Is Fasting for me ?

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Fasting is a time honoured Naturopathic tradition although its not really taught as part of main stream courses anymore. It is still a really useful protocol for some people. There are now a wide range of options with fasting,  Juice Fasting, Five Two, Elemental Fasting, Six One and Intermittent Fasting, just to name a few . So what are the current options?

  1. Juice Fasting – this is usually a shorter fast such as a weekend or a few days and limits your intake to mainly vegetable juices, with a small amount of fruit. It floods your body with nutrition and hydration but can sometimes provoke extreme hunger on day 2. This is often used as a cleanse or weight loss starter and the usual feedback is about half the weight lost is water you do become more concious of what you eat after a juice fast.
  2. Five Two – a popular adaptation this allows you to eat on an unrestricted based 5 days a week whilst restricting calories to 25% of your normal intake on two of those days. This diet was popularised by Micheal Mosley a few years ago. Ideally to really minimise side effects and benefit from this approach you need to eat nutrient dense foods the other days and ensure that you are getting enough protein and micro-nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals on your non fasting days. Proponents of this approach suggest starting with a 12 hour fast overnight for a few weeks to make it easier.
  3. Elemental Fasting – this is used therapeutically for a digestive reset for those with serious infections such as parasites or severe SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). This fast needs to be run under supervision and comprises shakes which contain adequate amounts of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The approach is to starve out the problematic bugs.
  4. Six One – A slight variation to the Five Two it involves completely fasting on one day a week whilst eating normally on the other days.
  5. Intermittent Fasting – Routinely fasting for twelve hours overnight – basically eating dinner by 7.30 and then breakfasting at 7.30 – can be an effective way to improve your response to glucose and insulin. As part of the Bredesen protocol I studied in 2016 it is recommended as part of a strategy to improve blood sugar as well as specific sensitising nutrients if levels are elevated. In addition its recommended that people with the specific gene for Alzheimer’s known as APO4E fast for up to 16 hours a day. For more information on this protocol see my blog Delaying Alzheimer’s 

shutterstock_513957496So what are the benefits reported from fasting ? Micheal Mosley in his 5:2 diet cites three major areas which include weight loss, improved metabolic markers and reduced inflammatory markers such as C Reactive Protein. Research published recently on pubmed is also showing that intermittent fasting or time restricted feeding is proving beneficial for weight loss and metabolic health. (1)

Intermittent Fasting can be a good way to stabilise blood sugars at the early stages of insulin resistance. The 5:2 protocol can be helpful for people who want to lose weight but have trouble sticking to a restrictive diet. Ideally your fast days are separated and you include a small amount of protein in the meals to help stabilise blood sugar.

Christine Pope is an experienced Naturopath and Nutritionist based at Elemental Health, St Ives. You can make an appointment on 8084 0081 or book online at the website .

A new model for treating Alzheimer’s

Brain Function with gears and cogs.I spent my June long weekend at a naturopathic conference in Brisbane where the topic was Neurology and Psychiatry. One of the surprise standouts from the weekend was a US researcher who presented 3 reversed cases of Alzheimer’s , something which really isn’t supposed to be possible. Even more surprising was his holistic focus on the treatment and his view that the solution was in treating a wide range of factors rather than a simple “pill for an ill” model.

The current research in this area has identified amyloid plaque as the source of the damage to the brain and the focus is finding a drug which will break this down. Unfortunately this approach ignores the underlying reason for the formation of the plaque which is the presence of inflammation in the body. Dr Dale Bredesen and his team looked at what was driving the inflammation and have developed an approach to treating Alzheimer’s looking at those drivers.

What emerged was a very holistic treatment protocol looking at key drivers such as diet and lifestyle, hormonal factors, such as insulin resistance as well as oestrogen and testosterone levels as well as other risk factors such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. They also saw a need to look at other possible causes of inflammation such as heavy metal toxicity. For more detail on his training and studies have a look at the MPI Cognition site.

Health food ingredients in white porcelain bowls over papyrus baCurrently around 342,000 Australians are living with dementia and up to 70% of those suffer from Alzheimer’s and with an ageing population this is expected to increase signficantly. In terms of preventative care its clear from these presentations that its critical to ensure that we start reducing our risk by following these guidelines;

  1. Eat a whole food, plant based diet with small amounts of animal protein and reasonable amounts of good quality plant based fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil  and avocado.
  2. Exercise at reasonable intensity on a regular basis, at least three to five times a week.
  3. Manage stress effectively.
  4. Ensure good blood sugar regulation.
  5. Monitor hormone levels as “atrophic withdrawal” or the sudden decline in hormones post hysterectomy for example are associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s for example.
  6. Identify and minimise toxicity, particularly heavy metals but also consider the impact of long term low grade infections.
  7. Stay at a healthy weight range.

Fortunately as a natural medicine practitioner there are a number of areas where we can work with clients to reduce their risk factors. However I am also planning a trip to the States to attend the MPI Cognition 4 day training program for practitioners. Stay posted for further updates!!

Christine Pope is a practicing homeopath and nutritionist based at Elemental Health, St Ives and is available for appointments on 8084 0081.