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
I am on day eight of my juice fast and today I'm getting cravings for chips or something salty it's hard to stay home and do this but I don't have a choice today. I would never think a water fast for more then three days is healthy but juice at least your getting nutrients I have a little over a month and need to fit into my dress for my fried a wedding I hope I can do it bc the dress does not fit at all :( but as of today I'm down seven pounds so at least I'm doing so e good :)
Good article. Informative, easy to read.
Thank you for information... i was fasting now in ramadan and in was feeling very tierd and body aches toi especially after work in late afternoon. I was worried that if i would have some mwdical condition. Niw i am aure its normal.. thank you..
Muhammad Waheed
Very useful article, thank you! I am currently on day two of my Ramadan fast and I seem to be suffering from pain in my joints and muscles--particularly my legs--I just wanted to make sure this was normal.
Helping me understand what to expect as I go through my fast helps me to sustain it. Thanks! I am on day 7 of a juice fast. Today, I am experiencing chest pains. I was getting nervous, so I decided to search out whether or not this is normal. It is five minutes later, now, and the pain has subsided. This helps me to know the importance of doing relaxation exercises and activities i.e. breath work and meditation, and moral support measures. Immediately, upon reading this information I felt my breathing slow down and deepen. This, most likely helped the pain subside which was most likely gas. Now, I am listening to Louise Hay in the background. Peace, wellness, and prosperity!
Great writing - loved the examples of cleaning out a garage. Having done that recently, I kept thinking "how did I let it get this bad?" The same can be said for my health! Your article gave me some much-needed perspective & encouragement. I'm on day 5 of a juice fast, and I'm sticking to it.
There is a huge difference between a water fast and a juice fast. I have done 2 water fasts and am currently on my 3rd one. When juice fasting I have no symptoms whatsoever. When water fasting I feel really awful.
Very concise. In a few places I did wish that better distinction had been made between juice & water fasting, since they really are different animals, but overall it's a quick read that's extremely dense with useful information.
Oh my ! Thank God for people who give articles. I have been wondering why all of a sudden I feel so sick,nausea,stomach cramps,back pain from hell !!! This is my first time juicing fasting and I feel great one minute and next well as you already saw what the symptoms are !! But I am going to go for the long fast now I am trying 14 days I did 1 day then 2 day and then 3 day and now going for 14 days I had to see how my body was going to react, wish my luck.
Coming up on the 48th hour of a 96 hour water fast and I was experiencing cramps in my upper forearms so I thought I'd do some web searching since I'd never experienced this in past fasts. Your site has given me some very good information and I thank you. A little advice for Dr. Dru. At 60 years of age I realize more than ever that life is about attitude and choice. Your negative attitude reveals your poor outlook on life which I can safely assume was created by your poor choices in life. Life's too short to go through it with a negative attitude.
This article was very helpful.
Well written. All facts. I experienced some symptoms as listed while fasting. However, thank GOD for supernaturally sustaining me, especially as I have hypertension condition and on top of that other health conditions as well. During my fasting, what I did was I had had long praying hours and three long sessions and "feeding" on GOD's word. I abandon myself totally to the LORD and relax myself spiritually to let the Holy Spirit lead me on what to do next. My entire fasting period was totally spirit-led thus I was able to overcome all the challenges; spiritually, physically, mentally & emotionally. During and after the fasting process, I felt so strengthen, enriched and empowered in every aspect. I also experienced GOD's faithfulness in HIS supernatural sustenance and guidance. What a divine experience! I've become even more sensitive to GOD's presence and the voice of HIS Holy Spirit, and grown much more closer to HIM as I obediently carry out HIS call to fast.
This is a fabulous posting! Thanks so much, so sorry that Mr Unhappy below me didn't think so, he seems quite unhappy. The science is in the history of human evolution, an even basic understanding of fasting, or a book might help to answer his questions.
What utter horseshit. Where's the science?! And why is it that talk on fasting has to take on mystical language?! Thing is - there is impressive science coming out about the benefits of fasting and IGF-1. Not some mystical pscyhobabble about cleansing my chakra. Health and Well Being is the biggest source for confusion and misinformation and this "article" isn't helping
Dr. Dru.
Very helpful and am on my last week, fully understand how this garage was way past its cleaning. 2God be the glory. You were very helpful , God bless you
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