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Intermittent Fasting for Autoimmune Diseases

Intermittent Fasting for Autoimmune Diseases

Fasting is a hot topic these days, especially intermittent fasting. There are many benefits to fasting, some of which can include weight loss, reduced bloating, gas, abdominal pain and blood sugar regulation. But for those with autoimmune diseases, fasting can also help to reduce inflammation, especially during a flare. The months between October and January also tend to be the worst for those with autoimmune diseases. The cold temperatures, dry air, viral infections and change in dietary habits can all be triggers for autoimmune flares.

So what is intermittent fasting? In general, it is a pattern of eating that creates longer periods of fasting in between the last and first meals of the day. Because humans have evolved to go long periods without eating, it is thought to be a more natural way of eating. During periods of fasting, your metabolism changes, and you are more likely to burn stored fat. You are also more likely to reduce your immune system response during a fast, which can be beneficial for autoimmune diseases.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

The most common intermittent fasting methods are generally either 16/8 or 18/6. This means that you are not eating or drinking anything other than water for 16 to 18 hours of the day. Your period of eating for those fasts would be 8 or 6 hours respectively. For most people, this means that they are generally skipping a meal during the day, usually breakfast. This can be for multiple days in a row, or periodically throughout the week.

For those doing the 16/8 method, a typical eating period would usually be sometime between 11a – 7p with fasting between 7p and 11a. The 18/6 method is a little more strict, and most people doing this one will usually have an eating period later in the afternoon, between 12p – 6p or something similar.

Other methods of intermittent fasting could also involve pulsing full day fasts. This might look like fasting for a 24 hour period, 1-2x a week. Fasting mimicking diets have also become pretty popular. This involves extreme caloric restriction (500-600 calories) for 5 days a month, 1-3 months in a row (more to come on this in a future blog).

Benefits of Fasting

There are many benefits for fasting. The biggest and most commonly studied benefits are for losing weight and reducing insulin resistance. But there are several studies that show reductions in inflammatory markers. This can be antibodies or other inflammatory markers in the blood stream.

Fasting can also help reduce the severity of a flare for those with autoimmune diseases. It helps to reduce potential dietary triggers. It can also help to increase cortisol, which can suppress the immune system during a flare.

There are other benefits to fasting that can include improving cardiovascular, brain and gut health. Fasting though does change blood sugar and can cause aggravation of some symptoms. The most common side effects of fasting are dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, headaches and nausea. It is important that if you plan on doing any form of intermittent fasting that you work with a healthcare provider that knows your particular health concerns.

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10 Responses to Intermittent Fasting for Autoimmune Diseases

  1. Thank you for these suggestions and benefits of Fasting, but it should be done with professional advice as our all bodies are different and terms should be different for everyone/.

  2. i have been diagnosed with Vitiligo 3 months back & following these steps from 1 & half month & seeing some 10-20 % improvement already.

    i have read a lot of stuff regarding this disease & the aautoimmunity

    As all the scientific articles says vitililgo is an autoimmune disorder (immune response), to deal with any Autoimmune disease there are 5 ways i feel.

    Life style – manage your day nicely with exercise & workout based on your body type.

    Food – Switch to Nutritional & less inflammtory foods i.e. Gluten free, less oil , more vegetables , more fruits apart from Citrus fruits , NO Diary .

    Diet & Timings – Switch to Intermittent fasting starting from 16: 8 to 24-48 hour & make it a habit for long time, it will heal your gut & the disease as well assuming you are following the right combination of Diet , lifestyle etc .

    heal the gut to heal most autoimmune diseases (read about the autoimmune & autophagy )

    treatement -This is very important as NBUVB or ointments can effexctvely control the spread of the disease

    Most important thing is Manage stress !!.. its difficult initially but you need to do it .

    correct me here and guide as my disease is in intial condition please

  3. READ

    I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 1 month after I turned 50. My grandma is 96 and had it since she was in her 20s. I have been on MS HERBAL FORMULA , the first TWO MONTHS was daily and now I am on 3 times a week. It has made a tremendous difference for me. The fatigue never gets to me again. When I do too much, I don’t feel weak anymore. WORLDHERBSCLINIC

  4. Hi, I am following 16/8 IF from last 1 and half years. Avoided Sugar, packed and junk food. My BP and heart beat came to normal (almost 15% reduction). My weight reduced by 8-9kgs with IF only in 6-8 months and 4-5kgs with IF+HIIT fin 2 months. During IF and HIIT , I got my BP Systolic on lower side under 100 and hence got dizziness and weakness during HIIT and during morning wake up. Now implementing IF + Resistance Training for muscle prevention and muscle growth. Lost another 3-4kgs. Now I am seeing Muscle growth during 2 months of training.

    My biggest achievement was , I did 9 day OMAD fasting and got rid of My 6 years old Urticaria /Allergy after 7-9 days during OMAD fasting . Goodbye to my daily Cetirizine dose from past 4 and half months.

    My advice:-
    1) If loosing weight is your goal then , don’t do aggressive calorie restriction, not more than 20% if doing IF alone.
    2) (The Best and recommended) If doing IF + Resistance/ strength training then calorie restriction not more than 15%.
    3) If resetting autoimmune condition then try 3 day OMAD or 5 day OMAD or 7 days OMAD accordingly (with your doctor consultation). Not to forget, have enough calories and nutrition ( have calories more than your BMR requirements) during long fast especially from healthy fat and protein sources.
    4) Don’t loose weight aggressively, not more than 5 lbs or 2.5kgs a month (1.5-2kgs a month is best to go)

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