Could Fasting be the key to Mental Wellness?
Mental health issues like suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety are growing at alarming rates. Fasting for mental wellness may be a winning combination! Let’s dive a little deeper…
According to the CDC:
- Between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of American adults aged 20 and over had depression in any 2-week period.1
- Women were almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression (10.4% and 5.5% respectively).1
- Nearly 80% of adults with depression and anxiety said it affected their work, home and/or social life.1
Children deal with depression and anxiety too.
In another report by the CDC, Children aged 3-17 are being affected as well.
- 8% of children have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder (ADHD)2
- 3% have anxiety2
- 1% are diagnosed as having depression2
Why do so many people of all ages struggle with mental unrest? Could these problems be a symptom? Is your body is trying to tell you something? Something may be wrong, and it needs to be investigated further. Here is where fasting for mental health comes into play.
In many cases we often focus on the symptoms, NOT the root cause of the problem. We often accept what has been prescribed to help suppress those symptoms. In other words, a short-term fix instead of a long-term solution.
There is a place and time for those symptomatic antidotes. However, we shouldn’t stop there. While we are getting a reprieve from our symptoms, we must take that time to investigate the root cause of our issue to change the long-term trajectory of our lives. One avenue of research is to learn how fasting for mental health may be beneficial.
Fasting for Mental Health: A Link Between Food and Depression?
There are many reasons for mental disorders however there is one potential culprit that doesn’t get the attention it deserves and that’s the food we consume. Some studies show that there may be a correlation between gluten and depression:
- Gluten allergies may cause malabsorption, which is the inability to properly absorb nutrients. As a result, brain functions may be compromised.
- A study published by Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics believes gluten might affect the amount of tryptophan and serotonin in the body, which gives feelings of happiness.4
- The same study discovered that gluten ingestion was associated with higher depression symptoms in participants compared to participants taking a placebo.4
If you suffer from depression and anxiety, take a good look at the foods you eat.
Fasting for Mental Health: A Powerful Combination
Before fasting, it’s important to understand why you should do it. Many of the foods we consume today are food like substances with no nutritional value. they are loaded with refined sugars, preservatives, food colorings, GMOs, and other additives like gluten. In addition to being a significant factor of health issues such as Morbidly Obese and have Auto immune issue, these ingredients are making us sick in ways our parents never experienced.
Do you know fasting is the oldest health practice known to man? It’s done by every religious practice and is discussed even in early writing history. Fasting doesn’t just heal physically but can benefit you spiritually and emotionally as well.
When we choose to fast intermittently, we refrain from eating for 14 hours or more. This means we are giving our bodies the opportunity to heal itself naturally from the inside out. Consuming toxic ingredients affects our bodies’ ability to produce tryptophan and serotonin. Instead of producing these “feel good” chemicals, they are replaced with chemicals that could increase levels of depression and anxiety and other mental health issues.
In addition to removing toxic food choices fasting allows the body to eliminate bad cells from the body through the process of autophagy. Autophagy means the body will always eat the bad cells and tissues for energy before using the good ones. Bad cells are not able to adapt to using fat for energy, so they begin to die off and become food for the body. Therefore fasting, and mental health is such a powerful combination.
Can CBD Help During Fasting?
From the CBDclinicals.com article: CBD Oil When Fasting - February 2022
“Leptin is the hormone which makes an individual feel full or satiated. When CBD is taken at the end of an eating period, cravings may be eased for a stress-free fast.”
There are many studies that tout the benefits of fasting on our mental health:
1Prevalence of Depression Among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2013–2016.https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db303.htm
2Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html
3Addiction to Antidepressants. https://www.addictioncenter.com/stimulants/antidepressants/
4Peters SL, e. (2018). Randomised clinical trial: gluten may cause depression in subjects with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity – an exploratory clinical study. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24689456 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
5Hussin NM, e. (2018). Efficacy of fasting and calorie restriction (FCR) on mood and depression among ageing men. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24097021 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
6Towers, A., Oelschlager, M., Patel, J., Gainey, S., McCusker, R. and Freund, G. (2018). Acute fasting inhibits central caspase-1 activity reducing anxiety-like behavior and increasing novel object and object location recognition.
7Singh, H., Kaur, T., Manchanda, S. and Kaur, G. (2018). Intermittent fasting combined with supplementation with Ayurvedic herbs reduces anxiety in middle aged female rats by anti-inflammatory pathways.