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On a daily basis we are all exposed to a wide variety of toxic environmental chemicals in the pesticides on our produce, in airborne pollution from the burning of fossil fuels for energy, in the cans and plastic bottles that contain the foods and beverages we eat and drink, and in an array of waste products produced by a variety of industries. In addition, there are a number of toxic by-products of normal metabolism produced by the body itself, like uric acid and blood urea nitrogen that can be measured by a routine blood test.

Many of these environmental toxins are derived from petroleum based oils and fossil fuels and can dissolve in oil or fat (fat soluble). When you are exposed to these chemicals, your body will attempt to detoxify and eliminate them as efficiently and quickly as possible. However, these internal waste products and outside toxins cannot usually be eliminated as quickly as they are created or encountered. So whatever you can’t immediately eliminate will be retained to some extent in the bloodstream or stored in fat cells, away from normal blood circulation, to protect the cells and organs of your body.

How Does Water-only Fasting Support Detoxification?

Since fat is the major source of energy in water-only fasting, when it is metabolized for energy during a fast, toxins stored in fat cells will be released and targeted to organs like skin, lungs, kidney and intestines for elimination. This release of toxic chemicals from your fat cells, and subsequent removal by your body, is the process of detoxification.

Keep in mind that your body is always directing its blood supply to satisfy the needs at hand. For example, perhaps you have had the experience of eating a big meal and trying to exercise too soon after eating. As a result, you may have experienced muscle cramps because your blood oxygen supply was focused on your digestive function and not as available for the oxygen demands of muscular activity.

Does Detoxification Cause any Symptoms During a Water Fast?

Since you do not need blood going to organs of digestion during a water only fast, the body’s blood supply is increased to skin and lungs (your largest organs for detoxification), kidneys etc. to significantly increase elimination and detoxification. The result of this activity can be a panorama of symptoms that happen during a water only fast including mucous discharge, fatigue, headache, joint pain, nausea, skin lesions, rashes etc. But it is important to embrace these actions and realize that they have been set in motion by the wisdom of the body during water-only fasting to promote your healing and recovery.

Furthermore, water-only fasting is a deep physiological resting process that should always be done under resting conditions to conserve and harbor energy for healing. As a result, the energy that would be used for normal growth, and the procuring and digestion of food, is available for maintenance, repair and detoxification. The increase in detoxification is a major and important factor for the promotion of optimal health and is one of the most powerful benefits of water-only fasting.

by Dr. Frank Sabatino

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