Fast Followup

Recently my LSW* fasted for three days, with medical supervision.

The most amazing thing to me is that the feeling of hunger went away during the second day. Food still remained attractive, but the strong , distracting urge to eat faded.

Blood tests showed that the  “uric acid” level in her blood increased to .07 . Some doctors consider that too high, while others consider it the upper limit of normal. This may show that she drank too little water during the fast. It is typical that the urge to drink also disappears during a fast, and the faster must make sure to drink water.  However, it also is typical that uric acid levels increase during a fast. (This may be because the body recycles fat cells as it uses them, and all cells contain purines, which break down into uric acid.)

She showed symptoms of gout after the fast. Gout is actually uric acid crystals in the joints. Such crystals usually form when the uric acid level is too high. The new symptoms went away after a day of hydration and food.

She broke the fast carefully, as advised, with moderate amounts of bland melon every two hours. By hour eight she was eating small amounts of bland ordinary vegan food.

Before the fats, she ate an “elimination diet” for a month. She did not consume any gluten, nor animal foods, during that time, and halted her medications.

She was very tired during the fast and not a bundle of energy during the preceding month. She did not exercise during the fast.

By the end she had a large loss of weight, around 10% of her weight, and also lost muscle tone.

However, the hoped-for effect on her rheumatoid arthritis turned out quite the opposite. The RA symptoms had worsened slowly during the drug-free time. By the end of the fast, they were quite bad.

A few days later, a dose of prednisone gave considerable relief. Since then, daily doses have brought more improvement. At this point, five days later, almost all her joints were roughly how they were before all this, though the left knee and wrist remained worse. She also resumed methotrexate, and expects to resume Humira soon.

She still is eating the elimination diet, and is moderately exercising the parts that are pain-free enough. As before, she finds that the exercise reduces her inflammation and pain. Her energy has returned to the pre-fast levels. She still is deciding whether to try a longer fast, which would include going drug-free again.

Doctors like Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Amen are advancing medical knowledge and publicizing treatments which have a scientific basis, but, are new and different from what the medical authorities (the AMA) has approved as “standard” practices. But doctors can fall in love with their own ideas, and fail to mention the cases in which their therapy fails or backfires.

And of course, one must be aware that unscrupulous frauds are rampant in the alternative-treatments world. The murderous quack who caused Charlie Sheen’s AIDS to come back springs to mind. People without any scientific background can be taken in by these white-collar killers. In fact, the guy who fixed my siding had been taken in by that very fellow, and excitedly told me that he could cure anything.

The point: pay attention to your symptoms and be your own best friend. But, if you don’t know the science, don’t be your own doctor, and do go to reputable doctors.



  • LSW: Long-Suffering Wife