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Can fasting make you look younger?


There are a lot of reasons why our skin ages, but the cause is always the same. Whether it is weight gain, smoking, sun exposure, plastic surgery, poor diet, or anything else, the cause of aged skin is the accumulation of damage over time. But the reason why a 20 year old can smoke, get sunburnt and drink and still look 20 is because the body is efficient at repairing damage whereas an aged body is not. And that means an aged body contains a greater accumulation of damage over time than a young one, and the result is an older appearance with wrinkled, thin and sagging skin. 

But what exactly is it about a young body that makes it more robust to damage to maintain a youthful look? And what is it that we slowly lose with time that results in the gradual aging of our skin?

I believe I got a hint at what this may be while I was driving home with my friends from the Del Mar Racetrack. Normally the conversation is reserved for complaining about how a bet was a lock and why one horse should have won and it was a robbery that someone else got to the finish line first, but this evening it was different. One of my friends who has a penchant for cheating systems was regaling us with the period of time in his life when he experimented with supplement cocktails for bodybuilding purposes. He then mentioned, somewhat as an aside how he once used Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and how it improved his muscle tone and also made it look like he had a facelift. 

At this point I am actually paying attention, how could a hormone injection meant for bodybuilding give a facelift-like effect? I then learned that he also bought the (black market) injections for a few model friends of his who used them for anti-aging purposes.

I was aware that HGH is a type of hormone that promotes cell reproduction, growth and repair, but this was the first I was hearing that it had potential for significant anti-aging results. HGH injections are available from a medical doctor and are typically used on juvenile patients with diseases that affect their growth or adults with diseases that affect the body's ability to repair itself. HGH's ability to repair adult tissue is a hint towards its anti-aging potential.

And it makes sense: a hormone that promotes the birth and renewal of cells and cleans up cellular damage would keep the body young. And it makes even more sense that, because the body produces less and less HGH with age, that the decline of this hormone is concurrent with an aged appearance. 

Now, HGH injections are only available by prescription from a medical doctor. But that does not mean that I wasn't able to find them off (or black) market immediately. The problem with this is that although hormones can do good, they can also do bad as well. Hormones such as HGH promote the proliferation of cells, which means that it can also promote the uncontrolled proliferation of cells, also known as cancer. 

I wouldn't be able to get over the fact that if I got a disease like cancer, it was because of my poor life decisions. This is why I quit smoking and eating meat. So the thought that I could get cancer over a vanity decision like increasing my body's HGH levels just to look a little nicer was enough to turn down the option of getting the HGH injections.

I created OUMERE because I am an advocate for having your body do what it does naturally. Instead of putting hyaluronic acid in my skin care, I made skin care that promotes your body's ability to make hyaluronic acid. Instead of putting collagen in my skin care, I created a system to have your body make collagen on its own. The obvious thing to do with HGH was to see what, if anything, I could do naturally, to promote my body's own HGH, which would be done in a controlled way by the body without worry of the insalubrious effects from synthetic hormone injections. 

I believe I found it with fasting.

Fasting is nothing new, but the scientific studies on the health effects are relatively recent. There exist a healthy body of studies spanning almost 100 years on the subject of fasting, from intermittent to long-term, and its positive effects on the human body. One such positive effect of fasting is the significant increase in HGH.

One study found that after 3 days of fasting, HGH increased by 300% and after 5 days it peaked at 1250%. Another study found that after a 5 day fast HGH increased up to 267%. Other studies found that fasting can cause HGH levels to double or triple within 2 to 3 days of a fast.

 

Intermittent fasting, which is fasting just for a 16 hour window, although having its own set of health benefits, did not show a significant HGH increase.

Fasting has been known for quite some time to promote longevity. In addition to increasing HGH, subjects who undergo a fast show a reduction in blood glucose levels, IGF (insulin growth factor), and a reduction in weight. All of which promote health and lifespan. 

Lets go back to the old normal

I believe that people today are now more sick than in the past. Although infant mortality has declined, children and adults do not live healthy lives and this begets disease. The average woman in America today weighs just as much as the average man weighed in the 1950s and that is a bad thing. High weight from over eating, and bad eating coupled with a sedentary lifestyle is the reason why our population is unhealthy. And the glorification of obesity that I see now in advertisements to coddle overweight people about their appearance instead of promoting health isn't exactly helping either. 

A fast may not be right (or medically safe) for everyone, but there is something to be said about what it can do for our bodies. The human body does not want to be heavy and sedentary. When you treat your body terribly by eating a diet of preserved meats, processed sugar, and sit all day it is going to break down because you are breaching the evolutionary warranty your body came with. It is no coincidence that healthy people look youthful and sick people do not. The moral of the story is that your body is a tremendous machine. And when you keep it running properly and provide it with regularly scheduled maintainence and rest it will do what it does best, naturally. And you will look and feel better because of it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Kerndt PR, Naughton JL, Driscoll CE, Loxterkamp DA. Fasting: the history, pathophysiology and complications. West J Med. 1982 Nov;137(5):379-99. PMID: 6758355; PMCID: PMC1274154.

Hartman ML, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, Lee MM, Alberti KG, Samojlik E, Thorner MO. Augmented growth hormone (GH) secretory burst frequency and amplitude mediate enhanced GH secretion during a two-day fast in normal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Apr;74(4):757-65. doi: 10.1210/jcem.74.4.1548337. PMID: 1548337.

Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, Furlanetto R, Evans WS, Alberti KG, Thorner MO. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. J Clin Invest. 1988 Apr;81(4):968-75. doi: 10.1172/JCI113450. PMID: 3127426; PMCID: PMC329619.