Fasting (2017) Movie Script

(dramatic music)
- [Female] Conventional
medicine didn't really play
much of a role in my
healing and in the end,
actually what healed me, how
I healed myself was through
a combination of eating
really high quality foods
and the combination of not eating at all.
We're looking for the quick fix.
We're looking for that magic
bullet and this is probably
as close to an easy,
simple, free magic bullet
that ever existed.
- [Male] I got more
mobility change in two days
of water fasting than I did
in three weeks of therapy
and my therapist, last
Thursday, my fourth day into it,
he says, "What are you doing?"
(upbeat music)
- The advice we give to cut a few calories
is a complete failure.
- If you compare a population
of people who never dieted
to a population of people who diet,
the dieters end up
weighing significantly more
than the non-dieters
five or 10 years later.
So we need to find new solutions.
- When someone does fasting,
it's very different than when
someone simply cuts calories.
- So when you fast,
you can look at studies
and you will see that
the basal metabolic rate
does not go down nearly as much
as the calorie restriction.
- There's always a sweet
spot for everything.
If you fast for too long, we will say,
if you got out more than say even 10 days,
your metabolism will slow and
that's what happens to people
if they try to cut calories
for a very long period of time.
Their metabolism slows and
when you start re-feeding,
you will regain the weight
and regain it very quickly.
- There's a difference in fat.
The fat that you carry around the waist
is much more dangerous for you.
This study was just published last year.
So if you look at truncal
fat mass calorie restriction
versus alternate daily fasting,
fasting was six times
better at getting rid
of the dangerous fat.
- My plan is to do a seven day fast.
In nine days, I've lost 18 pounds.
- I went seven days and
I've lost 20 pounds.
- I thought no way could I go this far
and not be hungry.
- Lots of people noticed
the past couple days
how thin that I look already.
I'm on day 21 of my 21 day
fast and I've lost 33 pounds.
- Your mind is more clear.
- You're actually gonna be more alert,
you're gonna have more
energy and more time.
- We've been skiing for three
hours and I haven't eaten
for six days and I feel plenty energized.
Woo Hoo!
I feel like I'm almost on
vacation by not eating.
- The ancient Greek mathematician,
Pythagoras, in fact,
he required his students
to fast before they came
into the classroom otherwise he thought
they wouldn't be smart
enough to figure out
what he was doing.
- So my mind feels as
good as it's ever felt.
- When you look at fasting,
it's gonna give you
the ability to do all those
things at a higher level
than you've ever done them before.
- A lot of people ask me,
"How do you stay so fit at 44 years old?"
And I quite simply look
'em in the eye and I say,
fast before fitness is the ticket.
- You're activating your body,
the sympathetic nervous
system, noradrenaline,
and growth hormone all
go up during a fast.
You actually can workout
harder than you've ever done.
- I've always worked
out on an empty stomach
in a fasted state.
- The challenges about
fasting is that there's
a lot of misinformation out there
and there are several different types.
- Whether you are talking
about an overnight fast
or you're talking about a 24 hour fast
or you're talking about a
five day or 10 day or 20 day,
people and journalists
and everybody likes to use
the same word, right?
And this is very confusing
because each turns on
a completely different process.
- This is happening now
in practices like mine
all over the country and in the world,
people learning and hopefully
will all communicate
and one of the beauties
of a film like this
is that it will bring
attention to the whole concept
of fasting 'cause so many
people know nothing about it.
(upbeat music)
- For the last 50 years,
we've told people,
eat six meals a day.
Eat the minute that you get up,
within 30 minutes of getting
up and make sure you eat
a bedtime snack so you don't get hungry.
The problem is when you start
eating the minute you get up
and don't stop eating until
the minute you go to bed,
you're constantly telling your body
to store food energy, right?
And you can either, only either
store it or burn it, right?
You can't do both at once.
- And even now, many personal
trainers and nutritionists
will tell, try to eat something
in every two to three hours
you are awake and if we
are awake for 18 hours,
then that's a long period of eating.
- The whole problem is
eating all the time.
So the very word itself, breakfast,
is the meal that breaks
your fast and it's actually
a very interesting word
because what it means
is that fasting is a
part of everyday life.
It's something you need
to do every single day
because it's the flip side of eating.
It's just the B side of eating.
There's nothing scary about fasting.
So if you fast for 12
hours and eat for 12 hours
or eat for 10 hours and fast
for 14 hours, for example,
you'll stay in balance and guess what?
That's what they did in 1960's America.
You can look back at surveys
and the average number of meals, 1977,
is three meals a day, right?
So I grew up in the 1970's.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, nothing else.
Guess what?
They're eating white bread.
There's no whole wheat pastas, right?
They're eating Oreo cookies.
They're eating ice cream but
there's very little obesity.
Now you go to 2005 and the
survey, the (inaudible) survey,
which is a large American
survey of a lot of things
including dietary habits,
says that we're eating six times a day.
So, again, look at my son's schedule -
breakfast, mid-morning snack,
lunch, after school snack,
dinner, oh, hey, he's playing soccer,
there's snack between
the halves of soccer,
six times a day, every single day.
So he's giving his body
instructions to store fat
every minute of that waking
day and then we wonder
why is he gaining weight?
Well, there's no mystery.
You're eating all the time.
- We would never even
consider starting to cook
until 7:30 and we'd usually eat around 8.
- We might get home and eat
at eight or nine o'clock
and have a big meal at
eight or nine o'clock.
- And it was a grazing after
dinner that was going on.
- It's a length of time
that you let your body
kind of burn that food that you've taken.
That's basically it.
You're giving your body time to digest it.
- If you have them continue
their same type of food intake
and about the same number of calories
but you shrink that eating time down,
they will lose weight and
they'll feel satisfied
and they won't feel miserable
because we didn't put them
on a 1,600 calorie diet.
- I've not necessarily eaten well.
I've been overweight,
sometimes up to 200 pounds.
- Like everybody else, I've
gained a pound or two a year
since I was 30.
- About three years ago,
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
My A1C was over 14 and I
had no idea that it was
out of control the way that it was.
I knew that I'd probably had
it based on the symptoms.
So I just tried to control
it with diet, medication,
but in the end, it just
wasn't working for me,
what I was doing so I decided
it was time to switch doctors,
got a recommendation to
Dr. Julie and it kinda,
she rocked my world.
- First came upon that
study, Dr. Panda's study,
it was very easy to understand.
It's so elegantly done
that someone who's not
in high level research
could understand this paper.
- Big gnarly study with a lot of detail,
tons of charts and graphs, big words,
I'm back and worth with Wikipedia,
took like four hours to
get through that study.
- They embrace the information
because it's something new
and it is a void in most
people's knowledge base
in terms of nutrition and
diet and it does sort of
dispel this myth that you
need to eat before bedtime
or you need to have protein before bedtime
to build muscle mass.
- So on the flight back to the west coast,
I read it again for 4 hours.
It was on that flight that
I said, I gotta try this.
- So the simple experiment
that we did was we took
exactly identical set of mice --
- One group was eating ad libitum.
So they got to eat their
food throughout the day
whenever they wanted to eat it and there,
both these groups are
on a super size me diet,
like that guy from that movie.
- I started with a high fat
diet because there are 11,000
research papers published so
far where animals or humans
are given this fatty
food and this fatty food
causes different diseases
starting from diabetes, obesity,
liver damage, cancer, and IBD,
inflammatory bowel disease,
et cetera.
- The lean mouse, without a doubt,
became obese, gained weight.
The lean mouse that was on
the time restricted regime
actually stayed lean and that's really
what caught my attention.
- So even though they eat
the same amount of calories,
at the end, the time
restricted mice are lean
compared to the ad lib fed mice.
- And they could stay progressively fitter
and all they had to do
was change when they eat,
not what they eat.
- Your body needs a daily
fasting period and that
eating erratically and kind
of eating all over the day
takes away from our body's natural rhythm
to say this is when we
eat, this is when we rest,
and it's hitting a manual override button.
- We work with a circadian rhythm.
Our bodies are on a clock basically
which is aligned with the 24
hour rotation of the earth.
- The circadian rhythm
and turning on and off
of more than 10,000 genes is
the largest regulatory network
that we know that exists in human.
- Circadian rhythms in
the liver, the pancreas,
and the fat cells get
tremendously disrupted
when you eat late at night or when you eat
for more than 12 hours during the day.
- So if the liver clock
tracks when we eat,
then forget about light/dark,
what we have to be more
careful about is when we eat
and when we fast.
- And we have to stay in beat with earth
in order to be healthy.
So we really should stop
eating by 7 P.M. at the latest
because their pancreas goes to sleep.
- Just before you wake up,
somewhere around 4 A.M.,
growth hormone, adrenaline and so on,
all get pumped up.
You're basically activating
yourself for the day.
So for all those people who say oh,
you have to get up and eat
because you're not gonna have energy,
like your body has already prepared you
for everything you're gonna do.
You don't need to do it again.
- [Michael Voiceover]
And so during the day,
we need to be able to go out
and hunt and get our food
and do all those kinds of good things
so we need access to energy.
We need to be able to
metabolize energy quickly
and we need to be able to make
sugar as quickly as possible
and we also need to be able
to oxidize fats for energy.
- So at night, we can't
absorb the fat and the salt
and the sugar.
Your body just takes it and shoves it
right into a fat store.
- In the evening once
we get ready for bed,
our body switches to another
mode and the circadian rhythms
for processing energy go down
and the circadian rhythms
that help with the repair of
the body, finding cancer cells,
renewing all of the bodily systems kick in
and those are the
strongest during the night,
immune system function, et cetera.
If you eat during the night,
you disrupt all of those
mechanisms and so not only
are you predisposing yourself
to diabetes and obesity
and hypertension,
but you're also predisposing yourself
to a pro-inflammatory
condition throughout the body
which makes it easier
for cancer to take hold.
- If you're trying to repair a highway,
you have to stop the traffic.
So similarly our body cannot repair itself
if we continue to eat.
- The body makes less insulin
so for the same sugar load
that you would give
yourself during the day
that would not cause your blood
sugar to rise significantly,
for that same sugar load after
about seven or eight o'clock
at night will cause a significant
rise in your blood sugar
mimicking the effects of diabetes.
- It was a study that came
out in a neurology journal
that found if you were
giving artificial nutrition
in the hospital,
that patients did better
if you didn't give it
around the clock.
They gave the nutrition
in a shortened time frame,
they're connecting the
person back to the day cycle,
they have a better outcome.
- Just having weighed myself this morning,
two months now have
gone by and I've dropped
somewhere in the neighborhood of 29 pounds
just with Dr. Julie.
- It wasn't hard to do because it was just
a small habit change that
I had to ask them to make.
All they had to do was
apply this shortening
their total time of eating during the day.
Hi, Nina!
- Hi, Dr. Julie.
- How are you?
Good to see you.
- Good, how are you?
- Good!
Thanks for coming today.
So we're gonna go over your
bloodtest, is that right?
- Mm hmm.
- And you had them drawn already.
- Mm hmm.
- Perfect.
So when I have people come
in and they'll tell me,
"Oh well, my parents
have high blood pressure.
"So that's probably why I have it."
It's not always a genetically
inherited problem.
It's possibly a lifestyle
inherited problem
because we carry with
us the type of habits
that our parents brought us up to have
and if late night eating
and indulging slightly
on the weekends was
something that we saw them do
or that we were allowed to do growing up,
we're gonna carry that habit with us.
- And that first night was a struggle.
I remember getting off
my plane down in Burbank
and getting ready to take
an hour and a half drive
to Santa Barbara and thinking okay,
where am I gonna stop to get
something sweet for the road
and I went wait, it's past six o'clock.
- [Julie Voiceover] And I
found that the first week
was very uncomfortable.
I mean, I went to bed with
hunger pains and that's all
I could do to stay on this time
restricted eating time frame
was to go to bed early so
that I wouldn't feel hungry.
- [Male] And Dr. Julie
had given me the advice
that the first two weeks
were going to be very hard.
- [Julie] After about a week,
those hunger pains completely went away.
- [Male] And she was right
but I was glad she shared that
because it prepared me.
- And then after that, it was no cravings.
So it was really strange
but cravings for food
later in the evening just went away.
Your liver tests look fantastic.
In fact, they were lower
than they were before
the previous time.
- Okay, I'm glad. (laughs)
- Yeah.
So your fatty liver is
completely reversed.
You have totally normal liver enzymes.
- Okay.
- And you did it purely
by just lifestyle changes.
Within a couple of months,
you can have a reversal of fatty liver.
You can start seeing blood sugar changes
in less than two months.
I mean, it's like better than medicine!
Debra has a new patient to me.
- But my concern is that
I've been told I should take
blood pressure medicine to
control my blood pressure.
- Her one fear was being on
a blood pressure medicine
for the rest of her life.
- Yeah, I think it had gotten
in the 150's and 160's.
- And her blood pressure was running
in the hypertensive range so
she was running over 140's.
- Just didn't like the side effects.
I was falling asleep at the wheel.
- And she was given the
recommendation of trying
to just restrict her eating
time to about 11 or 12 hours
and two weeks later she came in
and her blood pressure was
normal, 120's to 130's systolic.
- My blood pressure read, I
don't know if you have it there,
it was 126 over --
- [Julie] Over 70.
- Yes, it hasn't been that for awhile.
- It was beautiful!
And she came in again a few weeks later,
and her blood pressure was normal again.
It's like your daily medicine.
These medical conditions,
we should be thinking about
them as really symptoms, right?
I mean, it's really
not a medical condition
because it's totally reversible.
You noticed a sleep
improvement with adopting
this lifestyle change over
some of the other things
you had tried before.
- And a much sounder sleep.
- Yeah.
That's interesting 'cause I
hear people bring that up to me.
Potentially, she's not a
hypertensive patient any longer.
- [Female] I located Dr. Julie Wei-Shatzel
and I said I really, really
need to get this weight
under control.
It's out of control.
She said,
"Would you be interested I
participating in a study?"
- Trying to do now is expand the study.
The original study was done
in 150 adults in San Diego.
We are now running a worldwide study.
We have almost 9,000 users.
- She explained to me about
the circadian clock app.
- Now with the launch of
this app, My Circadian Clock,
we have close to 10,000
people who have downloaded.
- And I downloaded his app.
- And so I went through the
process of taking pictures
of the food that I ate
everyday and then also
making sure that I fasted
for a minimum of 12 hours
each night with dinner
being at six o'clock.
- First two weeks we ask
you to log everything
you currently do and then at
the end of those two weeks,
you get a summary of
everything that you've done.
It's kind of shocking to
see how much you forget
and when you look back and
have the hard evidence,
it's really helpful.
- Using that app is really, to me,
much more useful than
using something like Fitbit
because you're going to
maximize your circadian rhythm
and all of your organs
run on circadian rhythm.
- I think one of the exciting
things that we've seen
is that people are pretty
able to adapt to this style.
If you say, you can still
have that piece of cake
but you just can't eat it after 6 P.M.,
people are a lot more open to that
and they'll adjust when
they eat their types of food
and say, okay, you know what?
I can have it in the morning.
- Within about eight months
of about a 12 hour
fasting window everyday,
I found that my triglycerides had gotten
well below any number I had
been able to achieve previously
and I also found that
my A1C had also fallen
to the lowest point it had been in years.
- I realized so much benefit so fast.
In the first 90 days, I lost 11 pounds
and in 180 days, I lost 16 pounds.
I'm trim anyway.
I was 153 pounds when I started.
As I got through that, I wrapped
myself around the mantra of
don't change what you eat,
just change when you eat.
So I actually might've
started eating worse
and so (laughs) I could've
confounded the study a little bit
by eating worse because
I felt like I could eat
whatever I wanted and I
was getting good results.
I wasn't dieting.
So after that study, I met with Satchin
and I asked him about that
and he kind of chuckled
and laughed and said, "No, Bill,
don't eat whatever you want
"but do control when you eat."
- [Female] My blood pressure was elevated.
I was on medication
for high blood pressure
as well as for cholesterol.
The past year, since using
time restricted feeding,
I have actually, I've lost 20 pounds,
my blood pressure is excellent
and I'm no longer taking
a statin drug.
- Implementing time
restricted feeding is an easy
first step to take.
It has no cost, it has no side effects,
and it feels so much better
than taking medication.
- In 2004, I decided to
take a personal challenge
and I was gonna try a triathlon.
I tried a half Ironman.
So that's a 50 mile bike
ride, a 1.6 mile swim,
and it was a 12.1 mile run.
My performance has degraded over the years
to where I'm doing just sprint triathlons.
That's 1/4 of that half Ironman.
You would've thought that
I would've progressed
to actually doing the full Ironman.
So I haven't.
Well, it turns out that
I have a cardio condition
where my heart beats super
rapidly and irregularly
but what'll happen is,
it'll beat at 250 to 300 beats a minute
and it's like a boat
cavitating a propeller,
it doesn't bite and so there's
no blood pumping through
my heart and I get all
lightheaded and I might pass out.
It can happen anywhere
and so I've progressively
been doing shorter and shorter
distance triathlons.
At the end of the study,
it was allowing me to
run longer and harder,
to ride farther and
faster and to swim longer
and more smoothly and so I
felt like this next triathlon,
I'll see how I do and I
went ahead and I signed up
for the Olympic, that's
a double sprint triathlon
and so the interesting short of it is,
no cardiac problems, completed
the Olympic triathlon.
- If you can just implement
that first portion of it,
then the rest of the healthy
changes will come along.
- When you put the mice on the treadmill,
very well like you would
do for a human treadmill,
they run much longer when they are on
time restricted feeding
than the ad lib fed control,
suggesting that there is
some cardiovascular benefits
to time restricted feeding.
- I'm up in the morning,
I feel like I'm alert quicker
than I have been previously.
- I would say that obesity
is probably the single major
largest challenge in America these days
in terms of overall health
and chronic disease.
- The category of people
who are very obese
and they're not necessarily
consuming significantly
more calories.
Oftentimes, these people
have some difficulty
sleeping through the night
and so if they're getting up
later in the evening or
early in the morning,
they'll just go and have a snack.
They'll have something to
eat or something to drink.
That actually increases
their total eating time
to much greater than 15 hours.
In fact, they may be
eating 20 hours a day.
- Flying back on the plane,
I'm reading the study,
I'm starting to understand
what's going on.
There was a third group of mice
that was really interesting.
They had a control
group that was five days
on the time restricted feeding
regime and two days off
and so the idea is that might mirror
our five day working schedule
and our two day off schedule.
- So I wanted to try
whether you could party
on the weekend.
So I had one group of mice that were only
on time restricted feeding
during the weekdays
but then they would have full
access, so 24 hours access,
to foods during the
weekends so we called this
the 5T2A regime for five days
on time restricted feeding
and two days of ad lib
starting on Friday night.
Good news is there's no
difference between being
seven days on time restricted
feeding or only five days
on time restricted
feeding at least in mice.
So if you're mice, you
can party on the weekend.
- All of healthcare
should be embracing this.
We should be using this.
- [Michael] We're really not
telling people what to eat,
we're telling people when to eat.
I think that this could
give us an excellent way
to initiate a long-term
and effective treatment
for obesity.
- Even if you eat healthy
foods after 7 P.M.,
you actually push your body,
you push your pancreas,
your beta cells, and you
actually become more inclined
to develop pre-Diabetes and Diabetes.
- When we compared the
high fat diet fed animals
and the ones that were on
time restricted feeding,
there was a massive difference.
Basically the ones on
time restricted feeding,
they don't have this Type
2 Diabetes problem anymore.
- From what I've seen,
when someone adopts
time restricted feeding,
that's all they need to do.
That's all they need to
do to completely reverse
this hyperglycemia,
to completely take them out
of this pre-Diabetic state.
I had one woman who was running
pre-Diabetic for two years.
We had her follow time restricted
feeding for a few weeks
and her blood sugar came back normal,
absolutely normal.
We tested her again a few months later
and her blood sugar was again normal
as well as her hemoglobin
A1C and that hemoglobin A1C
is a marker for your blood
sugar over the past three months
and so for her, the burden
of developing Diabetes
was completely lifted.
She didn't have to worry
about that disease entity anymore at all.
- Diabetes is completely off the chart.
Metabolic syndrome is off the chart.
We can't solve that
with drug interventions
but a cultural change where
we learn to eat in that window
where we were at before,
that seems kind of doable.
It's the kind of thing
that a group could start,
you could teach children in school,
we could observe that at
home, we could walk the talk
and that might make such a big difference
on a national scale that it
actually moves the needle.
- If physicians are more
involved in helping people
make this lifestyle change,
I think it will be an
overall cost savings for the,
just medicine in general
because we're going
to be spending less on medication.
We're going to be
spending less on disease.
You know, that super size me guy should do
his whole routine again,
he should do his whole eating
that super size me diet
but under a shorter time frame
and I wonder if he'd have
all those health effects.
(upbeat music)
- What we're doing here
is really reversing
all of Type 2 Diabetes
and all it's downstream
complications with fasting.
- I've worked with Jason
for 17 years in nephrology
and we were just watching our patients die
from Diabetes essentially,
watching them get more and more obese,
watching their blood sugars
get worse and worse and worse,
their medications go through the roof.
They're on like two or
three pages of medications
and every time we saw a patient,
they were on more and more drugs.
- And I was basically holding their hand
as they had their heart attacks,
as they went on dialysis, as
they developed kidney failures
and strokes.
- That's how we got into
this in the first place.
It was really disheartening
to watch people die
before our eyes.
- So one day, I was talking to a friend
and she was talking about doing a cleanse
and I realized that really
what she's talking about
is a fast and I thought, wow,
that's a really stupid idea
but then I thought for a second, okay,
well this was my initial
reaction and most people
have that same sort of
eye-rolling reaction
to the word fasting and I thought,
okay, but I'm a physician.
What exactly is it that's
so bad about the fasting?
Because she actually had
pretty decent results.
She always says she feels better,
she doesn't feel hungry
and I thought okay, well,
that's very interesting.
So then I started to look at the fasting
and I thought why not?
Like why not have people fast?
I mean, what honestly is
more obvious than fasting?
If you don't eat, your
blood sugars will come down,
and you no longer need
your diabetic medications.
Hey, that's great.
If you don't eat, you will lose weight.
Hey, that's great.
Where's the downside?
- [Megan] Ann's hemoglobin
A1C was so high that the lab
couldn't detect it.
- Groups like Alcoholics
Anonymous and Weight Watchers,
they're all group based sessions.
- [Megan] So Ann, can you
tell us about your first fast?
- They're not individually
counseling sessions
because you're losing a very important
support structure there.
- Yes, Dr. Fung said seven or 14 days.
- So that's one of the
lessons we've learned
and we've gone to these
kind of group sessions.
- In the beginning,
it's a pain in the butt to get over that,
the first two day hump
and then after that,
it's really easy.
It seems really easy like I
can't believe I'm not eating
so I stopped at 10 days.
- Since then you haven't touched insulin.
You haven't needed to.
- No, if I went Monday, Wednesday, Friday,
but then you're going
through those hunger pains.
You know, like where
your stomach's growling,
you feel like you could,
ravenous like you could eat a horse, yeah.
- [Megan] What reading
did you get this morning?
- I got down to 6.4 in the morning.
- Nice!
So I started intermittent
fasting about five years ago.
Within six months I had
reversed my hemoglobin A1C
from 6.4% to 4.6%.
I was diagnosed with fatty
liver disease when I was 12.
In six months, no more
fatty liver infiltration.
Another thing that I was
diagnosed with when I was 14
was polycystic ovarian syndrome
and I would go to the
hospital all of the time
from cysts rupturing and
it just being so painful.
You couldn't bare it.
About six months into fasting,
everything sort of regulated
and when I saw another
specialist later on, my OB,
and we started talking about
it and she said, Megan,
when was the last time
you had a cyst rupture?
And I said I don't know.
I don't remember and I
said I know my periods
are regular now and so she
sent me for an ultrasound
and everything anatomically,
there was no sign of
polycystic ovarian syndrome,
none at all, which is pretty mind blowing,
my progesterone hormones
and all my fertility stuff
and it was fantastic.
It was so much better than
it was when I was a teenager
and my early 20's when
I had measured those.
So fertility for me is not
really gonna be an issue anymore
and I spent most of my life
thinking that I wouldn't
be able to have babies.
They actually saw me improve
so I think that's how we
got some initial success
in how our program
really started to snowball.
People just didn't want
to die from Diabetes.
- But I was walking with a
cane, I wasn't breathing well,
I was, I had put on 130
pounds with the insulin.
- The patients come back to
me with incredible stories.
- I was talking 210
units of insulin a day.
I did the 21 day fast and I
haven't had insulin since.
I've lost close to 100 pounds.
- So everyday I come in,
almost every single day,
I come in and I say, wow, Mr.
So And So or Mrs. So And So,
look, your numbers are such to the point
that you are not classified as diabetic.
That is amazing.
- It saved my life, is what it did.
- [Megan] You're off the Coversyl too
for your blood pressure.
So you're off of everything.
And around her waist she
has lost 27 centimeters.
- Sometimes people find
that when they fast,
that a lot of these cravings just stop.
- Energy is unbelievable.
As I said, I was walking with a cane.
- Gotta treat everybody as individuals
and that's what we do.
So we see all different regiments.
We use all different regiments.
- I stop eating at about
seven in the evening
and after that it will be
just liquids until dinner
the next day.
- Avocado, slice it up with
two eggs and I will eat that
maybe about 10 o'clock in the morning.
I do not eat again until maybe three,
four o'clock the next day.
That is almost (inaudible),
I don't even feel hungry.
- We can tailor it to people's needs.
If you need it for weight loss,
then I can give you something
that's gonna do weight loss
but you only wanna do it
for say overall wellbeing,
mental clarity, well, I'll
give you something different.
- Sometimes seven days.
It depends, okay?
When I feel that it's more comfortable,
then I will take longer one.
- And the key rule and
especially for the elderly is
if you don't feel well, stop, let us know,
let's re-evaluate.
- I have a dinner or lunch,
then you have to keep
36 or 24 hours fasting.
That's what I prefer.
- But the financial benefits
are actually just mind blowing
because think about it, you
have Type 2 Diabetes, obesity,
you've got all kinds of costs.
- I had a new consult a
couple weeks ago and he said,
"I watched my grandparents
follow the guidelines
"and I watched them die.
"I watched my parents
follow the guidelines
"and now I'm watching them
die and they're gonna be dead
"20 years before my
grandparents and look at me now.
"I'm Diabetic, I have fatty liver disease,
"my eyesight's going to hell,
I don't want this to be me.
"Clearly what they're doing
and the method of treatment
"that these physicians are having,
"had my grandparents follow
"and are having my parents
follow don't work."
- You've got your medications,
you've got surgeries,
you've got heart attacks,
very expensive, strokes,
You've got stuff, you need
to pay for nursing care,
you need to pay for nursing homes.
So an incredible amount
of cost all built in
to take care of these sick people.
- I watched my family
die from heart disease.
I watched my grandmother
die from Diabetes.
I watched my mother suffer from Diabetes
following the guidelines to a T.
It doesn't work.
Clearly something is broken
there and I think people more so
than a lot of physicians
understand that science
needs to evolve.
- Well, what if you could
get rid of all that for free?
For free.
Like that's just unbelievable.
Then you'd have money to fight poverty
and you'd have money for
education at the same time
that everybody's healthier
than they've ever been
and the crazy part is that
it doesn't require anything
but the right knowledge which
has the potential to save
like our entire nation's budget.
- Having that diagnosis
of borderline Diabetes
and being told by my
family doctor that 6.4%,
that was scary.
I've had cancer and the
diagnosis of Diabetes
being delivered to me
was so much scarier to me
than the cancer diagnosis
'cause at least with cancer
there's a shot.
With Diabetes, it's a death sentence
and it's a long, painful, slow,
progressive death sentence.
- People sometimes say the
three most influential people
in the history of the world -
Jesus Christ, the prophet
Mohammad, and Buddha -
probably only agreed on one thing
and that was the power of fasting.
(angelic choir)
- Fasting is an essential
part of our Christian faith.
Christ taught it by his own example.
He also commanded his disciples to fast.
When they were trying
to help other people out
and they weren't so successful, he said,
these problems are only
resolved by fasting and prayer.
- The scriptures teach us
that there are some things
you cannot do if you don't fast.
Miracles, some miracles,
cannot happen without fasting.
- Fasting is such a personal experience
for everyone who fasts and
when it's coupled with prayer,
it changes our life.
- I truly believe that fasting
can change people's heart.
- In the scriptures from ancient
times to the present day,
we read about those who fasted
and in the process of fasting,
they changed.
- I was living in Peru
and I made the decision
to go to my mission.
My father didn't want me to go.
It was for safety reasons.
The country had a lot
of terrorism problems.
So when I went to talk
to my sect president,
he counseled me to fast and to
pray and then to talk to him.
So I did, I fasted and I prayed,
and then I went to talk to my dad.
We cried together and he told me that,
he will let me go to my
mission and that I would
have his support.
(inspirational music)
It's very meaningful to me
because it was regarding
my mission to serve
and because of it, my life changed.
- It brings me closer to God.
I feel spiritual strength coming to me,
temporal blessings come from it.
Graduating from high
school I wanted to know
which of the two colleges I should go to
that I had been admitted
to and I really wanted it
to be the right place and so as I prayed,
I determined fasting would really help me
and so I fasted.
At the closure of my fast, as I prayed,
it was very clear to me the
choice that I should make.
- We believe that it is
beneficial both spiritually,
physically, and in fact, it
has a humanitarian benefit
when coupled with helping the poor.
- A greater compassion
for those who are in need
and a greater desire to serve
them comes from fasting.
- We learn from the
ancient prophet Isaiah,
that God introduced fasting
to the children of Israel.
He even said, "This is the
fast that I have chosen,"
and then goes on that it's
purpose is to deal bread
to the hungry.
- We fast once a month
for a period of 24 hours,
two consecutive meals.
- The monies that are saved from that fast
are donated to the poor to
help them with all sorts
of humanitarian needs.
- Not enough money to
pay the electric bill,
they don't have the food
necessary for their children,
for clothing, et cetera,
to help them get themselves on their feet
so they can come self-reliant.
- Every person has the opportunity to fast
and even the poorest among
us sometimes will fast
and give what they can in order to help
their brothers and sisters.
- There are seven billion
people in the world.
If we all did this, we
would end world hunger.
(dramatic music)
- We're at the sight of the Donner party.
There were over 80 individuals.
They ended up in Truckee
Meadows on Halloween of 1846
and it was right around this spot
where they got completely snowed in
and it wasn't until the spring
that rescue parties came.
You can see the monument behind me,
you can see the immigrants
are standing on a platform
that is 22 feet high.
That is how deep the compacted snow was.
It got to the point where
they took all the bones
of the animals and boiled
them and boiled them
and boiled them 'til they
were reduced to fragments
about the size of my pinky fingernail
and these I have seen directly
because we excavated them
in 2004.
There were thousands
of fragments that size
and they were boiling
them to extract collagen
which was the only
source of energy in bone.
Some of the stories
about the Donner Party,
it's heart wrenching.
I mean, these mothers did
some unbelievable things
just to keep their kids alive.
They started utilizing a
little bit of human flesh
and that helped sustain
at least half of them
until the rescue parties
came in the spring.
When it comes to cannibalism,
when the body starts
breaking down, shutting down,
one system at a time,
eventually you reach the
point where you'd do things
that you ordinarily would never consider.
Once the body is starved of nutrients,
once it's utilized muscle,
bone, and fat stores,
then things start shutting down.
The organs of high growth priority,
they are maintained until the end
and you might be able to
imagine what those would be.
The heart continues to
beat, you need that.
The lungs continue to
inhale and exhale air,
you need that and the
hind and the midbrain
continue to function because
they control breathing
and respiration and everything else
but interestingly and this
is what surprises people -
the sequence that things
start shutting down.
When you say you would
never eat human flesh,
that is because you've never
been faced with that dilemma
because starvation basically
impacts the rational part
of the brain and the cerebellum,
the part of the brain
that focuses on survival,
that's still going, the limbic system,
but the part involved
in thinking is not going
so you have to have
been there to understand
what these people went through.
- So I pretty much started
with very turbulent teen years.
I was 14 when I first
moved in with my boyfriend.
I was heavily into the
kind of drug party scene,
like drinking a lot of alcohol,
all that kind of stuff.
I spent a lot of nights up
partying in bars with fake IDs,
drinking, not eating properly,
subsiding on processed food,
eventually developing
septicemia when I was about 16.
It started from a really
bad case of pneumonia,
about 24 hours later I was in the hospital
on intravenous antibiotics for
swollen menages of the brain,
septicemia, multiple organ failures,
and severe chronic disease.
My chances of survival
were actually only 40%.
Something changed and it
was probably a combination
of everything that went on but I remember
leaving the hospital and
I wasn't the same person,
like any happiness for life was gone,
I was very apathetic and depressed.
I seemed to be really
struggling to believe
in a positive future for
myself and self-conscious
and a lot more introverted.
All of this sort of made me focus on,
made me begin focusing on
what I felt I could control
which is what I ate, how I
looked, how other people saw me
and I think I used obsession with my body
and controlling my intake
as a way to be accepted,
feel connected to the
world and the environment,
to be a part of something,
to feel home somewhere.
(train clacking on tracks)
I remember looking in the
mirror and hating my body
and judging it so harshly.
So I had a lot of different
health conditions,
my main conditions,
I was dealing with
autoimmune thyroid disease,
extreme hypothyroid and a thyroid goiter.
It was actually very difficult
to swallow and eat food.
I had gastroparesis so
really slow stomach emptying
and chronic stomach
inflammation and gastritis,
probably from years of an
eating disorder and antibiotics
and all that stuff as well.
I had really bad irritable bowel syndrome
and chronic inflammatory bowel disease
so I was bloated all the time,
a lot of pain in the bathroom
more than anybody should be,
and my most painful condition by far
and what actually prompted me
to start my YouTube channel,
what I really focused on at the beginning
was one of the top three
most painful conditions
that exist and it was
intrastitial cystitis.
So it's a chronic ulcerative
bladder disease and it's,
the symptoms are a lot of
urgency, burning, pain,
but you have no life really.
You're kind of housebound
and living in your bathroom
in a lot of pain.
This is where I lived for two years.
I was a prisoner in my own bathroom
and I had my identity stripped
by my eating disorder.
I really didn't have a life at all.
- I think the problem is
when you do this fasting,
basically you're simulating
the same kind of situation
that impacted the Donners
and if you take it too far,
it's exactly what I was saying before -
the body starts shutting down.
- Anorexics fast all the time.
I mean, some people may justify fasting.
If they have an eating
disorder they may say,
well, look, fasting is fixing all these
other medical problems,
we know that eating disorders
are medical and biological
if we're talking about
a brain based disorder.
Maybe fasting will fix my eating disorder.
Well, anorexics fast all the time,
it makes their disorder worse.
Bulimics purge food in a number of ways -
self-induced vomiting is the
one that people think about
or misuse of laxatives
which actually does nothing
to get rid of calories, by the way,
but the other thing that
bulimics do to purge is fast.
So both bulimics and anorexics fast
and it makes their disorder worse,
it does not fix it.
- We did see that in the
archeological record.
Bulimics, remember in Rome
they had the vomiteria,
where they would eat and gorge themselves
and then they'd go throw up.
- Yeah, I think that the
Romans and the vomitoriums
that they would have was sort
of a different phenomenon.
That was much more of a social activity
where people would go and
overindulge on purpose
and then they would vomit
in order to continue
to be able to do that.
Patients with bulimia where
they would binge and then purge
often by vomiting,
they find that both the
binging and the purging
to be highly shameful.
They will go to great lengths to hide this
from their friends,
their family,
it's not something they feel
comfortable doing in generally,
in public.
- I remember the first
time I actually purged
and it wasn't with intents.
I literally had eaten
what I thought I shouldn't
after a long time of anorexia,
after many months of
really starving myself
to the point of insanity,
and I remember I was so hungry
I just couldn't, I gave in,
it was like a physiological
survival urge I couldn't ignore
and I was so anxious while
I was eating that I felt
such an upset stomach,
like it felt like I was
doing something so wrong
and afterwards, I mean, I
ate until I couldn't breathe,
like I couldn't control
myself, I was like,
my body needed it and then,
I felt so worried and panicky
that I was going to gain
a ton of weight,
destroy everything I had already done,
I sort of came in the bathroom
really frantic and scared
and I sort of leaned over the toilet bowl
and I was so painfully
full that just the act
of leaning over, I mean,
food practically came up itself
and it was so painful coming up,
it was like fire lava
just shooting out of you
and at the same time I was
flooded with a sense of relief
like it was, it was like I
could get rid of all the shame.
I could get rid of all
the pain in my life,
I could just get back
to the way I was before
and then I would feel
really panicky and shaky
and I would wonder if anybody heard me
and I would be afraid
that I smelt like vomit
and I just felt really
dirty and really disgusting
and I wanted to pretend the
whole thing didn't happen.
So I would rush over to the sink
and just put so much
toothpaste on my toothbrush
and I was so afraid I
had like splatter on me,
I just felt so disgusting I guess,
on such a deep level and
then I would sit in the bath
for a long time and I would
just run the hot water
over my hands and splash my face
and just feel really
ashamed and embarrassed
and hoped that nobody ever knew that I did
because it felt like the
most despicable thing
on planet earth.
- When the recovery battle
began, I was 145 pounds and 6'3"
and now I stand today at 188 pounds.
I just have maybe an inferiority
complex, if you will.
I was bullied as a young kid and going up
through high school and
it always made me angry
and it made me mad and it felt like
if I could work out harder
and if I could watch my diet even tighter,
that's a way to get back at everybody
and it caused me to have
very bad social anxiety.
It just led me to a life of isolation
because I was afraid that I
was going to eat something
that was unhealthy or I was afraid
that I was going to smell
something and want it
and not have it and I
would feel massive anxiety
so I would just talk
myself out of not going
to these places.
So I came home for Thanksgiving one year
and my brother handed me this packet
that said orthorexia on
it and he threw it at me
and he said, "You have this."
- You're in the upside down all alone
Running from the monster beyond
- Orthorexia is a condition
where you take things
to the extreme.
I specifically remember
tracking my calories
and burning approximately 1800 a day
and consuming only 1400
and if ever a day came
where those numbers were reversed,
I would get so depressed and angry,
it was unbelievable and
I had to super compensate
the next day to make
sure that I was burning
more than I was consuming.
One of the things that
happens when you have
an eating disorder is you
go into this specific type
of depression where you
just don't find pleasure
out of things anymore.
- It's like a dream passing
through a shrouded fable
I've died before but not again
- The only thing that
I really found pleasure
out of was exercising in huge amounts
and working out really hard
and restricting my calories
and seeing how far I can
actually push it or stretch it.
My emotions were all over the place.
To say life became a struggle
is putting it lightly.
I wouldn't go as far as
saying that I was suicidal
but I definitely had given up on life
and I did not want to live another day.
I literally would pray
that I would go over
to the streets of Manhattan
in the afternoon to work
and I would get hit by a
bus going out of control
or get killed in gang warfare or get shot
or stabbed to death.
I would have to say my lowest point
was when I was contemplating jumping
into the East River in Manhattan.
At that moment I just
started thinking about
my mom who was back home living by herself
and a lot of my close
friends and I was wondering
if they even would care 'cause I didn't
and then my phone rang at
the very moment I stepped
onto that rung and it
was my friend, Jessica,
back home in Pennsylvania and
it's ironic how timing works
in this life but it couldn't
have come at a better time
because she basically talked
me down off of that handrail
and I went and sat down at a bench.
The root problem was I
was so mineral deficient
and I had such a lack of food in my system
that I just wasn't thinking properly.
It never really was about food per se,
it was more about my interaction
and relationships with people,
good relationships were fine.
Ones that were a little
rocky just kind of like
triggered me like that
and I would basically
take everything out on food and fitness.
When I began this
journey back to normalcy,
it was not easy.
It was not an easy road.
I had to accept the fact
that I was gonna gain
some weight back.
I was 145 pounds, I was 6'3"
and I was totally zeroing in
on 140 and that's how I worked.
I would always go in five pound increments
and to me those were huge victories.
- Any food restriction is
problematic for somebody
who has had an eating
disorder, is currently,
actively trying to get
over an eating disorder,
who has a family history
of an eating disorder.
It's likely to send you
back into an eating disorder
if you have a history of it.
- For me, fasting has
actually been a remedy
in my healing process and
I feel that it has helped
my relationship with food.
One of the things that
works so efficiently for me
to keep my eating disorder in
check is eating in windows.
I feel like I don't have to
put as much thought into food.
It kind of basically
takes my mind off of food.
So I become more relaxed
and because of that,
it improves my relationship with food.
- You don't see too many old fat people
and there's a reason
because being overweight
is definitely hard on the system.
I'm a bit overweight and
I'm worried about it.
I might even look into this
fasting myself (laughs).
- There's essentially two forms of fasting
that are being advocated currently:
the intermittent fasting
which is essentially intermittent feeding
in which you narrow the feeding windows,
you may restrict calories on
one or two days or more a week.
These can be done safely
often in an outpatient basis
but medically supervised
water only fasting
is a little bit more complicated.
It does require supervision.
It does require a contained
environment in order
to ensure a safe and effective experience.
So when we talk about the
long-term water only fasting,
that's done at facilities like
the True North Health Center
where people are able to
undergo physical exams,
laboratory monitoring,
being in controlled and
contained environment
and in that type of a setting,
fasting can be done,
even prolonged fasting,
can be done safely.
It's also important
that fasting be applied
at patients at the right time.
In other words, there are some
people who have conditions
where they would be better
off with a different approach
than fasting.
Fasting may be too vigorous
or may be inappropriate
because of complications
with medical management
or at least until medications
can be withdrawn, et cetera.
So fasting has a wide
range of applications
but where it does it's
best work is in dealing
with conditions that are caused by excess.
So conditions associated
with dietary excess
include things like obesity,
high blood pressure,
and other cardiovascular related
disease, Type 2 Diabetes,
a host of autoimmune
diseases and even some forms
of cancer like lymphoma seem
to be intimately with our diet
and lifestyle choices
and so it makes sense
that where dietary excess
is a contributing factor to the problem,
fasting may be a helpful means
of rapidly giving the body
a chance to reverse the
consequences of dietary excess.
- In 1994 I had a head injury
and when I regained consciousness,
I had a terrible headache
and prior to the accident,
I had been a practicing dentist.
So because of the nerve
damage to my hands,
I also had to quit practicing dentistry.
I sought medical advice to
get rid of the headache.
I visited with several neurologists.
They were unable to help me.
I also tried some alternative treatments -
acupuncture, cupping -
unfortunately, nothing
was able to help me.
I had a headache everyday
for 16 years, 24/7.
It just never ever went away.
So the neurologist told
me that the reason I had
this never-ending headache
was because the dura mater,
the leatherlike covering of
the brain and the spinal cord
had been torn and had become
inflamed and then when I saw
on the True North website that a number
of the health conditions that they treated
were based on inflammation,
I decided to call and see
if maybe their treatment
of water only fasting
would be helpful to me.
- At the True North Health Center,
we take a rather clinical
approach to fasting.
All patients are
carefully screened by both
taking their history as well
as reviewing their previous
medical treatment.
- He was very honest in
saying that they had never
treated a patient with
this particular problem
but he thought I might have a chance.
When I initially came to True North,
they asked me how long I wanted to fast.
I didn't know I had a choice in that.
I just thought they would tell me.
- Fasting protocols here at
the True North Health Center
can range anywhere from five to 40 days
depending on the patient
and how they respond.
Not everybody or not every
condition has a stereotypical
amount of time that's associated
with its optimum outcome.
- And I told him I was going to fast
until one of three things happened:
either the headache went away
or I could not fast any longer
or all of the doctors
got together and said,
for my own safety, I
needed to quit fasting.
People have wondered at my
commitment to water only fasting
but you have to remember
I had been in serious pain
every minute of the day for 16 years.
I had tried everything that
traditional western medicine
had to offer,
I had tried alternatives.
I also knew there was a
very good chance that I was
going to live to be an old lady.
We have longevity in my
family and other than this
never-ending headache,
I really didn't have any health problems
and I did not want to be 80
years old one day thinking,
what would've happened if I'd
gone to that True North place?
I wanted to try everything
that was possible
to get out of pain.
So I started fasting, the
doctors come in twice a day.
- They're monitored twice
a day by staff doctors
during their fasting experience
where we're taking vitals
and monitoring their conditions.
- To check on you, to make
sure you're doing well,
and everyday it was the same question -
how are you doing?
And everyday for 18 days
it was the same answer,
I didn't have any change.
I still had the headache
but then on day 19 I woke up
and I thought uh oh, something's wrong.
I didn't know what it was
but it was really scary
because something was wrong and I decided,
I'm not moving out of this
bed until I figure out
what it was and I've got to
say it took me about a minute
to realize what was wrong is
I didn't have a headache anymore.
I had forgotten what it
felt like not to be in pain
and that lasted for about five minutes
and then I went down to tell Dr. Goldhamer
and if possible I think he
might've been more excited
than I was.
He kept saying, "It's
amenable to treatment.
"It's amenable to treatment."
So I went through that whole day wondering
because the pain had only been
gone for about five minutes,
then it came back and I wondered,
I wonder if this will
happen again tomorrow.
The next morning I woke
up and I had no pain
for about 10 minutes
and everyday thereafter
I had a little more time without pain
but almost even better than
that was during the afternoon
and evening my pain was decreasing a lot.
When I first got to True North,
they asked me what my pain
was on the zero to 10 scale
and my answer was,
"It's about a six to an
eight all of the time
"with the exception of those rare moments
"where it kicks up to a 10
when I truly could not move,
"when it would stop me in my tracks,"
and after day 19 and the pain
started to reduce over time,
it finally got to the
point in the afternoon
where I was down to a one or a two.
You just can't imagine
what a blessing that was
and finally on day 41 I woke up,
I had had a whole day without pain,
the doctors wanted me
to quit and I was ready
to quit fasting.
So on that day, I had
a full day without pain
for the first time in 16 years.
Dr. Goldhamer explained that sometimes
it takes more than one
fast to solve a problem
and it turned out that
happened with me as well.
When I started the re-feeding process
which is a very careful re-introduction
of food after fasting.
I started to get some
twinges of pain on and off.
So after two months of re-feeding,
I went back to Dr. Goldhamer and said,
and at the time I couldn't
believe I was asking
to do this again but I said,
"I need to fast again.
"What do you think?"
and he said he thought
that would be a good idea
since I had had good
results on the first fast
and I said, "Great, I'll
start again tomorrow,"
and he said, "Oh no, you
can't start fasting right now,
"you've only been
re-feeding for two months,"
and I said, "Well, what's the problem?"
and he said, "You need to rebuild
your nutritional reserves.
"That's very important,"
and I said, "Well, how
long will that take?"
and he said, "With the length
of fast that you've done,
"probably at least six months,"
and then six months to
the day after I ended
that first fast,
I started fasting again,
again, not knowing how long I would fast,
and I just kept fasting until
all of the pain was gone.
It turned out it was another 40 days
and then I started to
re-feed and at that point,
I didn't have any pain but I had worries
that it would come back
but I just kept following
the doctor's recommendations
about what to eat,
how to eat and it finally
dawned on me one day
that that headache was
gone and that was in 2010
and I haven't had a headache since.
(dramatic music)
- Well, I found out
about True North through
one of the talks that Dr. Goldhamer
gave to our medical school
and I remember seeing him
and thinking, I definitely,
definitely need to do an internship there.
- We have an opportunity
for doctors to train
in the use of fasting.
We have about 30
clinicians a year that come
from medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic,
and naturopathology.
As part of their rotation,
they're able to do rotations.
We're a ND residency site for
the naturopathic profession
and those doctors come
in and spend a year.
We've recently completed, for example,
a fasting safety study
which shows that fasting
can be a safe and effective
means when it's done properly.
- The conclusion was
that water only fasting
in a medically supervised
facility such as True North Health
using the True North Health protocol,
because we didn't compare
any other protocols,
is relatively safe.
- We're actually very
excited because we see
a wide range of conditions
that tend to respond
to this approach and now
we're in a position finally
with the help of our nonprofit
True North Health Foundation
to begin to document those results
and present them in a way that I think
both clinicians and scientists
will find acceptable.
- What the foundation
is now doing is turning
that into accepted, peer
reviewed published research
and so we're doing the
human subjects research,
bringing people in to look at how fasting
changes biomarkers in the
blood, taste and adaptation,
different studies.
So we'll actually have published material
that we can show people and
people will start seeing fasting
as a modality of healing that
really does amazing things
and has been for millennia for humans.
- For example, in the treatment
of high blood pressure,
we did a study with our colleague,
T. Colin Campbell from Cornell University.
We took 174 consecutive patients
that had high blood pressure
and we put them through
a period of fasting followed
by a whole plant food,
sugar, oil and salt free diet.
Of the 174 consecutive patients
with high blood pressure,
174 people lowered their pressure enough
to eliminate the need for
medication and in that study,
we were able to
demonstrate and effect size
of over 60 points average
drop in stage 3 hypertension.
That's the largest effect
that's ever been shown
in treating high blood
pressure in humans as far
as I'm aware of.
Essentially if you have
high blood pressure
and you undergo fasting and
make diet and lifestyle changes,
you have an exceptionally high likelihood
of being able to normalize
your blood pressure
and if you're willing
to do really dangerous
and radical things like
eat good and exercise,
go to bed on time,
you have an excellent chance of being able
to maintain those results.
- The reason I stayed after
my residency at True North
is because you see that
on an everyday basis here.
You don't have to be
here for years in order
to understand the profound
effect that water fasting has.
(slow pensive music)
- [Alan] If someone is going to fast
for a day or two,
most people in the United
States are going to have
absolutely no issues with that.
We have plenty of fat
reserves, we can do that.
It is important to make
sure that people are getting
adequate amounts of fluids during that
because dehydration can be very dangerous.
- I think what's happening
right now is that
a lot of people are improvising.
- If someone's going to go
and say, as you mentioned,
a 21 day fast.
That is something that
I think should actually
be monitored that people are doing well.
- So fasting and re-feeding
cycles are extremely powerful,
probably more powerful than
a powerful cocktail of drugs
and so when you eliminate the doctor,
you eliminate the registered dietician,
you eliminate something that
is being clinically tested,
you're now really putting
yourself in a lot of,
in a very dangerous position
and it could be that
it's not very dangerous to you today
because maybe your immune system is fine,
you're not taking any other
drugs but maybe two years
down the road you try it again,
now all of a sudden
you're immuno suppressed
or you have a viral
infection or you're taking
a drug for Diabetes or
you're taking another drug
and now together they
become very problematic
like the infection now could
become a lethal infection
or the insulin.
Now we know some of the people
that have died in clinics
that do fasting have died
from a combination of insulin
and fasting.
So something and even when
I talk to diabetologists,
endocrinologists and they
say, "Your patient could die."
Immediately their answer is like, come on,
it's not possible.
These are doctors, right?
These are experienced doctors.
They don't realize how
combining drug with fasting
can turn to very innocuous
things into something
that can even be lethal.
For example, metformin, very
safe, very widely utilized,
well metformin happens to be
a gluconeogenesis inhibitor
and guess what?
Fasting requires gluconeogenesis.
Now, you take a blocker of gluconeogenesis
and something that requires to survive,
if you don't have gluconeogenesis,
gluconeogenesis refers to
the liver making new glucose,
if you block it on one
side and you require it
on the other side,
you can see you have a
very problematic situation
and now think about the fact
that 100 million Americans
are either diabetic or pre-diabetic
and so all of them are eligible.
So one American in three or
so is eligible for metformin
and pretty soon will be on metformin.
You see how now the
combination of fasting,
or the improvisation with fasting
could be extremely dangerous.
- This was the scariest thing
that I've ever experienced
and I really thought that
I was gonna lose my life
at one point.
(dramatic music)
I decided to do my 35
day extended water fast
in a fasting clinic outside of Canada.
I was fasting alongside other people,
about 30, 40 people I
think we were in total,
and there,
it turned out actually that
there was a significant issue
with the water and so even with that,
even with poor quality water,
everybody at the center
from what I witnessed
did really well in general
up until about three weeks,
so up until about 21 days and after that
things sort of started to go down south,
not just for me but for
numerous other people as well.
By about day 26, I was really,
instinctively I felt a
powerful urge to end my fast
and I ignored that urge
and my ignoring that urge,
I got really sick.
My roommate almost got raped.
There was a guy with
psychosis who slit his wrists
and had to be rushed to the hospital.
It turned out he had
hyponitremia so it's where
your sodium levels crash so much
that your potassium levels skyrocket
and you actually go
into a mental psychosis.
One girl was so dehydrated
she went to the hospital
and had to be on IV and
the other girl almost died.
I felt helpless.
I felt sort of desperate and
terrified, like terrified.
There was a woman who was there
and her mother came to the center
and was terrified because
her daughter had been so ill
and dehydrated and she
had all the symptoms
of renal failure.
I felt certain that she was
gonna die and I remember
being up all night thinking
this poor girl came here
to save her own life, to heal, and repair,
and she literally almost died.
(dramatic music)
Her mother took her to
the hospital against
our fasting supervisor's
directive and she was told
that she was in such bad renal failure
and so dangerously
dehydrated that she was,
they weren't sure she was gonna make it.
What I discovered a little bit late
is that it's very important
to research a fasting facility
and make sure that you're
in the care of people
that really can medically supervise you.
Make sure everything's okay.
When things turned for me on day 28,
I was really fearful for my life.
(foreboding music)
I actually snuck in to
use a computer at a time
when we weren't supposed to.
(foreboding music)
And I wrote messages to
personal people in my life
like telling them that I wasn't
well and that I was afraid
that I would lose my life
and that I felt more unwell
than I had ever felt.
Because I fasted too long and
didn't get appropriate care,
I think what ended up
happening was I had a lot
of health problems.
I had something called moon face,
extreme inflammation in my face.
In my whole body I had
edema and water retention
from how dehydrated I had been,
how off my electrolytes were,
weight gain, I gained a lot of weight,
about 30 pounds actually
or 28 pounds in two weeks!
As soon as I started eating salt,
even small amounts of cooked food,
it took me two years of eating regularly
and nurturing my body
and trying to tough out
all of these symptoms,
I now, two years later,
am finally completely
feeling like myself again.
I look like myself again.
Fasting needs boundaries.
I almost killed myself through extremism
with my eating disorder and
all of my misuse of food
and then I healed myself
through the right modalities,
finally brought myself back
to health with moderate
and balanced intermittent
fasting, juicing,
eating healthy, developing a
healthy relationship to food,
and then took it a step
too far again (chuckles)
and did extremism and almost died again
with my long water fast
and making myself sick
for an additional two
awful years only to then
find balance again to
finally again go back
to a moderate way of just
intermittent fasting,
getting the benefit without extreme.
Fasting needs boundaries.
(upbeat music)
- This is the brilliant part
of the fasting mimicking diet
is that at the Longevity
Institute they did research
for many, many years and
discovered how to use food
to fly under the radar
of what we call mTOR,
the detection of food.
So you're actually eating
food, so your body sees food,
but your brain sees fasting.
- The NCI, the National Cancer Institute,
gave us the funds to
do that and we came up
with a fast mimicking diet that
is as effective as fasting,
as water only fasting.
- It's five days but
the five days of eating,
the fasting mimicking diet,
gives you the same benefits as if you did
a complete water fast, nothing
but water for four days.
- And we call it fasting
with food which is
a fast-inating or fascinating concept.
L-Nutra in 2016 launched Prolon,
the very first fast mimicking diet,
and Prolon stands for
promoting health and longevity.
- I first heard about Prolon
when I asked Valter Longo,
Dr. Valter Longo, if I could
interview him for my website
where I write about healing naturally
from inflammatory disorders.
We had this wonderful
conversation about how
his fasting mimicking diets
can turn over up to 40%
of white blood cells in the immune system
which is fantastic news because
for people with the disorder
I had which is the reason
I left CNN and the BBC.
I was working as a journalist in war zones
for about a decade until I got really sick
and I couldn't work anymore
and I devoted myself
to blogging about this,
about these conditions.
(horn honking)
Tried the five day fasting
mimicking diet, the Prolon.
My first round of Prolon
was pretty amazing.
It was the first time in my life
that I had had complete
relief from my symptoms
of mast cell activation.
Just absolute and total
remission of symptoms
just so quickly and it lasted
for about a month I'd say
which is, I've understood that
I need to do it once a month.
I was diagnosed with a
very rare, only 10 to 20%
of all cases are this type of cancer,
with a very rare and
very, very aggressive,
it's called triple negative breast cancer.
Coincidence (laughs), I had
just arrived in LA, thankfully,
because I was told that I
could join a medical trial
for their new fasting product
which is called Chemo Leaf.
- And they're looking
at it in cancer patients
to improve the efficacy and
safety of chemo therapy.
- Fasting we find that
mice and probably patients
become protected against chemo therapy
and the cancer cells instead don't,
when you just use fasting
cycles, usually at least in my,
fasting cycles are as
powerful as chemotherapy
but it is the combination
of fasting and chemotherapy
that is really effective
and that's where we see
20 to 60% of mice becoming
cancer free in response
to the combination and this is true
for many different types of cancers.
- That was a number that
made me think, okay,
so I am, I'm gonna do both
especially when I was told
that it would protect my
body, my immune system,
and I just thought I
really can't pass that up.
The amazing thing is that
I have this pre-existing
inflamatory condition, the
mast cell activation syndrome,
which means that part of my immune system
is kind of on the fritz
and it's these cells,
the mast cells, are constantly
releasing inflammation
into the body and so, consequently,
we're really susceptible
to allergy type things.
There's nothing more allergy
inducing then chemotherapy
which is why they give you
steroids the day before,
the day of and the day after
and then maybe everyday
after that depending on how you react.
Let me tell you, I went
through one cycle out of eight
without the Chemo Leaf because I fasted
and then there was a scheduling
mix up at the hospital
and I wasn't able to do
my treatment that day.
So the difference between the
time that I went without it
and the time that I went,
the times that I did the Chemo Leaf,
I felt myself going into shock
while I was receiving the chemotherapy,
that time without the Chemo Leaf,
and I firmly believe
that I was okay the other
times because my immune system
was being protected.
All the genetic testing
that I did revealed
was that my tumor had
certain characteristics
that respond to fasting which is amazing!
So I can actually switch off
the genes that were expressing,
the troublesome genes that
were found in my tumor,
that were driving the growth of the tumor,
are turned off by fasting.
The reaction of most
people when you tell them
that you're going through
chemotherapy is absolute horror.
Nowadays, we have
medications that can handle
the side effects, people are on steroids,
they're on two or three different
kinds of antihistamines,
they're on medication to
stop them from throwing up,
they're on medication to help them sleep,
they're on medication,
they're on beta blockers
to block the adrenaline
because they're having so much anxiety,
they're on Xanax, stuff like that.
I didn't take most of what I was given.
I was kickboxing for an hour
at a time, three days a week.
I was doing yoga.
I was standing on my head,
I was doing headstands.
I was almost doing acro-yoga.
I was running up to 45 minutes a day
but the cycle that I
didn't do the fasting,
I struggled to exercise.
I maintained my weight
throughout the whole thing.
People keep telling me
things happen for a reason
and it's kind of what
kept me going through
the whole cancer thing
and thinking, (exhales)
I need to tell everybody
about the fasting.
I need to tell everybody
because I think it's gonna
save sanity.
I think it's gonna save lives.
Sometimes something is so life
changing that you can't help
but want to shout it out to absolutely
everybody you meet because
what you experienced
was so profound.
- One of the problems with fasting
and fasting mimicking diets
are what you're essentially
selling is nothing.
You're selling the idea that
your body can fix itself
if we remove all of the outside stimuli.
So monetizing that can
be a real challenge.
Getting people to care and
invest money in something
where essentially the benefit
is other people get better
is the ultimate goal but it's
not a very good business model
for the most part.
That's one of the
challenges in getting people
to care about this is
how, what's in it for me?
- It's a little tricky.
What do you do with drugs
and it should be handled
by people that spend a lot of time,
so I encourage anybody that's thinking
about a clinical trial to contact us
and have our contribution in developing
the clinical protocol for the trial.
The fasting mimicking
diet has been published
in the top scientific and medical journals
such as Cell, Cancer Cell,
Cell Metabolism,
JAMA which is the Journal
of the American Medical Association
and Science Translational Medicine.
- Recently published just a few months ago
a major paper in Cell showing
that fasting mimicking diet
some five to six cycles
are able in mice models
to reverse Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
This is the first time in
history that the reverse
of Diabetes could be done and, again,
it's due to the stem cell rejuvenation.
The stem cells in the body,
when the body is starved,
they actually specialize in
beta cells in the pancreas
and allow the pancreas
to reproduce insulin
and decrease glucose in the blood.
- Beta cells in the
pancreas are rejuvenated,
- There's nothing in medicine today
that can induce these effects.
- We think it's a very old program
that is not that different
from what happens
when you cut yourself.
So you cut yourself and within a few weeks
everything goes back to
almost a perfect state.
So the body really knows
how to repair itself
is that probably fasting
has always been used
as a way to get rid of bad
cells, turn on stem cells,
regenerate for tens of thousands of years
and now in the last 100 years or so,
we eat so much all the
time and most patients
that we talk to have never
gone more than a day or so
without food.
- So it turns out that
once you get to about
the third day of not having any food,
then your body has to go into action.
- After two days either on a complete fast
or a fasting mimicking diet,
now the body starts really entering
a starvation response mode.
- The body then starts
shedding elderly cells
and cells with DNA damage
because these are consuming calories,
they're not doing their job right though
and then the body starts
pushing the stem cell,
the young cost effective
from (inaudible) cells
pushes them to actually replace those
and now you have new cells
in the body replicating
and taking action.
This is what we call
part of the rejuvenation
in the body due to the consecutive
or longer period of fasting,
what we call today prolonged
or periodic fasting.
- In terms of stem cells, you
will not stimulate stem cells.
You won't get brain derived
neurotrophic factor increase
unless you fast for at
least three to four days.
- You need to realize that
stem cells are the repairmen
of the body.
They're all over your body
and they're constantly working
to repair little bits of
damage that happen everyday
but think what would
happen if those stem cells
stopped doing their job
and that's what happens
in a lot of patients
who really aren't living
a healthy lifestyle,
is those cells can get hurt
and they're not doing their job
so injuries stack up.
In 2004, I was reading an
animal study on a rabbit
that showed that you could
take Mesenchymal stem cells
and regrow a disc.
Obviously that caught my
attention 'cause we had
a lot of back pain
patients with bad discs.
So I sought out some
researchers that were using
Mesenchymal stem cells to treat injuries
and they were doing it in horses
and so we ported that over to humans.
So, today, we've published
50% of all of the patients
in the world literature
who have been treated
with stem cells and who
have orthopedic problems.
What we can say at this
point is that the environment
that your stem cells are in
can have a dramatic impact
on their ability to grow, proliferate,
and do what they're supposed to.
That environment can be affected by diet,
it can be affected by exercise,
it can be affected by medications.
- Everything in the body
has multiple functions,
multiple sites of action.
So when you give a drug
that you think is working
in one site,
it's working and doing
things all over the body
in ways that we may not even comprehend.
That's why when you
look at pharmaceuticals,
the list of side effects are
huge and often including death.
If you've watched television
and you see the commercials
from any of the pharmaceuticals,
they actually show people
having a wonderful time
and then they say, and by the
way, this drug may kill you.
That is one thing that does
not happen when you eat
the right foods,
when you exercise, when you
incorporate periodic fasting.
- So what we found was that
high blood pressure medications,
cholesterol medications,
these are common things taken by many,
many different Americans but
they hurt their stem cells'
ability to grow and culture.
So that's not a good thing.
If you think about the
fact that these medications
are impacting your body's own stem cells
and their ability to maintain
and repair that body,
that's a big problem.
So as an example,
we've treated lots of patients
through the years with
tendinopathy due to taking a
specific type of antibiotic.
- I literally became debilitated.
I had shoulder pain, neck pain, leg pain.
I could barely walk.
I even had a hard time breathing.
Two of my discs had completely
herniated into my spine.
I really felt I was dying.
- Now this is a known problem.
They'll take this antibiotic
'cause they have a common cold
and the next thing they know,
they're in chronic pain
all over their body.
Because that particular antibiotic reduces
the stem cells ability in their
body to repair their tendons
and we all get tendon
wear and tear everyday
that needs to be repaired.
So one of the things we started realizing
is that when we were
going to use the patient's
own cells to try to repair something,
we had to have patients
clean up their lifestyle
including their diet.
We make sure that they're
fasting when they come in
because we know that fasting can increase
the body's ability to help repair itself.
- For the next several
weeks after each time I do
a fasting mimicking diet,
I end up with significantly reduced pain
in all of my joints.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome.
That's one of my niches.
I deal a lot with hormones.
If you take an unhealthy
woman and you trick her body
into getting pregnant,
often it will be rejected
and if it's successful,
it's not usually very successful
because she often will have
very severe complications
later on towards the end
of pregnancy like high
blood pressure and toxemia,
pre-term labor, a lot of Diabetes,
many, many complications in these women
when they do not get them
healthy but trick them
into getting pregnant.
So then she came to me and she just said,
"I've tried the conventional route.
"I've spent thousands of
dollars trying to get pregnant
"and I've heard that there's
this integrative approach.
"So what can you do to help me?"
She did everything I asked.
So she had a large breakfast,
she had a medium lunch,
she had a tiny dinner.
She didn't eat after 7 P.M.
She began exercising.
She ate no processed foods.
She did everything right.
Then after a month, I put her on Prolon.
After three cycles, she got pregnant.
That was almost a year ago
and she recently delivered her baby.
She has a beautiful, healthy baby.
She's in her late 30's now.
She's been trying for all these years.
- Depending on the therapeutic use,
you have to really
understand this and use it
to your advantage.
So, for example, when we do
it for metabolic syndrome,
Diabetes, and cancer,
we do between four and five days fasting
together with various therapies.
That's sufficient.
When we look at auto immunities
instead we go to seven days.
Why do we do that?
Because we now wanna do more
destruction of damaged cells.
The auto immune cells in this case.
So if you do a shorter fast,
you're not really gonna benefit that much
because you don't have
enough time to destroy
the damaged cells and also
you have less rebuilding
using the stem cell.
So this is why it's so
important to understand
the mechanism behind it
and for each purpose,
really using a different
fasting base intervention.
- I was working on a
documentary for the BBC,
What if We Could Stay Young Forever?
We were looking at diet
and exercise and lifestyle.
I met Dr. Valter Longo
to talk about his work
and it was at the time
he was preparing for his clinical trial
and suggested that I might like to be
one of the volunteers in that trial.
So the trial involved what is known
as a fasting mimicking diet
over five consecutive days
and that was repeated three times.
- One of the things that
our large clinical trials
have shown is that at the very least,
we know that fasting
mimicking diets are safe
for the average person.
- Probably the number one
thing that I noticed is
is weight control.
- The past year I have
prescribed the Prolon diet
to about 120 or 130 patients.
A lot of them come to me
saying I tried all the diets
and I can't lose weight.
Well, I tell them, well
let me prove them wrong.
Let's try this diet and you will see
that you will lose weight.
All of them have lost weight.
- The other things we saw is that
you do have to train the body.
It's a little bit like working out.
If you just do this once for five days,
you'll get a lot of the benefits:
quite a bit of weight loss,
a number of other metabolic
markers may be affected as well
but you will eventually return to normal
if you make no other lifestyle changes
over the period of the next
several weeks to months.
If you do this consecutively
for three months in a row
of five days at the
beginning of each month,
we see that you maintain a
much more significant amount
of benefits over a much
longer period of time.
- I find Prolon to be a
breakthrough in the care
that I give to diabetics.
- Ideally, once a quarter is about the,
what appears to be the kind
of set point to keep that
sort of cellular muscle tone, as you will,
to keep the body in the,
in shape for nutrition.
Dr. Longo actually did
a study where he did
two groups of mice,
one group ate,
they both ate the same total
calories during the study,
one group had fasting mimicking mixed in
and then overate and the other
group ate the same amount
the whole time and the group that overate
with fasting mimicking
diet was still skinny
and the other group of mice was obese.
So it is really about training the cells
how to use nutrition.
You can take in even potentially
less good for you foods
if your body is in shape and
it'll do the right things
with them.
- They'll say they've lost
up to eight pounds a week,
they have more energy, they feel better.
- I've been trying to
convince this patient
for months and months,
maybe a year to try to give up his soda.
It just took five days with
Prolon for him to stop.
- This is the brilliance of
the fasting mimicking diet
that we get to harness
our inner powers to heal
while simultaneously enjoying food.
So what could be better?
- What we've been teaching
here since 1956 is that people
ought not to be eating solid
food until approximately
10 o'clock or so in the morning.
We wind down in the evening.
Ideally, you don't eat
after five but the latest
would be six or seven o'clock at night,
providing you go to bed
then three hours later.
Now this is something we've
observed with hundreds
and hundreds of thousands
of people for over 60 years.
This is no longer a theory or a philosophy
and the scientific
community now has validated
what we've been observing
in a clinical setting.
So all of our guests here
are encouraged to do at least
a one day a week fast.
- I had the privilege of
directing one of the most
renowned fasting clinics
in Europe in Sweden.
So the government realized
they needed to do research
and they spent about $2.5 billion to find,
it was like 90% success rate
and we actually got certified
and by doing that to us,
any physician that thought,
well, you have an inflammatory problem,
because fasting was definitely
something that worked
as an anti-inflammatory with arthritis,
rheumatoid arthritis and
gout and asthma, emphysema,
psoriasis, eczema, you name it,
everything just about
under the sun, Diabetes,
cardiovascular, obesity, Crohn's, colitis,
then actually 80% of their fee
would be paid by the government.
So this was back in the
mid-70's and ran until
the beginning of 80's.
It disappeared when a new
group came into the government.
The problem is it wasn't
replaced by something
that was even better,
it didn't have 90% success rate.
I think those people
were influenced by money,
as simple as that.
- I was driving and all
the cars were disappearing
into like an abyss, into a mirror,
and the white lanes were
going up and down and my head
was pounding so bad
that I felt like someone
was taking a crowbar and
pulling apart my head.
I pulled over on the side of the turnpike.
I had a four pound brain tumor
that were surgically removed
at the National Institutes of Health.
It was the biggest ordeal
that I ever went through.
They drilled six holes into
my head and 47 staple scar.
When I was diagnosed with
two more brain cancers,
I just, I fell apart.
I could not handle having surgery.
I couldn't handle chemo.
- Here at Hippocrates, ever since 1956,
we've been dealing with
tens of thousands of people
who have cancer.
- In October of 2012, I
found a lump in my breast.
- It was cancer.
This cancer had grabbed ahold
of everything behind my knee
and bundled it so they
couldn't do anything
but cut my leg off above the knee.
- And the last three oncologists
that we consulted with,
second and third opinions,
all said the same thing
that she has to have the leg
removed or she's gonna die,
no mistake about that.
- Of course, fasting has
always been a big part,
a significant part of the
caloric intake and dietary part
of our program but those
who condone water fasting,
in the case of people
who are in the conquest
of all forms of cancer,
we don't think it's really prudent.
You need caloric intake.
You need the protein
that literally comes from
the juices we suggest here
which are non-sugary juices
made out of green
vegetables, green leaves,
and most important, sprouts
that have very high amounts
of amino acids and these
amino acids are something
that the body requires
to maintain the strength
and the viability of the cells.
Now we're made of cells.
You have a hundred trillion
cells that make up your body
and this tends to breakdown,
the emaciation you see from cancer
basically is a protein degradation.
- I ended up doing it for three
months and when I went back
to the oncologist, I did
the MRI with contrast,
we got the results - no cancer.
- I maintained this lifestyle
very strictly for a full year
and at the same time continued
to see that lump diminish
until now it's gone.
- I'm 91.
This little girl is 90.
- For 21 years, I have been cancer free!
We are great dancers.
We now teach people at
Golden Lakes to dance.
- How 'bout a kiss?
Yay! (laughs)
- I get these horrible
skin rashes on my face
and my body.
Coming to a place like
Hippocrates would make my life
and just the fasting
experience a lot easier.
- For me, just doing water
fasting wasn't going to work.
Even more than a day was very difficult,
just for me personally.
I can only speak from personal experience
but if I were to do the juice fasting,
it was easier because I was still able
to have that intake of food.
- And today is actually the
fourth day that I'm coming out,
I'm easing myself gently out of the fast.
My skin just smoothing out.
I didn't have the red marks
I usually have on my arms
and on my face.
- I didn't always feel
this way about fasting.
In fact, I was pretty opposed to it.
- Dr. Mercola and I have
been together eight years,
my significant other, so
we did the program in 2012
here at Hippocrates and
I think it inspired him.
- I've come to the conclusion
that there is no single
more powerful metabolic
intervention that can be used
than fasting.
In fact, when people,
friends or relatives,
come to me now with
heart attack or cancer,
in almost every case
that is the first step
I'll have them do because
it's gonna jumpstart
their ability to build fat for fuel
and increase all the metabolic benefits
that you get from doing that.
- I lost 40 pounds in
90 days on a juice fast
and never gained it back.
- So the problems we have
today that 2/3 of Americans
are obese, 5% morbidly obese,
diabetes, cancer, arthritis,
all of this should never have happened.
We had the solution in the 70's.
We really need to realize
there's nothing new
under the sun.
Get back on the track
with your own lifestyle.
Whatever religion, whatever
country you come from,
I think you will agree with this.
We have to take our
responsibility in our own hands
and have the life for our
family, for our children,
our grandchildren, that they deserve.
They deserve an amazing
life and I think most of us
are looking right now at
the future and saying,
how are they gonna deal with this?
How are they gonna deal with the diseases?
How are they gonna deal with
food that's not nutritious?
With all the chemicals,
the pollution in our water and our air,
how are they gonna deal with it?
Well, it's time we deal with it.
(dramatic music)
(dramatic inspiring music)