Fasting has always been a part of human culture. Either due to lack of available food or as part of religious practice, we have been not eating as long as we have been eating. Fasting is the elimination of food and/or water over a period of time.
Many advocates of fasting highlight the healthy mind, body and spiritual benefits which is supported with growing research in this area. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that helps provide a diet schedule that can have benefits of weight loss, increased energy, fitness, and general well-being.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
The core idea behind intermittent fasting is the realization that in our primitive past, not eating was more “normal” than eating. Our bodies are highly developed and specialized and can go without food for periods of time. We do it every night when we sleep when our metabolic enzymes that respond to light and food are reduced.
The standard American high-carbohydrate/high-sugar diet is putting our bodies into “growth mode” that is constantly telling our cells to grow, divide and make proteins. When the body is maintained in this overactive, well-fed or overfed state, these conditions can have implications in cancer growth.
Types of Intermittent Fasts
16-Hour Fasting and 8-Hour Eating Window: This type of fast is typical for those who will just skip breakfast. They will open their eating window about noon and eat until about 8 pm. There is a variation of this schedule that is an 18/6 method that is also popular. At about 12 hours into a fast, you will likely have entered ketosis as the liver breaks down fat into ketone bodies.
In this state, your body starts to break down and burn fat to replace glucose. By 18 hours, you have switched into fat-burning mode and are generating significant ketones. These ketones can act as a signal molecule to tell your body to ramp up stress-resistance pathways that reduce inflammation and repair damaged cells and DNA.
Eat-Stop-Eat: These types of fasts look at longer periods of time. For example, fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. Another schedule is to eat normally for 5 days and then fast for 2 days. There are also longer fasts of 3 or more days, but that is really getting outside the definition of an intermittent fast.
At 24 hours, your cells are increasingly recycling old cellular components and breaking down misfolded proteins linked to Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Forty-eight hours into a fast your growth hormone levels are up to 5 times higher than when you started your fast. This natural source of growth hormone helps to preserve lean muscle mass and reduces fat tissue accumulation.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasts
Fasting is as simple as not eating. And it doesn’t cost anything. There is nothing special that you need to buy or food to prepare.
Intermittent fasting results in a reduction of calories increases insulin sensitivity and norepinephrine. These metabolic conditions help to boost energy metabolism and hormone levels such as human growth hormone.
The reduction in calories also promotes autophagy which is how our bodies recycle damaged and old cells. When you fast, some of your fat is also converted into ketone bodies that will turn on genes to burn more fat, lower inflammation and enhance stress resistance/neuroplasticity.
CBD Oil and Intermittent Fasting
Using CBD oil products in combination with an intermittent fasting schedule can have many reciprocating benefits. The endocannabinoid system plays an important regulatory role in many-body systems. Taking CBD can support hormone regulation during fasting.
Both fasting and CBD have anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation has been linked to diseases like heart disease, stroke and may also lead to autoimmune disorders.
The small amount of oil used in sublingual CBD and other vitamin supplements will not break an intermittent fast. For longer fasts, a transdermal CBD cream or patch can ensure that the fast is maintained. With these transdermal methods of taking CBD, it is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream without the need of the digestive system.
CBD products can also help regulate appetite and reduce the cravings that can be associated with a fast. Terpenes like humulene can act as an appetite suppressant. Cannabinoids will also interact with the hormonal systems of our bodies to assist with hormone regulation. Some studies have also suggested CBD can increase the neurotransmitter leptin that makes you feel full.
Getting Started with Intermittent Fasting
- Continue your daily CBD schedule
- Drink plenty of water
- Try to stay active and avoid watching television
- Get plenty of sleep
- When you do eat, avoid processed and high sugar food and drinks
The Bottom Line
CBD can be excellent way to improve your general wellness and hormone regulation. When used in combination with other healthy lifestyle choices, like a healthy diet and plenty of exercises, intermittent fasting can enhance and magnify the benefits of CBD.
There are some individuals for whom fasting may not be a good choice. This includes those who are underweight, pregnant, have had eating disorders in the past, or are on medications. You should always seek advice from your doctor or medical professional before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle.