How You Can Become Recharged through Fasting
By Don Colbert, MD
The word fasting does not get people very excited, but perhaps it should. You see, fasting is incredibly beneficial for your brain, not to mention benefitting your body in many other areas.
For most of my patients, adding intermittent fasting to their routine helped them get the health benefits they wanted and needed. I even had one patient with mild dementia get his job back as a result of intermittent fasting. His brain fog cleared up, and he regained his sharp mental focus after just three months of intermittent fasting.
That was a huge benefit for him! And yet practicing intermittent fasting cost him nothing. It’s free.
Patients often ask me, “What exactly is intermittent fasting?” and “How will it help me?”
Good questions. If you are wondering the same, I think you will like the answers:
Intermittent fasting is going without food between meals, such as twelve, fourteen, sixteen, or even twenty hours. The benefits of intermittent fasting are improvements in brain function, insulin sensitivity, energy levels, and weight loss.
This is where another question comes in: “How does intermittent fasting work?” This is the big one! Knowing the answer to this question has helped many patients “get it” and stay motivated to add intermittent fasting to their daily or weekly routine.
Here’s how intermittent fasting works: The body breaks down the carbs and starches you eat into glucose and stores enough as glycogen to always have about twelve hours’ worth on hand. It is after those twelve hours and before you eat again that intermittent fasting does its work. That is when the amazing happens!
When You Are Intermittent Fasting…
When your body’s store of glucose is used up (at around twelve hours since your last meal), it begins to do what you want and need it to do. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how it works, but the body knows best. We just need to give it room to work its magic. The fact that intermittent fasting helps to address many of the very issues involved in Alzheimer’s and dementia, such as inflammation, insulin resistance, BDNF, nerve cell growth, plaque buildup, and more, is more than enough reason to practice intermittent fasting.
There is one very important benefit of intermittent fasting that needs further explanation because of its specific value for those who are preventing or slowing, managing, stopping, or reversing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
• Your body and brain “clean house” at the cellular level during intermittent fasting.
Do You Have A Plan?
The schedule you choose for your intermittent fasting is up to you. Maybe you will:
• Do the 14/10 plan: fasting for fourteen hours between dinner and breakfast; eating meals in a ten-hour window.
• Do the 16/8 plan: fasting for sixteen hours between dinner and late breakfast/lunch; eating meals in an eight-hour window, which is one of the most popular plans and best for those with the ApoE4 gene.
• Do weekdays: intermittent fasting whatever your preferred schedule; just on weekdays.
• Do every other day: intermittent fasting, whatever your preferred schedule; every other day.
• Do every day: intermittent fasting, whatever your preferred schedule; every single day.
• Do two meals a day: you can choose to eat only two meals a day; the best is to skip breakfast.
While you are intermittent fasting, do drink plenty of liquids. That includes water, coffee (black with stevia), green tea, black tea, seltzer water, and more. Whatever it is, it must be noncaloric and contain absolutely no artificial sweeteners. Whatever the schedule you choose, make it a habit. That will benefit your brain the most.