I have gone on water-only fasts of at least a week's (and up to 21 days') duration for most of the past 30 years (and sporadically for some years prior to that). Initially, I did it because it's biblical and I was a fundamentalist christian, but I discovered that the effects were at least as (and possibly more) positive on the physical rather than spiritual plane, so have continued the practice. For awhile I was kind of obsessive about it, and did four a year, combined with a weekly 24 hour fast (which was boring as hell). My experience is that during a fast, I feel shitty for a couple days while I'm going through food withdrawal, but after that, I get a tremendous mental clarity and feel highly energized (although physically weak). It also seems to reset my taste buds, and eating food is almost orgasmic in intensity and pleasure following one. There is also some evidence that fasting-induce autophagy rids the body of defective cells. I did wind up in the ER with kidney stones once after breaking a fast, and subsequently learned that during lipogenesis, uric acid accumulates (I had a blood panel done after 14 days of fasting, and everything was rock solid except for uric acid, which was off the chart -- see http://www.jbc.org/content/66/2/521.full.pdf
). So now I'm very careful breaking a fast, avoiding all foods gout sufferers are warned against and going easy on quantity until my kidneys catch up with the backlog. I have also learned to add electrolytes to the water to avoid cramping that can get severe. Often I'll combine these fasts with colonic irrigation.
For the past few years, I've noticed an increase in brain fog, which completely disappears a few days into a fast, and returns within minutes of breaking it. Lately I have also suffered from eczema or atopic dermatitis, and now I'm getting vision deterioration, joint pain, stiffness, vertigo, tinnitus, and some IBD or Crohn's type symptom--haven't passed anything but liquid for a month. Just a few days ago I stumbled across some fascinating and possibly crucially important information which may explain these phenomena. There's a guy named Grant Genereux ( https://ggenereux.blog/
). He's a Canadian about my age who suffered from severe eczema and has come up with a theory that it (or any "autoimmune" condition) is really chronic and systemic vitamin a poisoning. That sounds pretty far out, and he's aware of just how unorthodox it is, but he makes a remarkably compelling case. He's not a doctor or clinician of any kind; he's a geologist and IT engineer, so his analysis has proceeded along lines free from any potential biases present in the medical establishment. On his blog he offers free e-books explaining his reasoning, and while they can sound hyperbolic (the title of the first is Extinguishing the Fires of Hell
), if what he's saying turns out to be true, he's not overreacting. Anyway, he was able to completely reverse his condition simply by avoiding all foods containing vitamin a or carotene (which isn't that simple, actually; they're in most foods). He believes that the liver absorbs and stores these compounds until its capacity is exhausted, at which time the toxins "overflow" into our blood and begin to affect other tissues (skin, intestines, eyes, nerves--pretty much anything). Vitamin a may not even be a vitamin--he already debunked the very experiments which determined that it is (which he describes in his second e-book, Poisoning for Profit
). Interestingly, the symptoms for vitamin a poisoning encompass those of various autoimmune diseases. I got about 30 pages into Extinguishing...
before I resolved to try it myself, so I embarked on a fast a couple days ago, and once the brain fog clears and I decide to start eating again, I'm going to abstain from any trace of vitamin a or carotene. I'll know pretty quick if that's where the brain fog comes from, because it has always returned immediately, so if I eat some vitamin a free food, my head will stay clear if that's the cause, and of course I'm also hoping for resolution of the other symptoms plaguing me. Mr. Genereux isn't selling anything, not even the books--the two I've read are around 400 pages each and represent a considerable effort on his part to collect and relate all the information they contain (He's got another on breast cancer, which I haven't read yet). His main goal is for other people to validate his experience, because if his revolutionary thesis is correct, dissemination is imperative. So far, as expected, most medical professionals are uninterested and/or contemptuous. I highly recommend reading his material, and introducing it to anyone with autoimmune difficulties; what he proposes isn't going to hurt people, but may just save them.