Medically Supervised Water Only Fasting In The Treatment Of Hypertension Pdf

Medically supervised water only fasting in the treatment of hypertension pdf

Under his guidance, the center has supervised fasts for thousands of patients and grown into one of the premier training facilities for doctors wishing to gain certification in the supervision of therapeutic fasting.

Medically Supervised Water-Only Fasting in the Treatment of Borderline Hypertension

Dr Goldhamer is on the faculty at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, where he teaches a course on clinical fasting. He is the primary investigator in 2 published, landmark studies that demonstrate the benefits of water-only fasting, and he is the author of The Health Promoting Cookbook and coauthor of The Pleasure Trap: Mastering The Hidden Force That Undermines Health and Happiness. Dr Goldhamer: I got started very young—about 16, actually. I wanted to be a better basketball player than my friend, Doug Lisle, who currently is the director of research and a clinical psychologist at TrueNorth Health Center.

We grew up together and he could always beat me in basketball.

Medically supervised water only fasting in the treatment of hypertension pdf

I was looking for an edge. So I started reading and came across the books on natural hygiene by Herbert Shelton, nd , and others, and it made a lot of sense.

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Ultimately, I met Alec Burton, ms c, do , dc , who specialized in fasting supervision. He was the president of the Pacific College of Osteopathic Medicine. There, I had a chance to see what happens when you do nothing intelligently or use fasting appropriately. And it was pretty mind-bending.

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So I saw a lot of people who I had been trained to not get well, get well, and they did that consistently through the use of fasting and a vegan SOS-free diet—a plant-based, whole-foods diet free of sugar, oils, and salts.

They applied this regimen in a variety of conditions from diabetes and cardiovascular disease to autoimmune diseases. Conditions that seemed to be tied to dietary excess tended to respond predictably to the use of fasting followed by a health-promoting diet.

We have been operating it for 30 years and had 10 patients go through the fasting protocol. We do first-level therapeutic order naturopathic intervention. So we actually are doing what would be considered naturopathic medicine. It is just naturopathic medicine that is not prominently practiced out in the real world: diet, sleep, exercise, and fasting. That is the dominant intervention that we do. TrueNorth Health Center is one of the few chiropractic-run inpatient facilities that I am aware of where chiropractic philosophy drives an integrative medical facility.

I think that makes us a rather unique situation as well, and it is particularly of interest to chiropractors who are interested in that type of exposure and training: a chance to work with a variety of doctors on an inpatient basis—actually working with sick people, seeing them get well, and using methodology consistent with what we were taught in school.

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We offer an internship program for doctors of chiropractic and naturopathic, as well as medicine, so that they can come in and do a rotation, either as part of their training or after their graduation, so they can get a chance to experience seeing sick people get well using diet and fasting.

We have our nonprofit foundation, a c 3 , called the TrueNorth Health Foundation, with the mission of public education and research. So our goal is to do primary research, which we have begun by looking at trying to identify these mechanisms, provide public education about the work that we are doing, and particularly train doctors who are interested in the application of these therapies.

What we are trying to do right now is to expand our research program and bring in people who are interested in helping us really ask and answer the question who we all are interested in. Dr Goldhamer: Absolutely.

It is very hard to gain direct inpatient control of subjects for long periods of time where you control all variables. It makes us an ideal human subjects research site. IMCJ : So far, what have you been able to report on the effects of fasting?

Medically supervised water only fasting in the treatment of hypertension pdf

Dr Goldhamer: We have been able to document the effect on cardiovascular disease. These people were all nonmedicated at the end of treatment, and so they dropped 60 points plus whatever effect medication might have been having on them prior to withdrawal.

We subsequently published a second paper in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine , or JACM , working at borderline hypertension on these people who had blood pressure that was high enough to increase the risk of death but not enough to justify medication. The effect sizes in this study were proportional to those of the JMPT article.

Medically supervised water only fasting in the treatment of hypertension pdf

We did a third paper where we looked at cost effectiveness. We took 30 consecutive union admissions and looked at their cost of medical care in total prior to and after this intervention.

They were able to reduce the cost of medical care more than the cost of the program in the first year. So we continued that for a number of years. And another summary paper appeared in the JACM looking at that data. Dr Goldhamer: We have recently received approval from the Bastyr University human subjects committee to do a long-term study with follow-up looking at obesity and hypertension.

We will be looking at biogenetic marker changes before and after fasting, as well as normal lab parameters and physical parameters. We hope to begin recruiting for that study in the next few weeks. We have also completed a major safety study of fasting.

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We took consecutive patients with fasting and looked at their adverse events, all-cause mortality, and complications for a safety study that we will hopefully be able to place in a major impact journal this year. They are just finishing the final work on the statistical analysis of that paper now, so we hope to submit that paper by summertime. IMCJ : Many people out there promote their own ideas for fasting.

Describe your approach to fasting. Dr Goldhamer: Fasting, by definition, is the complete absence of all substances except water in an environment of complete rest. So the clinical fasting or the therapeutic fasting that we do by definition is complete absence of all substances except pure, distilled water in an environment of rest.

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Our program supports fasts from 5 to 40 days in length. IMCJ : When would you consider fasting to be medically indicated? Dr Goldhamer: The process is really quite simple. Generally, patients coming to the TrueNorth Health Center, most often, are under a referral from physicians—clinicians refer their patients specifically for medically supervised, water-only fasting.

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Fifty percent of our patients come from out of state. Fifteen percent are foreign. We see about new people a year. Those people present with a variety of situations. Typically, the conditions that we treat are the ones that are determined to be the most responsive to fasting: the diseases of dietary excess. So we are talking about high blood pressure, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. These make up the majority of these people we treat.

The way that it works is the patients go online and complete our registration forms, which give us a detailed medical history. That is reviewed by me.

Medically supervised water only fasting in the treatment of hypertension pdf

The patients call for a free consult. We determine whether or not, based on history and a review of laboratory results, they are a likely candidate for a stay at the TrueNorth Health Center, whether it be for water fasting, modified fasting in the form of juices, or a healthy eating program.

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They may or may not be a candidate for fasting, but we have 5 chiropractors, a naturopath, a clinical psychologist, and 3 medical doctors on the staff.

So there are a variety of skills and services available from a management standpoint. Once they have been screened, every patient at the TrueNorth Health Center is seen by one of the medical doctors on staff for evaluation and medical management issues: dealing with getting rid of their drugs and other medical management issues.

When they are at the Center, they are seen twice a day by one of the staff doctors. Most of the time, that is going to be our doctors of chiropractic who do morning and evening rounds, where vitals are collected, questions are answered, and plans for the next day are formulated. They are also interacting with our interns. We have an active internship program, where about 30 physicians a year train with us in rotations that range from 1 month to 1 year. Fasting patients are put through an intensive educational program.

They are seeing a program in the morning at am and in the afternoon at pm. These include topics like exercise, meditation, yoga, cooking classes, and lectures with the staff doctors. Patients stay with us for a variety of times.

Medically supervised water only fasting in the treatment of hypertension pdf

Again, fasting ranges from 5 to 40 days. Every patient who fasts goes through a refeeding, which means that they have a period at least half the length of the fast for clinical refeeding. So a person who fasts for 3 weeks will typically be with us at least a month. IMCJ : How is the length of the fast determined? Dr Goldhamer: Fasting itself is diagnostic, as well as therapeutic, so careful clinical monitoring, observing the laboratory values, as well as the clinical values, guide us in advising a patient on duration.

For example, if a person has high blood pressure and they come in at over on medication, our goal is to get them stable, off all medications, as close to 90 over 60 as possible.


So we are going to fast until their blood pressure normalizes. However, we have to also recognize that people have limitations.


So we are monitoring their electrolyte levels, their clinical presentation, and so forth to ensure that we do not transition from the fasting state into the starvation state. Fasting is what happens when you have labile reserves that you are mobilizing and utilizing.

If you exceed those reserves, you enter a process called starvation. If you continue starvation, then the client would die, and that would be really bad for outcome data, so we try not to do that. I have to say that in 10 consecutive patients, everybody who has walked in for fasting has been able to walk out. We have no mortality associated with fasting to date, and as our safety data indicates, this is a safe and effective process when it is done according to protocol.

IMCJ : During a fast, what are the things that you are watching for? What are some of the adverse effects that could happen during a fast that you need to be careful of?

Medically Supervised Water-Only Fasting in the Treatment of Borderline Hypertension

Dr Goldhamer: Well, you would prefer not to have people die. So number 1 on the list is avoiding mortality. Patients are going to have all kinds of adverse symptoms. They are going to experience a foul taste in the mouth.

They are going to get low back pain in early phases of fasting because of referral activity from changes in the kidneys. They are often going to get skin rashes, discharges from mucous membranes, headaches, irritability, nausea, and vomiting. Orthostatic hypertension is a common issue, so we have to train patients to move slowly as they get up so they do not experience orthostatic events. Many times, people go through the classic healing crisis where chronic problems become acute, and it can become quite distressing.

Medically supervised water only fasting in the treatment of hypertension pdf