On 14 Jan 2019, I saw my doctor and discussed my interest in trying a 72-hour fast. I explained that I have been doing intermittent fasting for the last 20 days and I also experienced one 24-hour fast already. I am feeling great, and I wanted to explore the possibility of a prolonged fast that could also help boost my immune system.
I had chemoradiation 17 months ago, and my white blood cell count has been running at a moderately-low level for a few months now. I was told that if I got a fever, I would have to go to the hospital, as “leukopenia” can make it difficult for my body to fight off infection. Also, whenever I get a little cut or something, I am very diligent at making sure I keep it clean and put Polysporin on it.
My doctor explained to me that a prolonged fast will make the liver work harder and my body may experience “starvation” mode. She explained that there are many people who fast for religious reasons, and in fact, her mom has done 72-hour fasts (she would drink only water and black tea or coffee.) She told me that she, herself, couldn’t do it. She also said she can’t “promote fasting” and suggested I speak to a dietician (as it is provided by our provincial healthcare services). I was quite convinced that I can do it without the dietician’s involvement, and I am motivated to see if it can help improve my immune system (as there are studies that show it can help).
TedXEchoPark with Dr. Valter Longo
My doctor cautioned that if I feel faint or lightheaded, that I should stop the fast and eat something. I told her I will make sure I stay safe and I will always have water and something to eat with me. She gave me a requisition for lab work – including blood glucose and white blood cell counts. She said to get my blood tested in a fasting state and about one month after my prolonged fast has ended.
I plan to do my 72-hour fast starting tonight, after dinner. I will document how it goes in a subsequent post. Wish me luck!
Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW