1. Fasting is the body’s internal nourishment
  2. Fasting metabolism
  3. Toxification and Detoxification
  4. Protein Reduction: an Example of Detoxification
  5. Further examples of Detoxification Processes
  6. Physical Effects of Detoxification
  7. Health Benefits of Fasting
  8. Scientific Evidence
  9. Fasting and Healing – ARTE documentary film
  10. Long-term Benefits of Fasting

1) Fasting is the body’s internal nourishment

Before naming the wide-reaching benefits of fasting, we should first understand the bodily processes which fasting initiates; the pivotal process being the change from external to internal nourishment, also known as fasting metabolism.

Fasting Metabolism

2) Fasting metabolism

Human beings are biologically able to feed themselves during food-shortages from internal reserves of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. In their anthropological evolution, humans developed this survival capability since food was not always readily available.

For the same reasons, many other creatures have developed the same capabilities and for this reason, fasting is perfectly safe when properly conducted. What is fascinating is the fact that, not only does the body cope perfectly with the temporary abstention from food but that this abstention produces health benefits.

These benefits arise from the fact that, in the absence of external supply, the body not only turns to its internal reserves but does so in an extremely intelligently and selectively.

Fundamentally what this means is that what the body needs – it keeps and the consequence is that it consumes what it does not need to keep along with whatever is harmful. Thus the body frees itself of superfluous and harmful metabolites and accumulated toxins (“body slag”).


3) Toxification and Detoxification

The word „slag comes from the metallurgical industry and describes a massive, glassy residue from blast furnaces. Alternative medicine often uses this term to describe metabolic waste products along with other substances that are absorbed in the course of unhealthy life-styles and from eating processed-food additives, taking medicines and exposure to chemicals. Many of these substances are not fully broken-down by the liver or eliminated by the kidneys. As a result, they are stored in body tissues and “clog the system”.

The metaphor „deslagging“ („Entschlackung“) was coined by Dr Otto Buchinger himself and describes the excretion of these waste products via the skin, lungs, intestines and kidneys during a fasting cure. In this context, it simply describes the process of detoxification (“detox”). Thus the health benefits of fasting are due to the body’s need and ability, in the absence of a sustained food supply, to selectively break down stored products;

“selectively” here means to break down those products which the body does not need and which may interfere with normal metabolic processes, while avoiding healthy tissues. Fasting is therefore a method of activating the body’s own healing processes.

Detox and fasting benefits - metabolic waste products


4) Protein Reduction: an Example of Detoxification

On the first fasting day, the body metabolises glycogen reserves in the liver and muscles. On the second day, protein and on the third day, mainly body-fat is broken down.

One might consider the body’s breakdown of protein on the second day as a negative effect since our muscles consist mainly of protein and in principle, fat deposits should be metabolized first. This would be a logical conclusion but this process serves as a good example of the body’s intelligent selectivity: it, in fact, does not feed on healthy muscle tissue but on metabolized and damaged cells.

Healthy cells possess a protection function, activated during fasting, which damaged or mutated cells do not have. As a result, the body uses these defective cells as a fuel supply and eliminates genetically deficient cells which might later lead to cancer.

5) Further examples of Detoxification Processes

The above example illustrates the way defective body proteins are recycled as energy but there are other superfluous substances which the body also eliminates during fasting:

  • left-overs from excessive meat consumption (e.g. collagen in the artery walls)
  • harmful long-chain sugar-protein molecules (which promote chronic inflammation, arteriosclerosis, and ageing processes)
  • defective and aging-related enzymes
  • antigen-antibody complexes
  • excessive triglyceride, cholesterol, LDL in the blood and abdominal fat
  • harmfull concentrations of semiochemicals such as angiotensinogen, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukins as well as hormones such as insulin and oestrogen and coagulation semiochemicals (semiochemicals are chemical messengers such as hormones)
  • pesticides, medicines and heavy metals
  • chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • preservatives, colourants, floavourings and aromatics
  • other artificial additives (n fast foods and ready-meals)
  • fusel alcohol, ammonia, urea, uric acid
Detoxification - Collection of colorful pills

Source: Deutsche Fastenakademie

6) Physical Effects of Detoxification

The reduction of superfluous substances triggers multiple beneficial reactions in the body, of which a few are listed below:

  • reduced blood-sugar and insulin-production
  • reduced blood-pressure
  • reduced oxidation-stress
  • reduction of inflammatory processes
  • reduced triglyceride and cholesterol levels
  • reduced body weight (lower fat content)
  • reduced joint loading
  • emptying of over-filled storage centres (of water, salt, fat and protein)
  • improved immune system
  • stimulation of the body’s self-healing capabilities
  • cellular cleansing through detoxification.


7) Health Benefits of Fasting

The body’s reaction to fasting initiates a number of health benefits. Multiple studies have demonstrated beneficial results in the treatment of nutrition-related illnesses such as heart and circulatory problems, metabolic diseases, cancer, age-related diseases, rheumatic conditions as well as various dermatological complaints. Furthermore, fasting helps to overcome stress and fatigue while improving the quality of life and life expectancy.

Below is a list of some of the conditions which are improved or cured:

  • pathological obesity (adiposity) and metabolic syndrome
  • diabetes mellitus type 2 (insulin resistance)
  • various lipid metabolic disorders (hypercholesterolaemia, med. hyperlipidaemia)
  • chronic neurodegenerative diseases (dementia, Alzheimer’s disease)
  • high blood-pressure (hypertension)
  • gout (hyperuricaemia)
  • various liver complaints (hepatopathy)
  • rheumatic diseases (e.g. arthritis, arthrosis)
  • lymphatic diseases
  • functional digestive problems
  • skin disorders e.g. neurodermatitis, psoriasis
  • allergies, bronchial asthma
Fasting against dementia and Alzheimer


8) Scientific Evidence

The health benefits of fasting have been reported in the literature of many different cultures over many centuries giving rise to an empirical database which cannot be lightly dismissed and which modern medicine is progressively taking seriously.

Prof Andreas Michalsen of the Charité Hospital, Berlin quotes the following example:

“Randomised studies as well as outcome research have established the medical efficacy of fasting. Clinical trials have revealed significant benefits for rheumatic illnesses such as arthritis and joint arthrosis, chronic pain syndrome (pain reduction and improved functionality) as well as high blood-pressure (blood-pressure reduction).”

9) Fasting and Healing – Ancient Knowledge and Recent Research

FASTEN UND HEILEN – Altes Wissen und Neueste Forschung is a documentary from T. De Lestrade and S. Gilman.
Unfortunately this documentary only exists in French and in German.

ARTE documentary from T. De Lestrade and S. Gilman (France, 2011, 55 Min)


10) Which long-term Benefits of Fasting can you expect?

Apart from the direct physical benefits, fasting is the ideal starting point for positive changes to one’s life-style in terms of nutrition, physical movement, relaxation and stress-control:

  • overcoming bad habits
  • changing unhealthy eating habits
  • learning new ways of eating and enjoying food
  • easier move to a hollistic life-style
  • improved well-being
  • enjoying life or joie de vivre
  • to have more time to oneself
  • developing a new relationship with one’s own body
  • enhanced senses
  • discovering what really matters in life
  • the positive experience of abstention
  • the freedom of independence and the art of „letting go“
  • a new outlook on the meaning of life
Well-Being, Fasting-Detox & Health Benefits