Fasting Restrictions

Are there any conditions that restrict fasting?
There is no such thing as being too old to fast—it is exactly what the body needs to feel young again.Shorter fasts are recommended to start.Assess your physical state as you proceed. If juice fasting becomes too intense, bananas and avocados will lessen the intensity by slowing the cleansing.

Most people can juice fast safely for up to 30 days but there are exceptions.If you are concerned, we suggest consulting a reputable Naturopath. They can outline a fast suited for your condition.

By Tom Coghill of
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11 Responses to Fasting Restrictions

  1. Kay says:

    I posted a question on here a few months ago before I began my first juice fast. I spent weeks reading the info on this site, bought a juicer, stocked up on organic fruits and veggies, and was only hoping for a good cleansing, perhaps a little internal healing, to feel better afterwards. I was young, fit, and lived a healthy lifestyle… little did I know how quickly an innocent juice fast would go horribly wrong!!

    Long story short: fasting is NOT for everyone. If you have ever been jaundiced (eyes or skin turned yellow) when you were sick, stressed or dehydrated, or if you start turning yellow at any point during your fast: please stop fasting and see your doctor!

    Three to seven percent of the population has a liver disorder called Gilbert’s Syndrome. Normally this syndrome causes no symptoms, no problems –- except when your liver is stressed (eg. by illness, infection, dehydration, or fasting), which causes your bilirubin levels to rise above normal. It is typically diagnosed in the teenage years, 20s or 30s, typically following an episode of jaundice that is triggered by one of these stressors.

    My story: I slipped up about 4 days into my first fast, and a few days later tried fasting again. Slipped up again, this time 6 days in. Few days later started my third try: this time, about 4 days into the fast I noticed my eyes turning a bit yellow. By day 7 my skin had a slight yellow colour and I was very weak and nauseous. By day 10 my eyes and skin were very yellow, I was so nauseous I struggled to keep sips of fluid down, and was having abdominal pain. At this point I tried to break the fast, but I couldn’t keep anything down without vomiting. Saw my doctor, who ran some tests, my bilirubin was 3 times higher than normal, imaging tests were ordered to rule out any serious problems. By day 15 I hadn’t kept *anything* down (even sips of water) in 48 hours. Between my 3 back-to-back attempts at fasting and being unable to keep anything down, I had lost 30lbs (in a month my BMI went from a healthy 22.5 to 17.6!). On day 16 I was rushed to the ER due to severe dehydration. I was immediately admitted and started on IV fluids. I stayed in hospital for over 2 weeks. My bilirubin soared to 12 times higher than normal, I was extremely weak, lethargic, and jaundiced, having severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. This lasted 2 weeks, despite all the medications they had me on. I had dozens of tests before my doctors figured out it was Gilbert’s Syndrome. Fortunately I am now tolerating solid food again and on my way to recovery. I am slowly regaining some of my strength and weight, but I was extremely ill for three weeks. I missed a month of work, and a lot of lean muscle mass which I am now struggling to rebuild. So please be aware that fasting is not for everyone!! If you have ever had episodes of unexplained yellowing of the eyes or skin, please PLEASE do not fast. For everyone who is fasting, or thinking about fasting: listen to your body, and if you experience any worrisome symptoms like I did, please stop fasting immediately and see your doctor. I learned about my condition the hard way, I can’t even begin to tell you what I’ve been through because of something as innocent as a juice fast! Fortunately I got medical help fairly early on… I can only imagine how much worse things could have gotten if I hadn’t sought out help when I did.

    • Tom Coghill says:
      Tom Coghill

      Hi Kay
      I am so glad you posted that. This is my first news of such a condition. I will have to add it to this site and study your post. This is why we have an open public form. Everyone is different. We will need to have some screening for this condition her at the hospital. I am traveling at the present. I will be giving your post the attention it deserves. How much juice per day were you drinking and what juices?

  2. Kay says:

    Hi Tom,

    I had no idea either that there were any medical conditions that could be exasperated by fasting. But apparently there are several genetic liver enzyme disorders, all of which can cause jaundice and other problems when the liver is stressed. Gilbert’s Syndrome is the most common, but there are several others as well. Typically people with them will experience slight yellowing when they’re ill, perhaps vague abdominal discomfort, but most are only diagnosed after a routine bilirubin blood test comes back a little high or after turning jaundiced while sick, stressed, dehydrated, or fasting. In my case, I had never experienced any problems before, never even had the slightest hint of jaundice before attempting this juice fast. And since I’m fairly young (27) I’d never needed “routine” liver function tests and never had my bilirubin tested before. I’d even done short water fasts before with no problem. But after my doctors explained the triggers, it was obvious that my fast was the precipitating factor. Then with not being able to keep anything down I also got extremely dehydrated, which made things even worse. So definitely a lesson learned… I still love my juicer, but I’ll be incorporating fresh juice into my diet rather than fasting again! :)

    Early on I was generally drinking 4-6 cups of juice per day, but as I started getting ill I was drinking significantly less, maybe 2-3 cups. So on average I was drinking one cup orange juice, one cup mixed fruits (apple/pear, orange/pineapple, strawberry/mango, cantaloupe), and about 3 cups veggie juice (mostly carrot, but also yam/carrot/apple, tomato, and some low sodium V8 juice when I didn’t have time to make fresh).

    If you have any other questions, please let me know. I’m certainly willing to share my experience and what I’ve learned about these conditions, especially if it might help prevent someone else from suffering through what I did.

    • Tom Coghill says:
      Tom Coghill

      Hi Kay,
      The staff will be discussing your information this week. We commonly do a kidney function and urine test. I always prefer a liver function test but there is very little money in the program. The test for bilirubin levels is pennies and easy with a urine test strip.
      How many days of fasting when the first sign of yellowing appeared.
      Would you say you have a fast, medium or slow metabolism.
      Are you thin or over wieght?
      Are you a nervous person or get excited easily like me. LOL.
      Were you under stress before the fast.
      If you were to eat a big steak or large amount of protein would that digest easily?
      Yellowing, stomach aches or a higher bilirubin level would be the flags to watch for. I think I can come up with some ways to protect the liver and reduce liver stress by increasing the juices, essential oils, B complex, vitamin E, Q 10, and one egg white daily or spirulina.
      With your info, I have a head start for changing protocols.

  3. Kay says:

    Hi Tom,

    A urine test strip wouldn’t screen for these disorders. There are 2 types of bilirubin: conjugated and unconjugated. Only conjugated bilirubin is excreted in urine, unconjugated bilirubin isn’t –- and it is the build-up of unconjugated bilirubin that is the problem. So unfortunately you can only test for it with a blood test. My “total bilirubin” blood test was 12x normal, but my conjugated bilirubin level was normal, and my urine bilirubin test was negative. So it was only my unconjugated bilirubin that was extremely elevated (this is what is being deposited in the eyes and skin causing them to look yellow). See

    Here are some other good sites for information:

    > How many days of fasting when the first sign of yellowing appeared.
    It was after about 7 days when I first thought my eyes were looking a bit yellow. They were obviously yellow around day 10-12. By day 15 my skin (face and torso) was also yellow.

    > Would you say you have a fast, medium or slow metabolism.
    Medium (but towards the slower side).

    > Are you thin or over weight?
    Thin. When I started fasting I was 135lbs 5’6″.

    > Are you a nervous person or get excited easily like me. LOL.
    Pretty calm and quiet. I just go with the flow.

    > Were you under stress before the fast.

    > If you were to eat a big steak or large amount of protein would that digest easily?
    Probably not. I’ve been mainly vegetarian for the last few years and have a slow digestive system (delayed gastric emptying), so I usually avoid large amounts of protein (and large meals in general).

    • Tom Coghill says:
      Tom Coghill

      Hi Kay,
      The answers you gave me indicate your liver was under normal stress load before the fast, and the fasting clearly aggravated as pre-existing condition due to the intensity of the detoxification that was higher that the liver could process. We can modify the treatment very quickly, and watch for positive blood chemistry changes. The interesting point is that you could deal with the toxin but your liver’s cleansing capacity was exceeded by the toxins in the blood. Yellowing of the skin in a cancer patient is always a fear and this condition could disrupt treatment if not adjusted to a protocol that is liver tolerable. Your research was excellent. I read each.

  4. Kay says:

    Hi Tom, glad you got some useful information out of that!

    I know my doctors warned me not to fast, but since getting out of hospital I’m still feeling so rundown and my joints have been bothering more than ever. I seem to have recovered otherwise. Last time I felt so good fasting from days 3-10, I guess until the toxins overwhelmed my liver. You mentioned increasing the juices, essential oils, B complex, vitamin E, Q 10, egg whites or spirulina as ways to reduce stress and protect the liver… So now you’ve got me wondering whether there might be a safe way I could fast without stressing my liver too much?? Would it even be beneficial, since I’m just recovering from being so sick? I’m really curious about how that might work. So if you really think there’s a way to reduce liver stress and need a “guinea pig” to try a protocol out on, let me know (up until this week I swore I’d never consider fasting again, lol, how things change!). I know from what happened last time the red flags to watch for, and I know my doctor would be willing to monitor my bilirubin level if I asked. At this point I’m just playing the idea (I certainly don’t want a relapse), but I’d be definitely be interested to hear what you’ve come up with.

    • Tom Coghill says:
      Tom Coghill

      Hi Kay,
      These liver conditions need detoxification to prevent further degeneration but the toxin release has to be contolled to a safe level.
      Detoxification problems are the same for heart conditions and several mental disorders, an over load of toxins can become a trigger. I am constantly watching the posts for alarm signals such as organ pain, sever blackouts, hair loss, emotional unstability or anything that may indicate liver or kidney stress beyond what is safe. I doubt very much if the treatment below would cause a relapse as detox rate is greatly reduced. You also have treatment safety monitors, with blood work and coloration.
      My liver and kidneys were so damage from drugs that my skin was permanantly yellow. I could only fast for a few days without intense pain in my lower back, (kidney pain). I had to do several smaller fasts, with 2 weeks between fasts, for my organs to heal enough to do a longer fast that caused permenant and complete recovery. But I did not know of the treatment I outlines as I was new to fasting and it was still uncommon knowledge.

      Treatment Protocal for Damaged Liver

      A modified juice fast with a juice intake to 2 to 3 litres a day.
      Juices should include beets 4 to 5 daily, and lemons 2-3 daily that have a healing effect on the liver.
      essescial oils like Udo’s Mix, 2 tbs 3 x a day.
      B complex 2x daily
      Vitamin E (400 IU 4 x daily) Q10
      Egg white raw and blended with some juice 2x a day.
      Spirulina 2 to 5 tablets, 4x daily
      There are several herbal fromulas for the liver that may help. Milk thistle being the most famous.

      This protocal also works for athletes engaged in intense training that want to strip body fat and increase muscle mass. The egg white are increased 10 to 20 daily.

      If there is any yellowing, which I would doubt as this protocal would cause less liver strain than eating a steak dinner, use slices of avocado. If you are nevous about undergoing this you could use the avocado slices for the first thee day as your liver could rest. The first three days can release the largest amount of toxins. Using the avocado will stretch that period over 6 to 10 day. The avocado slices will take your body to normal calorie intakeas and slow the detoxification to the maximium. Avocado is my preferred contol for catabosilm rate, the fat is slower to digest and so the calories are release slower than the second choice, banana. Using both creates smooth blood sugar curves as the banana break down to sugar fairly fast and the avocado sugars later. The amount is subjective. A thin slice is usually enough with 1/8 to 1/4 bannana.
      This treatment would supply all your body would need and put the liver into a stress free condition to enable healing.

  5. Kay says:

    Very interesting, thanks Tom!
    This morning I woke up in more pain than I have in months. Before this all started I had been on prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories, but my doctor originally thought those might be the culprit so I’ve been off them for a while and had been hoping not to go back on them. But at this point I have to do something. I spent all day reading and researching, and I think you’re right about the modified juice fast. So I’m going to give it a try before resorting to med’s. I picked up the supplements you recommended (except spirulina which I couldn’t find), and I’ll include some banana every few hours for the first 2 or 3 days and see how that goes (can’t use avocado – I’m allergic). I think I’ll also incorporate some whey protein since I have mild protein deficiency and still need to rebuild lost muscle mass (plus I don’t want to lose too much weight – I’m still well below where I originally started at, and I was thin to begin with!). I’m going to start my modified fast in the morning. This should be an interesting experiment!

    • Tom Coghill says:
      Tom Coghill

      Hi Kay,
      I think you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. As my liver and kidneys healed I could do longer fasts until finally at the 28th day mark the healing was complete, and remained to this day.

  6. Kay says:

    Thanks Tom. I’m taking it slow and steady. Was a little weak and nauseous today, but otherwise so far so good. The banana and proteins certainly seem to be slowing the process, but for some reason I always struggle to drink enough. Tomorrow I plan to cut out the banana and will really try to up my juice intake.