Attempting my first 14 day water/electrolyte fast

(Michael) #1

Hello Forum Go’ers,

This is my first post on this forum, and as such I will introduce myself here as some of the numbers might be relevant in my tracking and sharing for others.

A few years ago I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and I reduced my sugar intake greatly. I was then told everything was fine again (of course, now I know it never was). Over the next 5 years or so, every one and a while I would get a call saying my blood sugars were creeping up and I would cut more sugar out of my diet and then I would be told I was fine again.

Just over two months ago I was told that my A1C was 10.5 and my doctor wanted to increase my Metformin. I realized then that my doctor was not really helping me, so I started doing research myself. After a week of research, I started tracking and reducing my carbs daily. I also got a glucose blood test kit. On June 10th, my morning fasting was 10.5 as well on my first day I started a full Keto diet (under 20g carbs a day if you do not include fiber - which I now have mostly eliminated from my diet). By June 17th my morning glucose was under 7 and I stopped taking all medications for diabetes and stopped the Statin all of which I will never take again. I also started time restricted eating at this point. Within another weak I was eating meals in the 18-6 up to 23-1 but usually hitting around 20-4 fasting-eating time periods.
On July 9th after my 51st birthday I started my first 3-day fast. I completed a second 3-day fast starting on July 19th. I also purchased and used a Dexcom 6 CGM monitor which showed the general trend of my blood glucose to be low overnight while sleeping, rise up in the morning and continue to rise up to a peak at around noonish before starting to fall again slowly until the evening. This is true when eating meals late in the evening, or during my fasting days (well, up to 72 hours anyway). Here is my trend

Today August 6th I am currently 37 hours into what I hope to be a 336 hour fast, or so. I am monitoring my glucose and keytones every hour during this second day to find out the typical keytone trend before my body starts overproducing due to starvation. I will post and use this data to determine which 2 or 3 times in the day are the best and worst times to take daily measurements of my highest and lowest GKI ratios. I intend to try and keep a GKI of less than one for the last 8 or 9 days for my fast. My hope with this fast I can greatly help my insulin resistance but also to help cure my current list of annoying issues:

  1. Diagnosed Type 2 diabetes with significant insulin resistance
  2. Skin flaps on middle of both feet (growing over past 2 years)
  3. Warts on thumb/finger for past 10+ years (and some on feet that needed multiple laser surgeries over many years.)
  4. Skin tags under armpits and on back of legs
  5. Patch of rough sore skin on left elbow (swollen/bumps, sore and red)
  6. Patch of skin on back is scaly and red
  7. Herpes/cold sores (on valacyclovir daily to control)
  8. Overweight at 168 cm (5’ 6”) and 80 kg (177 lbs) <-- Starting on June 10th. Today, starting this fast I was at 157 lbs. Weight is not a huge issue for me, so I will post, but it is a side benefit of the fast.
  9. High cholesterol and was on a Statin for few years
  10. Severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Gluten Intolerance for past 12 years – developed slowly over many months and got quite Severe after a few years. Tried a few ineffective medications and more recently one that was helpful and 10-15 tablets of Metamucil a day. Since Keto have stopped taking this aids, but still have IBS, just not as severe
  11. Hemorrhoids (fairly bad) for past 8 years – started a few years after development of sever IBS
  12. Recurring Cyst near anus due to IBS – had multiple visits to ER to puncture and drain + help from wife who has helped do same
  13. Recurring sties in eyes, suggested that I take and did take Omega 3, 2Xdose of 500mg daily to stop sties. Continued to have them even with omega 3 (but did improve in general). Have stopped taking Omega 3 capsules since Keto, no sties so far. (I do eat Wild Salmon more often as well now though)
  14. Hernia surgery continues to occasionally cause severe pain for months on end if I use my body to lift any weight over about 100 pounds (unable to use body after surgery to allow use of body……) – ultrasound said still hernia but specialists said no hernia, just pain and I should do pain management and physical therapy. Just to compare, at age 45 I could deadlift over 400 pounds before hernia surgery…supposedly to allow me to lift again.
  15. Pain in right testicle/tube after hernia surgery (3 years). Suggested cause was inflammation but nothing to be done.
  16. Cuts/bug bites/skin damage taking months or never to heal properly

As many probably already know, many of those issues were due to high insulin, so the Keto diet has fixed or helped in a few cases, but I still have some annoying health concerns which I am hoping to full on therapeutic autophagy will fix.

My fasting plan is water only with electrolyte additives. I have purchased (so far, many I purchased may not arrive in time :pensive: . So far I have both sodium chloride (salt) and potassium chloride powder. I expect tri-calcium phosphate to arrive in a week. I was hoping that my orders of dipotassium phosphate and disodium phosphate would also arrive. Depending on what is available, I was hoping to drink fluids with a half teaspoon of all of those to in conjunction with magnesium sulfate baths and of course adding in thiamine and vitamin D as required. My only concern (maybe someone can help) is that the thiamine and vitamin D pills have additives that I do not want to be taking while fasting. I would hate to have some additive in the pill reduce my autophagy - thoughts on additives in pills???

I will keep the post updated with my progress for my benefit, and hopefully the information may be of benefit to another. Feel free to ask questions and post your thoughts - especially about the effects of additives in supplements on the deepest therapeutic levels of autophagy.

(Old Baconian) #2

You can get thiamine and many other B vitamins in your meat. Do you really need to supplement? If you are getting enough regularly, you should be able to fast a few days without needing to take thiamine during that time. Sodium and potassium, sure, and possibly magnesium, but don’t go overboard with the calcium (there are a couple of threads here that you should search for, about calcium). Also, don’t go overboard with the potassium, either. Both hypo- and hyperkalemia can be dangerous, even fatal. As for vitamin D, your body can surely go a few days without the supplement, especially if you can get some sun.

(Bob M) #3

When I fast, even for a day or sometimes only until dinner, I don’t take vitamin D. I usually take it with coffee and a bit of cream in the morning. On the days I fast, I drink black coffee.

IBS might take a while. Also, consider what you’re eating. Often things like salads fire up my IBS. So, I stopped eating them for a while. I find, after avoiding them for a long time, I can eat them periodically.

Your insulin will take a while to drop too.

(Bob M) #4

By the way, what you should find is that your blood sugar might drop quite low (I got 62 after 4.5 days, and I’ve seen others who had way lower), but your ketones will go much higher to compensate. When I had 62, I felt fine.

Of course, if you feel bad, that’s the point you want to bail. There’s always another (shorter?) fast.

Addendum: 62 = 3.4 in your units.

(Jane) #5

I wish you luck with your fast and the healing of some or all of your health issues.

My husband was never diabetic but he has/had some of the issues you listed. He had a lot of skin tags that disappeared after about a year on keto. He still gets hemorrhoids and keto hasn’t helped with that issue so far.

I’ve lost some of the dark “age spots” on my skin and the dry patches went away.

On the supplements question - I do not take any supplements when I fast - just to be sure - since I am fasting mainly for autophagy.

(Bob M) #6

I had those at one time. I found eating mainly meat and well cooked vegetables to be the cure. And cutting back on vegetables. Something so there’s not much “bulk” remaining.

Not sure about dairy. That may cause an issue for some, though I usually don’t eat much dairy.


Are you working with your dr. to do this long of a fast. All the keto friendly drs. I have read, say autophagy declines after 5 days. Peak is around 48 hrs. If that is you goal you might be setting yourself up fail.

Personally, 4.5 days is as long as I could fast. I did a lot of 36-48 hr. fasting periods to reach my goal weight and stay there for over 4 yrs. I think fasting is great, but I also think you need to be careful with it. I had a forest of skin tags that have gone away, my dry patches around my elbows have cleared up also, and I went from prediabetic numbers to normal numbers. Keto really can help with a lot of stuff, just not everything.

I don’t take supplements on fasting days. My stomach really doesn’t like that. And yet another reason to dial back on the days.

Good luck with your fasting however long you decide to go.

(UsedToBeT2D) #8

Why 14 days? I’d creep up. Why not try 4 days, feed awhile , 5 days, etc. See how you respond. If you can truly fast, why do you need supplements. Let food be your medicine.

(Michael) #9

Hi Paul,

Well, you may be correct. Let me explain my thinking and you can let me know if you think I have gone astray. Apparently people with type 2 diabetes have 50-75% less thiamine than non diabetics: . With this in mind, while I am not supplementing thiamine while eating plenty of meats, I was planning on starting thiamine supplements neat the end of my fast since, by all accounts, I will most likely have a thiamine deficiency if I believe the thiamin facts sheet.
In terms of the amount, refeeding protocols recommend 3X200 mg of thiamine the day before refeeding, and as such, my intent was use the thiamine with bone broth the day before actually eating (ie, as needed). Perhaps I am being overly cautious? I am not aware of the finer details as to how long thiamine stays around in the body if you are not eating, so perhaps my thiamine levels are fine after a fast as long as they were fine going in? Not sure here.
My understanding in general is that we should be ingesting (in theory) about
3-5 g of sodium (not salt) a day
1 g of potassium a day (and no more than 4.5 g a day for hyperkalemia)
0.8 g /day chloride
0.7 g/day phosphorous
1 g/day of calcium (with Vitamin D to absorb) (not to get too much more than 2g/day for hypercalemia)
1.2 mg of thiamine (that actually gets absorbed), but since I am type 2, most likely I should be thinking about more.

If I supplement with salt and KCL, I am getting way more chloride than needed. This is why I wanted to mix in more phosphorous instead of chloride with some of the supplements. In terms of those numbers though, considering a 1/4 teaspoon of salt contains 500 mg of sodium, a half or quarter teaspoon of each per day should give me the daily recommended intake without approaching values that are too high in either potassium or calcium. Let me know if you see something different from what I am considering. Certainly appreciate the suggestions, as I just started reading about everything a little while ago, so my learning curve has been steep and I am sure I am not 100% correct about almost anything. I am probably going overboard (but on the safe side at least!)

(Michael) #10

Hi Bob,

I have done a lot of reading/studying, and I saw a video on youtube of a young man who was in excellent shape, but who decided to do a 4 day fast. His blood sugars went below 3 multiple times over the last 2 days of his fast. He felt fine, and he just went for a workout and the levels would rise again about 3.3 at least. Net scoop, I hear you, and I will not be worried unless my glucose were to go below 3 (and for me, I highly doubt that - but I will let you know!)

(Michael) #11

Hi Janie,

I will heed your advice (and others) and will not be taking any supplements with additives (or probably any outside of electrolytes on this fast). I found highly absorbable thiamin as a powder with no additives which I may yet consider picking up for the next fast (benfotiamine for example), or as in a previous reply, simply the day before refeeding.

(Michael) #12

Hi Collaroygal,

I wish I had a doctor who was supportive. I asked my Dr. for a blood test for insulin, beta-hydroxybutyrate and glucagon. She flat out refused bHB saying they were only to be measured if I was type 1 diabetic and then only if she thought I had ketoacidosis…she also asked why I wanted insulin measured, since there is no need to measure insulin if I have type 2 diabetes. I was barely able to convince her to let me have the insulin and glucagon tests. This is what I am working with, so no, I am not working with a doctor at this time. I wish I could find one who has any knowledge of nutrition and would take me as a patient - no luck so far.
In terms of autophagy declining after 5 days, I would need to see a link on that. From everything I have read, it takes 4-5 days just to START getting into the deepest therapeutic levels of autophagy (when your GKI ratio first falls below 1 as the vague but measurable indication of autophagy). Yes, autophagy can start in a much shorter time, but the level of autophagy changes (which proteins are being harvested) as your body becomes further starved for nutrients.
It would not make a lot of sense for autophagy to have eaten all the useless proteins in the skin, do some real hard work on your immune system, and then return to looking at the skin again if there are other damaged proteins around. If the autophagy is sufficient to completely heal someone in 5 days, I would then expect it would slow down, but in my case, I doubt 14 days, much less 5 days will clear all the damaged and useless protein strands lying around my body.

(Michael) #13

It takes about 3 days of fasting for insulin levels to start to fall. It takes 5ish days for your ketone levels to rise above your glucose levels. It can apparently take up to 21 days for IBS to clear if it is immune related (as per Paul Mason). My fast will only truly be starting at around day 5, anything less be much less effective (well, or at least I feel based on my reading) on curing IBS and for that matter, really putting a dent into my insulin resistance. Of course, I just started reading 2 months ago, so as with everything else I have written, happy for someone to suggest I may be mistaken.

(Michael) #14

Update: Currently 65 hours into my fast.

Ben Bikman had suggested that like glucose, bHB might rise or fall over the course of the day, depending on the individual person. With this in mind, I measured my bHB and glucose every hour or two yesterday during day 2 of my fast. To my surprise, apparently my bHB levels essentially did not move ALL day, while my glucose slowly went down all day. Normally my starting glucose is much lower than yesterday, but I am confident it is because I only got 10 hours sleep in the two previous nights…which for me is now where near enough. Sleep deprivation is known to cause insulin resistance the next day. Here were my numbers recently:

Date Time Glucose bHB GKI
6-Aug 12:39:00AM 5.3 1.1 4.818181818
6-Aug 8:19:00AM 7.2 0.8 9
6-Aug 9:39:00AM 7.0 0.7 10
6-Aug 11:19:00AM 6.7 1.3 5.153846154
6-Aug 1:19:00PM 6.3 0.9 7
6-Aug 2:39:00PM 5.8 1.2 4.833333333
6-Aug 4:19:00PM 5.2 1.1 4.727272727
6-Aug 5:29:00PM 5.1 0.9 5.666666667
6-Aug 6:59:00PM 4.9 0.9 5.444444444
6-Aug 8:29:00PM 4.8 0.9 5.333333333
6-Aug 10:49:00PM 5.1 0.8 6.375
7-Aug 7:49:00AM 5.9 1.8 3.277777778
7-Aug 12:49:00PM 5.6 1.5 3.733333333

From this data (which might be totally off due to lack of sleep), it is not relevant on the time of day for my bHB readings, so it only depends on my normal glucose daily trend as to when it would be best to monitor my blood levels. I will measure twice a day then, once around noon, and once around 10 pm. I will track those then as well.

Morning weight was 152.4 pounds this morning to start day 3, which i think was the exact same weight in the morning of day 2 as well. I was 158.4 pounds immediately after eating my last meal [which for those of interest was 4 eggs, 5 slices bacon, 2 small hamburgers, 12 oz ribeye steak, half cup of strawberries with 250 mL heavy whipping cream (yum!), green beans and some peanuts…and a small glass of milk (yes I cheated the night before my fast with one glass of regular milk!)]

Tomorrow I will post everything in a graph form (most likely :smile: )

(UsedToBeT2D) #15

Baby steps. Keto is not a quick fix. Give it time. Stick to it.

(Jane) #16

Do you live in the US? I ordered and paid for my fasting insulin and a1c online, had the blood drawn at Labcorp and had the results in a couple of days. I added fasting glucose so could calculate my HOMA-IR score.

I don’t know if the other tests you want are available online but worth a cursory search if you really want the tests done and your doctor refuses.

I ordered my a1c because my doc never orders it since my fasting glucose is usually in the 80’s.

(Old Baconian) #17

The problem with this observation is that it comes with no context. Nutrition research is full of correlations such as this, but what does that correlation tell us? After all, margarine consumption correlates with the divorce rate, in the state of Maine. Does that mean if you live in Maine and your marriage is in trouble, switching to butter will prevent a divorce?

So to me, the relevant questions (or at least some of them) would be, firstly, the correlation may be statistically significant, but how clinically relevant is it? By what possible mechanism could thiamine levels influence diabetes, or vice versa? Do diabetics have better glucose control if they receive thiamine supplements? And what effect does thiamine supplementation have on their level of insulin resistance? We find that some people on ketogenic diets have lower levels of certain vitamins, but it appears that they have less need of those vitamins (vitamin C being a big example of this). Perhaps diabetics have less of a need for thiamine?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but if they are not addressed in the NIH fact sheet you cite, then I would disregard that information. On the other hand, if the authors of that fact sheet were smart enough to try to answer those questions, I’d be inclined to take it more seriously.

The problem is that we are still at the very beginning of understanding how the human body operates, and for the past century, researchers have been leaping to conclusions, as though it were possible to out-think a couple of million years of evolution. My bias is to trust my body to be able to take care of itself, and not to assume that I know better.

(KCKO, KCFO) #18

Dr. Fung has talked about it on several interviews, it peaks at 48 hrs. then starts trending downwards. He thinks you start losing some benefits after 5 days if autophagy is your goal.

Here is a link to some good info on it as well:

(Michael) #19

Hi Collaroygal,

I do not see any reference in the linked article to autophagy diminishing after 5 days. I had read that article and watched every video by Fung and his co-worker Megan. I do remember a video with Fung where he suggested that the total amount of autophagy may diminish as the damaged cells become slightly harder to find perhaps, but this is due to availability, not lack of intent to repair I think. I do know that for insurance and malpractice reasons Fung never recommends more than 1 week fasts at a time unless medically supervised. However, their clinic has run at least one 120 day out patient fast as their patient insisted and they often use 14 day fasts to start treatment on severely obese patients.
Autophagy is the process of self cleaning, due to a desire/need to find proteins/nutrients/components that are not being used wisely. I believe that the more starved for energy, the more (and deeper) your body is going to look for those wasted resources, giving up on recycling after 5 days would be counter-productive. As Dr. Fung likes to say, our bodies can not be that stupid or we wouldn’t have survived this long.

(Michael) #20

Hi Jane,

I live in Ontario Canada. I cannot order blood tests or medical tests without a doctor making the request on my behalf. This includes tests that are covered by our government health care, AND the ones that are paid for out of pocket (whether covered by private insurance or not). So I am at the whims of my GP mostly. I can walk into a clinic and HOPE I got a doctor willing to grant me a requisition for bloodwork, but that is not a simple task, especially during COVID.
I guess I could travel to the States and buy some testing :frowning: