In the first part we looked at the differences between a ‘water fast’ and a ‘dry fast,’ and we also looked at autophagy and metabolic pathways. In this part we will continue with going deeper into the body’s ability to manufacture its own endogenous metabolic water and also look at detoxification and how it works.
The first part:
Body fat turned into water
Water makes up 10% of the contents in fat cells while triglycerides make up 90%. Fat cells provide fatty acids that are transformed into your own endogenous metabolic water. 100 grams of fatty acids are converted into 280 grams of CO2 and 115 grams of H2O (water) from combining oxygen atoms in the air you breathe with the carbon and hydrogen broken down from the chains in fatty acids. This explains why you’re not really thirsty on a dry fast. While you can experience dry mouth from time to time, mostly because you’re used to drinking, you don’t feel thirsty or hungry. As long as you have some body fat to be broken down, you will have energy and plenty of water. This can easily be seen, as urine output is practically the same during a dry fast. And if you start a dry fast with stored liver and muscle glycogen, running on glycolysis during the first two days, urine output will increase as liver glycogen gets depleted. This could be seen in old Russian experiments where 6-day or longer dry fasts were used and urine output were greater after day 3 when in ketosis. This is also why I always recommend that you start your fast when you’re already in ketosis, as that will reap the benefits of fasting right from the get go. Do not go from a stupid diet containing carbohydrates into a dry fast without any preparations such as first switching to a ketogenic diet for at least 3 days prior.
However, if you drink water when fasting, as in a ‘regular water fast,’ it prevents endogenic water synthesis as mentioned in the first part. Furthermore, this forces the body to use gluconeogenesis to make glucose from muscle protein. Therefore, you will risk to lose muscle mass on a water fast, while your muscles are much more protected during a dry fast.
Autophagy is also a source of metabolic endogenous water
Autophagy breaks down damaged- as well as no longer needed cellular structures into amino acids. This source of amino acids is also found in damaged tissue such as scar tissue, in tumors, cysts, folded proteins, AGE’s as well as excess skin and any kind of malfunctioning cells. These sources of proteins, created by autophagy, are not utilized as energy but rather their amino acids are re-purposed for metabolic needs like new protein synthesis in order to repair cells. Also, water makes up about 60% of the volume in weak and damaged cells and when degraded they provide another huge source of metabolic water.
Again, this source of water is only available when autophagy is activated, and especially when it runs at its highest after 2 to 3 days of dry fasting.
Detoxification during a dry fast
The body store and isolates toxins in fat cells. During a dry fast, toxins released from fat cells are processed in the liver and then eliminated through the feces, which can give loose ‘sludge-like’ stools. So, if you’ve been on a carnivore diet and had perfect stools, do not panic if you get your first loose stool ever during a dry fast. It’s simply detoxification.
And by taking showers and/or baths, you will help the body by absorbing water through the skin without involving the gastrointestinal tract, and thus not interfering with energy production by fooling the body into believing it’s getting fed. This external water will also help to flush toxins from the cells into the lymphatic system. These toxins will then enter the blood stream and will be excreted through the urine. By other words, having contact with water without drinking it, will speed-up and help with detoxing, especially if you have skin issues.
Another great thing about dry fasting is that you do not experience any withdrawal symptoms from caffeine or other stimulants – you can just quit cold turkey. On a water fast you will experience headaches and lethargy, on a dry fast it’s just smooth sailing. And this goes for other detox reactions as well. You will not notice any detox reactions while dry fasting. This not only makes dry fasting safer and more effective than water fasting, it also makes it less taxing and strenuous.
Drawbacks with dry fasting and how to approach it
This should be rather obvious. You are limited to your body’s ability to use autophagy and fat metabolism to make metabolic water. What this means is that if you never have done a ketogenic diet or any kind of fasting before, your body is most likely not very fat adapted. In short, this means that it’s not used to break down body fat for energy and water. In that case, a dry fast will be tougher, but not impossible. You will simply have to start slowly and build up as your body adapts, detoxify and heals. A good approach would be 16 to 24 hours without water once or twice a week. Then increase the hours depending on your success and how you feel. As stated earlier, make sure to eliminate carbohydrates at least 3 days prior, or better yet, switch to a ketogenic diet for a few weeks before starting to experiment with dry fasting.
Being limited by your physiology to manufacture metabolic water also means that you should plan a dry fast when you can spend the majority of the day resting, especially if you live in a sunny and warm climate. Dry fasting will be easier in colder climates or during the winter for obvious reasons.
If you have things to do that spends energy and can contribute to sweating, plan them to early in the morning or in the evening.
Someone who is adapted and used to dry fasting should have no problem doing most tasks even on a dry fast of 7 or more days. However, I do not recommend any kind of athletic training or weight lifting as that is a huge stressor on the body for adaptation. You do dry fasts to heal and to detoxify. It’s not the time for pursuing athletic goals.
A few points for a successful dry fast
- I always recommend that you have followed our species appropriate diet of animal-based nutrition for at least one or two weeks before longer fasts to guarantee that you have nutrients stored and no nutrient deficiencies that can hamper your body’s functionality.
- If you have been deceived into plant-based diets, do not fast! You are malnourished and any kind of fast will deteriorate your health just as the diet you have been fooled to follow.
- Make sure you are in ketosis before starting your fast. By doing this, you will not have to experience the hassle of switching energy metabolism during the fast.
- Start your fast 6 to 12 hours before bedtime. By doing this you will sleep through the first stage of the fast where you can feel hungry or a bit thirsty. When waking up, you will be almost a day into your fast. Just knowing that will make it easier. It’s a little early win.
- In a warm climate, wear breathable natural light clothing, such as linen. Stay indoors and rest during the hottest hours. Take a nap if needed.
- Go outside in the morning and evening to get fresh air and move around to stimulate the lymphatic system.
- As stated above, try to keep active, but stick to simple and less strenuous activities.
- If possible, walk barefoot to ground yourself. It will help your blood circulation (viscosity) and to detoxify. If possible, when indoors, use a wrist or ankle grounding attachment connected to a grounding source such as a water element or the ground socket in a power outlet.
- When indoors, make sure to be in ventilated rooms. Keep windows open if possible.
- Remove all foods and liquids from view and easy access. Do not think about them. The first two days or so can be tricky as you are used/programmed to eat and drink regularly.
- Always breath trough you nose. Only talk when necessary as it will make your mouth feel dry for a while.
- When detoxing through phlegm, just spit it out. Same with saliva. Don’t swallow as it will activate digestion.
- There is no need for cleaning teeth or mouth rinsing. It may actually make you swallow by mistake.
There will be more information at Ungovernable.se, and I will be available there for basic consulting and answering your questions. When time allows, I will put all this and a lot more into an easy and very affordable guide with detailed strategic approaches and exactly what to expect every day during a longer dry fast (and what is happening in your body day for day.)
Thank you for reading!