alternative medicine?

Conventional medicine is the science of treating illnesses using scientifically researched drugs that have specific actions that relieve the symptoms. Some of the practitioners of this medicine include doctors, nurses, pharmacists and many others. Alternative medicine, on the other hand, facilitates healing using more natural methods and approach. These alternative approach is also known as environmental, complementary, holistic, integrative and functional medicine.

atnurse
A Fact or Myth?

Recently there is a dispute between the two methods. Scientific based medicine claims that there is no conclusive result as to the effectiveness of fasting and detoxification except when it makes use of the conventional drugs with proven mechanism of action and efficacy. Alternative medicine, however, postulates that organic and natural is the way to go. Some practitioners also have their own research-based claims that fasting, detoxification and for some with the help of health supplements are indeed effective. They bank on testimonials from clients who experienced positive results.

There are also other conventional practitioners that have created a program where the two methods are combined. Their programs forged scientific and evidence-based methods of therapy using the holistic approach of fasting and detoxification. They also use diagnostic examinations that show actual laboratory findings. All these procedures are done in special health and medical spas that are meant to provide detoxification not just for the body, but for the mind and spirit as well.

The alternative medicine business has grown massively over the last decade, which makes it difficult to decide whether products or services are legit or not. So let us do some de-cluttering and look at the facts.

Facts:

Fruits and vegetables have been the classic source of vitamins and minerals. We have been taught about this fact way back since kindergarten with the food pyramid as the guide.

The US FDA has been using a chart that shows the daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for each food group for a particular age. This means that a healthy diet is composed of all the food groups and not just the greens.

Our bodies are made up of billions of cells that are so minute but are the essential building blocks that make up a healthy body. These cells make use of the nutrients through the process of cell metabolism. However, this process results in the production of by-products called free radicals, which contribute largely to the fast aging process.

Conventional medicine uses FDA approved medicines that have well structured use, action and cure for certain illnesses, but we cannot deny that some of these drugs have harmful side effects too.

Fasting is both a physiologic and spiritual practice depending on your worldview and scientific perceptions.

Fasting is used before surgery to prepare the body for a major procedure and to minimize complications. Detoxification and cleansing is used for alcoholics and substance abusers to cleanse their systems of the toxins.

Now, the question is, do fasting and detoxification really work?

Before I make my own analysis and judgement about this, I would like to clarify that these assumptions I will make are purely personal insights that you can accept or reject and I would respect your opinion about it.

Now here are my insights as a Nurse:

Detoxification and fasting have cleansing benefits in that we deliberately, wean ourselves from the unhealthy sources of food and food products like too much fats, salt and many others.

Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals which are essential to the different cellular processes in the body. They are also rich in fiber that facilitate cleansing on the digestive tract, which is where the nutrients initially enter our body.

Although the nutrients we get from fruits and vegetables do not reach the cells 100%, if we make it a major part of our diet, we store up good food sources instead of bad, which gives us a better chance of living healthier.

Belief as a Practicing Christian:

I do fasting on a weekly basis whether water or liquid or vegetable fast to cleanse not only my body, but also free my mind from stress and tune up my spiritual muscles. It has worked wonders in the last 3 years of my life.

My Advise:

Get a thorough evaluation of your actual state of health. Talk to a healthcare professional and ask whether fasting is for you.

One of the things you need to consider is whether you have a medical condition that will cause you harm if you fast drastically. For example if you have a heart ailment, long-term fasting uses up the protein stored in the muscles of the body, so it will have a source of energy. In these cases, the the heart muscles may be greatly damaged.

If you have diabetes, there could be a problem in the control of sugar in your body. Stomach problems may also be aggravated because fasting can hype up the gastric acids and cause discomfort. These are just samples, so take time to talk to your doctor.

If you decide to get a fasting and detoxification service, make sure to get it from a reliable institution or practitioner or you might only end up buying stocks of their products.

Do your own research of the products you want to try and ask around. You can send me your inquiries too, so I can help you find the answers.

Prepare your body, your mind and your spirit before you commit to a detoxification and fasting program so you will have the best results.

Lastly, observe your body for any symptoms. In case you feel any pain or discomfort, inform your healthcare provider immediately because you might have to discontinue the therapy.

Sometimes, you have to do some trial and error to discover what really suits you and your lifestyle. In my case, I used water infused with lemon and cucumber for this week. Watch for my next post on “Infused Water” and the many ways to prepare them.

atnurse
My Own Concoction for my Recent Fast

 

Resources:
Difference Between Conventional and Alternative Medicine: http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/complementary-and-alternative-medicines/complementary-therapies/main-differences.aspx
Fasting: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/fasting
Inside a Cell: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/fundamentals/the_human_body/cells.html
American Holistic Medical Association: http://www.holisticmedicine.org/content.asp?pl=1&sl=98&contentid=98
Fasting Programs: http://www.anti-aging-plan.com/en/fasting_programs
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