Fasting — A Powerful Metabolic Intervention That Can Dramatically Boost Your Health

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Posted on: September 27, 2015

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By Dr. Mercola

I hope you all are recovering well from a well deserved holiday weekend in the U.S.  I am beyond excited to introduce you to a remarkable individual who inspired me to implement what I believe is the most powerful metabolic health intervention you can undergo. Although it is the cure for over 80% of the population that has insulin resistance it is also helpful for all of us.  So much so that I have committed to monthly five day fasts and as you read this I am in the third day of a five day fast.

In this interview, George Newman, whom I met while lecturing at a low carb conference in San Diego this past summer, discusses many important details of: multiple day water fasts. Newman has no formal health training. He's an engineer, but he really knows his stuff and talking to him inspired me to re-evaluate my stance on extended water fasting, which I didn’t think was necessary in the absence of obesity, diabetes or some other specific health challenge such as cancer.

“I've had a long and interesting health journey,” Newman says. “Thirteen years ago, I ended up with atrial fibrillation (AFib). In my case, it was brought on by excessive or chronic fitness … At that point I was participating in high altitude long distance races. I was doing fairly intense training.

For example, the Pikes Peak Ascent race, which would start out at 6,300 feet and go to 14,100 feet over 13 miles. It was after a training run that I got my first AFib episode … I had a parasympathetic response, a vagal trigger to AFib, which means that my system … got very slow for a couple of days and that slowness [became] a trigger for my AFib.

The short story of that is I managed, after a two-and-a-half-month episode, to create a regimen for myself that includes a lot of high-dose magnesium, which has kept me relatively in rhythm for most of that time. I did detrain. I don't do chronic long distance endurance exercise anymore. I am still fit (with rock climbing, alpine skiing, HIIT and bodyweight exercise) but I've taken that out of my routine.”

Addressing AFib

As a result of this incident, and refusing to accept the conventional medical wisdom that advocates taking medication or undergoing cardiac ablation surgery, he began researching how to optimize his health. AFib is a condition where there’s increased or aberrant electrical activity in the atrium, the smaller chamber of the heart.

Essentially, the chamber contracts erratically and isn't able to sync with the ventricles in a proper 1-to-1 ratio. AFib is a fairly common problem among endurance athletes. While there’s a genetic component, endurance exercise raises your risk by putting undue stress on your heart. Your heart is actually designed to work very hard in short spurts, not continuously for long periods of time. That said, extreme athletes are still a relatively small subset of people who get AFib. Most are...


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