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
Good article. I can vouch for the back pain being a regular thing around day 4,5 or 6 for me. It always goes away after an elimination. So yea I bet an enema WOULD work quite quickly. To all the doctors who want to flex on everybody... If you are honest you will admit that you know almost nothing about the human body. My dad became a doctor in the 1950s and he decided to sit in on some of my sisters med school classes in 2004. After a couple of weeks he told me "I dont know how they could have gotten it SO WRONG!" He said that most everything he thought he knew was wrong and he had a successful practice for lotsa years. I am willing to bet that if my sister sits in on a class in 50 years she will find that they still have it all wrong! So don't come around here flexing on everybody and claiming higher knowledge like a bunch of 5 year olds who are hungry for attention and praise.
Dr Dru, My dad is 88, all his overweight Dr friends who made fun of him as a faster have passed. When your choice is pills or the scalpel, I'll take cell repair and self repair any day. Science has confirmed cells do go into a repair state while fasting. western medicine has its place, but it is not the cure all, far from it.
Joe F
Some useful information buried underneath unsubstantiated beliefs. Further, critical omissions endanger people's health. Blackouts, dizziness, irritability, fatigue, and headaches can all point to low blood sugar, which is a measurable, demonstrable state. Why no mention of it? This is a real risk for many people when fasting, especially diabetics. Why is it so hard to acknowledge that fasting is not for everyone?
To the idiots who gave a low rating: Those so-called doctors cannot even cure their own patients fast without sucking their patients financially dry. Like they are ones to talk! Come back and rebuke me once you do a real job for society. Thanks for the information. Very informative.
Full of toxin belief...
This is exactly the kind of borderline scientific illiteracy that plagues 'Health and Wellness' - use facts, not metaphorical horseshit.
Dr. Dru
I though it was very informative and comforting to know various symtoms are normal. Thank you
This is a really useful article, thank you! I was looking for information on whether back pain could be a result of fasting and now I know that it is and there's a sensible reason for it. Thank goodness for hot water bottles!
I am water fasting, it is nice to read positive things about fasting. Your article gave me strength to go on. Thank you.
Very helpful information, thank you!
useful! i got 8/10 pain while fasting.
Excellent description of fasting process and accompanying effects.
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