Muscle Loss During Fasting

When we do an extended fast, as in intentionally abstaining from eating for three days or longer, the body goes into a deep recycling and repair state called the Repair State.

As soon as the hormonal signals activate from our time without food, the body will process what it has in its system and then go into preservation mode and increase human growth hormone (HGH) to preserve the muscle it has and start to ramp up the internal recycling system to use and reuse what it has efficiently.

When we are eating regularly in the “Fed State,” the body will naturally recycle 700% more protein daily than we consume from our diet. So, if we eat 100 grams of protein in our diet, the body will turn over 700 more grams of protein from itself.

When we stop eating and abstain for longer periods, this natural recycling process goes into high gear, increasing the recycling and repair of what it has.  

While in the fasted state, the body will use fat for energy while still making the exact amount of glucose (sugar) that it needs from many different available internal raw materials like glycerol from triglycerides, ketone bodies from fat metabolism, lactate from muscle activity, as well as from certain amino acids.

The amino acids used to make glucose are the most abundant in our body and are found in every tissue and organ. These amino acids can come from the repair process of breaking down inefficient cells or parts of cells. They come from fat loss (fat mass is 10% protein), scar tissue removal, and biomass debris accumulated from extended time spent in the fed state that cancer cells could otherwise use to build tumors.

Muscle loss is described during extended fasting as muscle volume decreases without losing any actual muscle fiber or functional tissue.

The experiences and data we collected during our last “30-Day Fasting Challenge” with 32 dedicated participants confirm this process and support what I will say next. Remember, this data is one of a kind in this field and subject matter and should not be overlooked by anyone pursuing fasting or looking to learn how to do it well or its benefits. 

Fat and muscle cells are not lost or gained. They change in volume, either shrinking when losing weight or expanding when gaining it.

muscle loss

When fat or muscle volume is decreased, it can and will return when certain dietary and lifestyle efforts are performed accordingly. 

When we take measures to lose body fat and decrease fat cell volume, we all know it can come back quickly and relatively easily if we return to the diet and behaviors that caused us to gain it in the first place. 

Muscle is no different. When we experience a decrease in muscle volume, it will return relatively quickly and easily if we maintain the right diet and exercise efforts to support that.

What doesn’t during this muscle volume return are the inefficient cells, mitochondria, muscular triglycerides, scar tissue, plaque, or damaged and dysfunctional cells we had before the fasting process.

What doesn’t return is the toxic build-up unless we start right back to re-toxing.

What can occur is the repopulation of new stem cells into the body’s organs and tissues resulting in more efficient function and healing.

If we know how to do it right and actually do what is needed, that is.

When we fast, the body starts to target these damaged cells for potential “upgrades.”

The “upgrade” process goes like this:

  1. Identify the damaged cell in need of an upgrade

  2. Efficiently break down the damaged cell for recycling

  3. Call for the NEW replacement cell to be made from scratch

  4. Incorporate the NEW cell to replace the damaged one

  5. Start to integrate and lock in that new upgrade

Result: A new, stronger, younger, healthier cell.

Compounding result: stronger, healthier, younger tissue, muscle, brain, organ, skin….where ever this process occurs.

THIS is called healing. This is called improvement. This is called anti-aging.

Will you lose strength from this muscle protein breakdown and upgrade process?

Not if done correctly. 

The body keeps this process under tight control so as not to risk the functional output of the muscle and will RAISE HGH (Human Growth Hormone) once done to PRESERVE our actual muscle fiber from prolonged fasting.

In fact, if planned and executed well, one will be measurably and visually stronger and leaner because of it. I call it the”Anabolic Rebound” or “Muscle Make-Over.”

Efficiency trumps size. Muscle at all costs could be costing you years of life and quality in those years.

Learn to fast the right way; you will always be better off. Always. 

Our body is designed to spend time in the fasted state regularly; when we don’t, the entire body starts to break down.

Message me if you want to enroll in a fasting program to walk you through step by step, day by day, exactly how to get the most that fasting offers.

We can do better!

Dr. Don