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I know it’s generally said to not take any supplements during fasting, especially prolonged fasting. But I have Lyme, West Nile, and also travel from USA to Germany every 2 months for work (7h time difference). I get sick every time! So my goals are to not get sick when travelling, conquer Lyme and West Nile, and not be dying for a nap at 8 in the morning. I’m fat adapted, do intermittent fasting easily, daily monitoring of blood glucose and ketones. I get into ketosis easily (4.5 on the morning after lots of veggies for dinner, and 85 glucose).

So for sure I will do prolonged fasting, but I’m nervous about not taking Lyme supplements. I’m doing the Buhner protocol, which involves mixing herbal powders like Japanese knotweed in water, and chugging. Some of this involves tinctures as well.

So my question is: would taking these powders disrupt the fast? (Yes, I know they would, but would they disrupt it enough to make it better to skip them altogether?)

My second question is: would tinctures be better? (yes, I know they would, but my question is really about whether even tinctures should be avoided? I know the “official” answer is “avoid them because we don’t know enough yet on how autophagy works,” but I’m curious to find out what anyone might know about this.

Thanks for any thoughts, Kelly

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    Hi. I also have chronic Lyme and do the Buhner protocol and have been better on it by far. I have not taken supplements during my 3 day fasts nor during my time restricted fast hours. I plan to start doing 5 day fasts regularly when life allows and have wondered the same as you.

    BUT I am very low symptom now. I only do a few of the many recommended herbs at this point.

    To answer your question, I understand that yes staying in ketosis (very low carb load) is crucial and the other clear directive for effecting autophagy in a prolonged fast is cutting protein out. Check out the Fasting Mimicking Diet developed by Dr Valter Longo. I will guess that if that diet yields significant results similar to prolonged fasting, then taking herbs or herbal teas should be ok. As for tinctures, those could introduce alcohol (carbs) or glycerin and those are more questionable.

    My thoughts are to stick with teas or capsules and make sure your supplements fit within the guidelines of the fasting mimicking diet macros and calorie profile (google FMD for details people have gleaned from Longo and patents filed) and you can be assured that your fast with supplements will be at least as helpful as the FMD while also maintaining the helpful effects of the Buhner protocol as well. Good luck and healing to you!

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      Master’s of Nutrition and Dietetics student weighing in……

      The only way to find out is to test it. You’re measuring your glucose and ketone levels so I’d suggest doing your prolonged fast and testing your levels periodically, especially after taking supplements (not immediately, give them some time to metabolize).

      Foods effect everyone differently, one food may not raise someone else’s glucose but may dramatically raise yours, at this time there really is no known reason as to why this happens. I’d assume a supplement would not change your glucose, but the science is not fully understood so test it out and see what happens.

      Remember that there are several goals of fasting, one is to maintain a low glucose and get into ketosis. This can happen even while still eating. As long as the glucose is low enough, you can avoid triggering insulin. Another goal is to increase autophagy, if you’re in ketosis, you’re doing that, maybe not to the extend you would without supplements, but as you stated, we don’t really know yet. Lastly, if you’ve followed Dr. Satchin Panda, you know he suggests fasts only include water. The reasoning is that consuming any metabolite will begin internal clocks, and could mess with circadian rhythm but, this also is not fully understood. The last goal is to be healthy! As you have an illness, you need your supplements to remain healthy. So yes, in an ideal world you’d take no supplements during a fast, but that does not mean that taking supplements makes the fast useless. You will still get many benefits.

      Lastly, I’d suggest, is possible perhaps take all supplements at the same time or within a specific time window, like 6 hours. This would still give you an 18 hour fast each day. Again, you’ll want to test, because taking them all at once may effect blood sugar more than spreading them out. Remember that fasting for any period of time is better than not doing it, so even if you can’t get your 100% ideal fast, you’re still getting positive benefits.

      Again, I’m a student. But I follow Dr. Patricks work pretty closely. I am very interested in the science of time restricted eating and long term fasting. Hope that helps!

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        I have wondered what impact no calorie autophagy stimulating substances (e.g., certain teas, supplements) would have when taken during an otherwise water fast. My guess is that no studies have been performed and that no one really knows with certainty what the outcome would be