Aug 17th, 2020
When you study health, immunology and longevity as I have, you begin a process of understanding that genes and choice will match up when you look to the past for the answers of the future. In that context, I have heard from many people that they would like to hear about my experimentation with longevity and health in general. Dr. Cody thinks that all of this is for naught as I will get hit by a bus reading and walking as I am known to do. Oh well.
I have been a human guinea pig for the understanding of life, health and longevity for the better part of 14 years now. I have experienced parasite ingestion for immune enhancement, diets of all kinds for metabolic adaptation, extremes of temperature and exercise for understanding of my personal human limits, and now fasting. Fasting has become a major interest of mine in regards to immune enhancement for COVID19 prevention. If you took a look at the COVID19 white board a few weeks ago, you will see where fasting fits in to the process of surveilling, killing and resolving an infection.
We have cassettes of genes specifically geared to help us survive caloric restriction due to famine or illness. These genes are many and they are challenged to benefit us when we fast. Caloric restriction in general is very safe until your body gets into muscle breakdown or loss of lean body mass which occurs when all fat and glycogen stores are expended. Many individuals have completed water only fasts under medical supervision for more than 30 days with no major health damage. Thus, it takes a long time for the body to decay as long as water is supplied because of a purposeful slowing of metabolism. The reverse turns out to be very dysfunctional for humans. Excessive caloric ingestion is the leading cause of disease in humans along with chemical exposure. If humans were meant to handle excess calories, people would not be sick. Contrarily, if humans were meant to always have access to food, fasting or famines would have killed off our species long ago.
Back to experimentation.
This past Wednesday, I began a 27 hour water/black coffee only fast. That, for those who know me, is a major challenge as I consume a bounty of calories on an average day. After 20 hours, which is a bit longer than my usual time restricted feeding effort, the hunger pangs and slight unease were kicking in. This was at 0600 on Thursday. Then, I went for a 5 mile run with my friends which I fully expected to be very hard. To my surprise, it was neither hard nor uncomfortable in the slightest. I went on to work and checked my serum blood glucose level expecting it to be in the 60 mg/dl range (normal is 80 to 120). To my surprise again, it was 97 mg/dl. This was interesting to me as I had no food for 24 hours at this point and the level was significantly above expected.
The normal blood glucose measurement meant that my body was burning fat to produce free fatty acids as a mitochondrial energy source and that my liver was making glucose de novo. To confirm this, I checked a urine dipstick which showed moderate ketones indicating robust fat breakdown. A cellular blood count noted high quality white blood cell number with a normal distribution.
After 27 hours, I consumed a whole 30 style 3000 calorie lunch and checked a post prandial blood sugar and again hit 94 mg/dl.
What this personal experiment proved was this:
1) the human body is well adapted to fast and exercise simultaneously
2) even for someone as skinny as I am, the liver and metabolic systems have evolutionarily adapted well to produce energy in the absence of calorie ingestion and in the face of significant demand
3) a whole 30 diet is highly consistent with quality blood glucose results despite a heavy volume of consumption
A persistent effort to control blood glucose levels, turn off mTOR by fasting, release stress through exercise can augment immune function towards a TH1 polarity which is well suited to surveil, kill and recover from a COVID19 type infection.
Consider a whole 30 style diet, time restricted feeding pattern and stress management through meditation and exercise daily.