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Fasting with Medical Conditions

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Re: Fasting and gallstones
03 Jul 2015, 19:24
I was exactly the same. It was actually easy to do 24 or approaching 35 hour fasts and the weight fell off at a kilo a week and I am mid 50's. I do find that the lemon juice / linseed oil is ok and doesn't start hunger pangs like real food does.
I spoke to my GP about getting that medicine that may sometimes inhibit gallstones from forming but they dont prescribe it where I live - although in some countries when they fit gastric bands they either give this medicine or even take the gall bladder out as they know so many people who have them fitted go on to have gall stones.
I do wonder if the routine and ubiquity of gall bladder operations doesn't stop research into alternative solutions?
Re: Fasting and gallstones
03 Jul 2015, 20:44
Yes, sadly it is one of the organs that they say we can do without, so they don't really worry about it. Of course, people do perfectly well after they have their gall bladder removed, but all the same... a bit like the appendix, we now know that it is a repository for our good gut flora. They used to say it had no purpose....
Re: Fasting and gallstones
03 Jul 2015, 21:49
Yes, and still an operation with anaesthetic risk.
Re: Fasting and gallstones
04 Jul 2015, 07:11
I think I mentioned that I thought there was a relationship with beans and my painful episodes? Just came across this study, which perhaps explains the link.
Re: Fasting and gallstones
04 Jul 2015, 13:37
Your link took me on to this - via looking at Cholecystokinin octapeptide and gall bladder function page 312 here: ... y.&f=false ... 88484.html
I don't pretend to understand it all but it's quite interesting - I suppose that's not the best thing - to understand bits and bobs!
Re: Fasting and gallstones
05 Jul 2015, 07:09
Thanks @bleubell, I wasn't able to see anything from the first link to the book. But the stuff about CCK is interesting. I am very much of the view that protein and fats are great for filling you up! Perhaps either protein or fat would be good for ensuring that the gall bladder keeps active. Am thinking a boiled egg for breakfast on fast day and maybe a small yogurt along the way. I am also investigating which other foods may stimulate bile flow. I find it interesting that gall bladder problems are linked to certain populations and it seems that there are both genetic and dietary factors at work.
Re: Fasting and gallstones
09 Jul 2015, 16:38
Hi @Belindab and @Bleubell

I have had another look through the scientific literature to see what I could find out about gallstone disease (GSD). Not much about fasting still, but some interesting work on the higher risk of GSD with high fasting blood glucose and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLD), which indirectly point to insulin resistance as a risk factor. As NFLD has been suggested to be associated with a high fructose intake, this may also be a risk factor. I also found a study showing that GSD risk was reduced with higher alcohol intake (but not excessive alcohol consumption obviously).

The type of gallstones is also relevant, with mixed cholesterol GS being common in those with Moor ethnicity and/or a body mass index above 25, while black pigment GS were significantly common among patients with Type 2 diabetes:

There is an association between thyroid disorders and the presence of bileduct stones: and longer fasting may lower thyroid function. Although studies of fasting and thyroid function suggest any decrease in thyroid function happens after 36 hours, biological variation means that for some it happens earlier.

Curiously, an antibiotic, ceftriaxone, has a tendency to cause temporary gallstones and fasting can worsen this.

I am sure you are right that it is the lack of contraction of the gallbladder during the fasting period that encourages sludge formation, as this is what seems to happen on a low fat high carb diet also. I was wondering whether the bulletproof coffee that the low carbers are so keen on might be of value. By having some fat it keeps insulin down and the body in fasting mode but might the gallbladder a work out? I found this article on gallstones and low carb high fat diet: The advice there is to eat a high fat diet but to increase the fat levels slowly if you already have gallstones.

What the risk is of developing gallstones with routine 24 hour fasts is hard to work out as the other factors will be important too (the three Fs - or perhaps four if we add fructose - speed of weightloss, ethnic heritage and background diet etc.).

I do hope you are able to find your way through this minefield and end up with a healthy gallbladder and also able to find a way to continue your way of fasting and eating.
Re: Fasting and gallstones
13 Jul 2015, 11:30
Thanks for your reply Caroline. It will be interesting to see what results I get from the MRI scan in August. I am scheduled to have my gall bladder removed in September, after the surgeon comes back from his holidays. I really wish I could find a way to avoid surgery; but obviously I don't want to take unnecessary risks. For now, I am splitting my calories on fast days and hoping that calorie restriction will enable me to continue getting some health benefits.
I was interested to read that in the case of people who had been fed intravenously, and developed biliary sludge, that in a number of cases this seemed to spontaneously disappear after they returned to normal eating.
Re: Fasting and gallstones
13 Jul 2015, 12:50
Fingers crossed that increasing your frequency of eating fat will sort the problem out @belindab. :clover:

I was pondering the other day (as I sat on the train on the way to the London meet up), that it was a bit surprising that a couple of 24 hour fasts a week could really be enough to trigger gallstones, even if done for many years. It is surprising that just two days of longer fasting could do this. I wondered whether you were combining your fast days with 16:8 or at least a relatively long overnight fast and that the total hours of fasting per week might be relevant? Just a thought...
Re: Fasting and gallstones
13 Jul 2015, 20:53
I only ever do 2, non-consecutive fast days a week, where I eat dinner, then drinks only until dinner the next day, so 24 hours of fasting each time, followed by a 400-500 calorie meal and then breakfast the next morning. I eat normally, 3 meals a day, apart from that.

I want to differentiate here between gallstones and biliary sludge. As far as I am aware, I don't actually have any sizeable stones, just a lot of diffuse looking cloudiness,. If you read some of the studies, it is quite clear that sludge can develop quite quickly, as can stones in fact, much faster than I had previously been led to believe.

I may have covered some of this before, but let me try and explain what I think is happening. I have slightly elevated cholesterol. It is a good bit lower than it used to be, but still, there is enough there that I don't doubt it is being freed up during a fast day. Which means that within the gall bladder there is a super-saturation of cholesterol, because of the prolonged inactivity. Now, I don't understand enough about the other two parts of the triangle - bile salts and lecithins - to figure out why these are out of balance and hence predisposing the situation to form crystals. There is something to do with nucleation time which is a bit beyond me at the moment. So then, after eating, there is the sudden intense contraction of the gall bladder which causes ejection of some of the cloud, and hence the problem. Now I know from a relatively recent scan, not connected with a painful episode, that my gall bladder appeared enlarged, but no note was made of any stones or sludge, so I am thinking that it may well be the case that between events, the sludge may be cleared.

So what makes the difference that occasionally causes there to be a problem? (Bearing in mind that I have no symptoms of gallstones apart from these rare isolated incidents and a lingering rise of some liver enzymes in blood tests).

The thing that had struck me before was that I noted a correlation between my painful episodes and the prior consumption of beans (butter beans or baked beans). It does seem extraordinary that this could trigger something within a few hours, so of course it could be entirely coincidental, but there is the possibility of a direct connection. I will continue with my research and hope that I am indeed a rare isolated incident!
Re: Fasting and gallstones
13 Jul 2015, 21:45
So, as always with biology, it's complicated, sigh...
Re: Fasting and gallstones
06 Oct 2018, 11:25
Yes fasting and gallstones is not a good thing, I had to learn the hard way. If you are prone to gallstones you really should avoid fasting (IF) this article explains it pretty well hope it helps ... allstones/
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