Ancient cultures have been fasting for centuries. Science has proven fasting’s benefits for weight loss and blood sugar control greatly assisting type 2 diabetics. So how can fasting benefit our minds?

It is fascinating to know that 75% of our happy brain chemical serotonin is made in our gut. It’s production and function can be reduced by stress that sends inflammatory signals to the gut and also reduces intestinal blood flow. The imbalance of too many bad gut organisms and not enough beneficial gut bacteria can also reduce serotonin production.

Fasting provides many benefits to the intestinal wall. As 50% of our body’s energy is utilized by digesting our food, fasting gives our digestive tract a well earned rest. This allows inflammation levels to reduce, the gut lining to repair and serotonin function enhanced.

The benefits of fasting can be obtained by reducing the calorie intake to 20% or less of the body’s requirements. This is 600 calories or less for a man and 500 calories or less for a woman over a 24 hour period. I have found that the benefits of fasting is greatly enhanced if simultaneously combined with the intake of probiotics or fermented foods. (FFDetox) Fasting days can be either 2 days each week or 5-10 days consecutively every 4-6 months.

Mental health conditions such as depression has been found to be linked to increased levels of inflammation as well as a reduced production of serotonin and dopamine. Fasting helps address both issues.

Mental health problems are serious medical conditions and require management and supervision by a medical professional. It’s treatment may require conventional medication and psychotherapy. Fasting 2 days each week can provide synergistic benefits and improve the response to other therapies needed. Fasting also requires supervision and is not recommended if underweight or if you suffer with other chronic health conditions or on certain medication. It’s suitability for each individual should be discussed with their medical practitioner.

Elen ApThomas

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