Diseases of Civilization (02:02)
Life expectancy is increasing in western countries, but illness like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer are exploding along with the consumption of medications that cause side effects. Fasting is praised by religions but often ignored by science.
Goryaschinsk Spring Sanatorium (02:23)
An experiment is taking place in the heart of Russia on the Siberian Plains. For the last 15 years fasting has become a central part of public health policy. It is based on 40 years of scientific studies unknown in the west. Asthma and allergies are being treated.
Fasting Program (02:12)
Fasting is a universal method that can be effective against several diseases. Under medical supervision the patients drink only water and stop medication for chronic conditions. The involvement of a professional is fundamental.
Acidosis Crisis (02:26)
10,000 patients have followed fasting programs at Goryaschinsk Spring Sanatorium, seeking treatment for asthma, rheumatism, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and allergies. The body must learn to live off its reserves after detoxification.
Ketone Bodies (02:11)
Glucose, fats, and proteins are the body's fuels. After a day of fasting the body must make glucose out of protein. Exercise, body wraps, saunas, and colonic irrigation are prescribed to increase organ function.
Psychological Hunger (01:05)
As the body adapts to fasting the head doesn't always follow. Patients have noticed that the psyche influences the body and can make it feel needs that it no longer has. A sense of euphoria sets in when hunger subsides.
Experiments in Fasting. (02:30)
Is the decrease in symptoms of patients who fast a placebo effect, or an effect of euphoria? Research was done in secret labs in the Soviet Union 60 years ago. Dr. Yuri Nikolayev observed the benefits of fasting in a patient who refused to eat.
Scientific History (02:19)
Dr. Yuri Nikolayev's son remembers the strong opposition to his father's research from the medical community. Nikolayev undertook a vast research program to silence critics. Psychiatrists noted fasting had an impact on mental illness.
Explanation of Fasting Effects (03:06)
Nikolayev noticed physical ailments improved with fasting. Researchers confirmed the results. Stress is an adapted response to environmental change. Faced with starvation, the body triggers an alert, which sets off hormonal and endocrine changes.
Evidence of Healing Ability (03:09)
Research has shown fasting eliminates histamines that lead to bronchial spasms. Pharmaceutical companies in the west are not interested in the published data used to establish fasting as part of public health policy in the Soviet Union.
Fasting for Liver Health (02:01)
Fasting is done in a group at a center in Germany. Patients visit the Buchinger Clinic to seek relief from chronic illnesses and also for the prevention and control of risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
Buchinger Clinic in Germany (02:39)
Low calorie soups soften the process of acidosis. A dramatic recovery from rheumatic fever led the clinic's founder to explore the therapeutic possibilities of fasting. A patient explains how she was able to stop taking medication for rheumatism.
Eating after Fasting (01:51)
Depending on the severity of the disease and how long it has been established, stopping medication is not always possible. A patient suffering from severe arthritis is trying to reduce his dosage through fasting.
Buchinger Method at Public Hospitals (04:34)
There is a lucrative market for treatment of chronic diseases. Putting fasting at the center of the health care market and cutting profits of pharmaceutical companies is a long way off. Things are starting to change in Germany thanks to research.
Fasting Mechanism in Animals (03:22)
Emperor penguins practice spontaneous fasting. Research shows that the body reserves proteins and uses fats for energy during the second stage of the fasting process. The rats' bodies function in a similar way.
Surviving Periods of Starvation (01:53)
Research shows that an average healthy person can fast for 40 days. The ability to fast must have been a coping mechanism shaped by evolutionary history.
Benefits of Extreme Caloric Restriction (03:55)
An Italian researcher at USC who studies gerontology aims to delay chronic diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer. His research showed that fasting mice injected with chemotherapy were more likely to survive than those with normal diet.
Early Stage of Fasting Trial (03:16)
Heavy media coverage ensued after papers were published that showed fasting protected mice from the side effects of chemotherapy. The discovery was taken very seriously at the Norris Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles.
Norris Hospital Study Results (02:41)
A judge from Los Angeles tells her story and meets the scientists who have given her hope after her breast cancer diagnosis. She felt healthier and experienced fewer side effects when she fasted before her chemotherapy sessions.
Cell Protection Mode and Chemotherapy (03:03)
Fasting modifies the function of cells. After two days of fasting the genes of the cancer cell are expressed in the opposite way to those of the healthy cell. Cancer cells have mutated and no longer possess the evolutionary protection mode.
The Science of Fasting: Epilogue (02:45)
The research started by Nikolayev continues, but fasting is too expensive for many Russians. It is still available at the Goryaschinsk Spring Sanatorium. Is the world ready to rethink the health care system and reduce profits for pharmaceutical companies?
Credits: The Science of Fasting (00:48)
Credits: The Science of Fasting
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