Common Physical Reactions To Fasting

By: Ron Lagerquist

"Most of these reactions are not symptoms of fasting but years of neglect, facing years of unhealthy eating manifested by pounds of unnecessary fat and toxins." 

Common Physical Reactions To FastingIt may be a garage piled to the ceiling with generations of junk, or a tub laminated with months of baths, a neglected letter to a friend, long overdue apology, or one day out of the blue, a call to fast. The longer left, the harder to face. But in the end, cleanup time will come calling. 

Fasting is like cleaning out a filthy garage, twenty, thirty, maybe fifty years of harmful food latent in every cell. Sometimes things must get worse before they get better. This has never been truer than with fasting. Fasting stirs up toxins on a cellular and spiritual level, resulting in days of discomfort. They surface in the forms of bad breath, cankers, nausea, feelings of sadness, remorse, even depression. All this can convince the faint of heart, fasting is bad.

Facing my box full of paper stung because it was a reminder of negligence. A fast can feel the same way, facing years of foolish eating manifested by pounds of unnecessary fat and toxins. Easier not to deal with it, right? Pack it away in the back of the mind. But when reality spills all over your life in the form of illness, then face it you must.

What you are about to read are common physical reactions to fasting. These reactions are not symptoms of fasting but years of neglect. I have often tried to imagine what the fasting experience was like during Jesus’ day. Their Lifestyle was severe, eating a simple diet consisting of organic whole foods; their air and water was absent from the soup of pollutants we are forced to assimilate daily. Fasting was a part of their faith; they often went short periods of time without food. If Peter or John read the list below, I think they would be surprised. We have talked about the law of sowing and reaping. The intensity of the following physical reactions will be a tangible measurement of your level of toxicity. Sometimes we must reap a bad harvest to make room for good seed, a body cleaned to receive a new diet.


Most are surprised by the disappearance of hunger once the border is crossed into fasting’s land of silence. After a day or two, hunger’s voice will be rare indeed. Craving can continue on for some days longer, and then at last there will be stillness, leaving the deep groans of the soul. Once the body quiets, the richer connection with our spiritual hunger can be felt. There is nothing like it! Wonderful freedom comes when flesh is forced into silence, sharpening perception of the greatest sound of all; God’s still small voice. 

The odd time hunger can flare up, more often in a juice fast than water. This could be due to excessive pulp in the juice, reawakening digestion. If hunger persists, try straining your juice or adding some prune juice to clean out the digestive tract.


Water fasting will result in weakness and lack of energy. There can even be dips in stamina during a juice fast if you have a high metabolism. Weakness is a vital part of fasting’s slowing down process. Embrace this wonderful quieting state; your expectations should be adjusted when planning a fast. Give yourself lots of down time; enjoy the holiday away from the hustle and bustle.


Back pain can increase due to toxins in the lower intestine. Blood vessels that draw nutrients from the colon are very close to the nerves of the spine. Back pain will often decrease after elimination of the toxins. Back exercises can also relieve some pain. A cold pack also will help. Using the enema kit will be the best remedy. 

Bad Breath

  Waste passes through the lungs, which are an eliminative organ. Brushing the tongue with a toothbrush using dental floss and rinsing with mouthwash will reduce bad breath.


Toxic build-up in the mouth and the absence of the washing-action of chewing food can allow an increase of bacteria between the teeth. The tongue becomes coated with waste. To stop cankers, gargle with sea salt mixed with water several times daily. Dabbing the sore with tea tree oil or vitamin E quickens the healing process. 

Cold Virus

Mucoid is the perfect food for viruses. Toxins weaken the immune system. When large quantities of toxins and mucus are in the blood due to a fast, they can cause susceptibility to colds. To fight a cold, continue fasting to eliminate mucus. Increase intake of citrus juices.


During fasting the body conserves energy. The heart pumps slower and blood pressure lowers. Standing or moving quickly from a resting position will cause the blood to flow to the legs, causing blackouts and dizziness. To stop blackouts get down on one knee or sit. Lowering your center of gravity will instantly stop a blackout. Blackouts are more frequent during water fasting.


Fruit juices have a laxative effect which is more pronounced after water fasting. The enema kit or using phylum husk during diarrhea helps regulate diarrhea. 


Toxins can cause muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders. This can result in tension headaches. Massaging the neck and shoulders will help relieve the tension. The herb Fever Few, which is available in health food stores, is well worth trying. 

Muscle Tightness


The muscles may become tight and sore due to toxin irritation. The legs can be affected, as toxins accumulate in the large muscles. A self-massage, hot baths, stretching and exercising will help to release the toxins. 


When waste is released too quickly by the lymph glands some of the toxic overload is taken by the liver and secreted with bile into the stomach. This causes nausea. Drinking water or carrot juice will dilute the bile and toxin mixture, helping to flush it from the system.


The elimination of toxins can irritate damaged nerves. Light exercise will relieve tension. Use quarter slices of avocado to slow the fast.

Skin Disturbances 

People with problem-free skin may have a few days of pimples or boils. A pallid complexion is also a sign of waste in the blood. When cleansed of mucus and toxins the skin will be healthy, soft and unblemished.


Sleepiness is normal during water or restricted juice fasting. Very few people receive enough rest, so enjoy the extra sleep; it may be as healing and rejuvenating as the fast itself. 

Related Article: The Detoxification Process

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Your Comments
First fast ever, and I was worried about how tired I've been feeling. Probably extra tired because of all the junk food I've lived off of, but I'm feeling reassured and am more stubborn to see this through. I know the benefits will definitely outweigh my current discomforts. I had to throw up at one point, but afterwards felt better than I have in weeks. I noticed after three days that my skin has been clearing up, which was a pleasant surprise. Definitely made me realize that the foods I eat really impact my complexion as well as overall health. I've also noticed since starting my fast that I'm more bored than usual. And that made me realize just how often I eat out of boredom. I may have thought I was hungry, but was really looking for something to do. When I'm done, these things will certainly be rectified.
This explained a lot to me. Made many things clear. Stiff neck muscles, nausea, blackouts: my lot. I was on a strict water fast, but after day 6 started having a small cup of plain yogurt with honey. (Is that ok? Am I interfering with the process?)
Thank you. I'm starting my fast tomorrow and will make sure to refer to this when feeling discouraged. I need to embrace the small sufferings that come with ultimate reawakening.
I experience most of the symptoms you have mentioned, can you explain to me why my legs hurt when I'm fasting? Recently I decided to skip a meal or two so I can burn fat quicker in my exercise program and surprisingly my legs began to hurt still.
Thank you, I have had four days of excruciating pain in my sacrum, I used to experience it when fasting for one day when younger and fitter. I guess this time I am really paying the price for a bad diet, but with this reassurance I can stick it out.
Thank you so much for making this information available. All my problems started after starting my new job. Workouts and diet were messed up if even existing. I felt weak in every sense, which lead to sadness, which lead to not eating. When I finally ate I felt sick and noticed all these symptoms. I had convinced myself I had HIV/Hep C/Cancer... you name it, I thought I had it. More worry about how would this even happen to me? What am I going to tell my girlfriend? Doctors kept telling me tests are all negative and I was a healthy young man. But then I found this information and now it all makes sense. I feel silly yet so relieved. Time to get back on track. Thanks again!
Thank you for the article. I am Fasting for the first time over a day. It has mostly been good. I have had a fulling experience and feel close to God. In fact, I wondered why I wasn't starving! I have been extremely thirsty though, guzzling tea and water like crazy. It is late into day three now and I have been having long prayer walks each day. I will not go so far tomorrow. Glad it was on just a short walk around the complex of my retreat house that I had my little accident. That has never happened before. Apparently my digestive system is empty.
Thanks so much for your article it was very helpful. X
Very Valuable information and just what I needed to know!
Carla T.
Wonderful information. Thank you.
Thank you for answering a question that's puzzled me for a long time: Why the lower back aches during a fast. This is a very good article. You obviously know what you're talking about. Kim
Kim Parker
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