If you have a brain, you need to fast.: youtu.be... - Headway


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If you have a brain, you need to fast.

Matt2584 profile image


Hi folks,

This video could prove interesting for some.

I no longer do the breakfast-lunch-dinner routine as I find it doesn’t work with my lifestyle.

When I get up (usually from 8:30-10:30) I have a drink but won’t eat anything until 12pm or after that.

I have my brunch. A breakfast smoothie followed by a veggie smoothie and around the weekends I have homemade soup… then dinner later.

Not a massive change but I’m not so regimental with my meals now. I’ve got a little more time for fasting longer now :).

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19 Replies

Hi Matt,

I think the shorter window in the day for eating, and not snacking, is getting some popular traction generally for gut health, with people like Moseley and Tim Spector behind it. The only thing is, and Spector mentions this in his books, it may not be for everyone. I experimented with delaying breakfast times about a year ago, and it impacted badly on my fatigue and sleep patterns (such as they were!) Keto diets are high fat and low carb and there are some concerns that they affect heart health adversely over time.

He mentions BDNF in this clip - this can also be increased in the body by exercise (and interestingly in antidepressants re this article - frontiersin.org/articles/10... )

Rather than fasting, in fact the advice from my specialist concussion sports physio Theo Farley performanceready.co.uk/post... (who did so much in terms of helping me recover from the worst of the concussion) was that when I was too fatigued to get food, not to wait until I felt well enough to prepare food, but to keep a supply of cereal bars, or similar, ready, and to eat one before I sat down to crash, as it would shorten the time to recover. It did seem to work for me. I use handfuls of nuts and raisins as my emergency food. Likewise his advice was to break down my walk into two halves with a sit down break in the middle to drink and snack, to save the fatigue knocking me out for the rest of the day. The consultant said my fatigue was bi- directional, with cognitive fatigue impacting on physical fatigue and vice versa - but I don't know if that's the same for everyone with a BI or not...

Thanks for the clip

I have bi-directional fatigue. I cannot fast. Like you, it won't work with my fatigue.

Oh that's really interesting Marnie x

Thanks. I hadn't heard that terminology before, but that's exactly what I have. I actually have to eat more often than before my brain injury. I try to have small healthy snacks like you mention. Oatcakes are good.

Ooh thanks - I'd forgotten about the oatcakes somewhere along the way.. I was eating them at first!

If I fast or even just miss breakfast then I crash and often it can’t be shaken all day, so I try to make sure I eat regularly.

I concur with Roger. Regular grazing is needed to keep me going. Otherwise, my brain shuts down.

Thanks for reminding me of this term (bi-directional) Jenny. This is the very thing I have. Its like a trapeze act with trying to get the right balance with living.

Hi SB, yes, isn't it just! I've mostly managed my fatigue a bit better this year, but let the exercise side of things slide, so finding a healthy balance is really difficult. Plus painting is still my best activity for not triggering fatigue in the first place, so I think I need to find a level of exercise that will let me get me get away with sitting still for hours.... and try to manage cleaning my flat.... definitely a work in progress still. Totally got wiped out earlier in the week, tried to do way too much and, probably predictably, crashed out a bit, with associated annoyance and gloom at the crash. Reviving a bit now, spent the day puppy-sitting a nine week old for my nephew and his wife ... Came home had chocolate, tea, and a sleep and went to church this evening. Feeling content again now

Did this painting for my friends last week.. J x

Terraced house

That is an amazing picture Jen!! You are a talented artist!! Would you take commissions? I need an etching of 'The Great Screen' of Winchester Cathedral?

That might be a little beyond me! I'll find some pictures of it.....x

Here's the puppy that kept me on the go all day today...

ahhh, very sweet. I'm looking after a friend's delightful puppy spaniel (have been for a while). She's affectionate and exhausting in equal measure. I've been going to bed early on the days I have her, sleep immediately but wake up after 3 hours later....wide awake, read for a couple of hours, before sinking in to sleep again. Too much fatigue has caused my sleep to be wrecked, and its become a vicious cycle again!! Grrrrrr

Oh I know that one.... probably heading that way myself at the moment... Though I saw my granddaughter yesterday, and the puppy today, so it's been a rather lovely weekend, even if I'm a bit flattened tomorrow....

Please note: Dr Eric Berg is NOT a medical doctor, he is a chiropractor. I advise caution when considering his advice.

Fasting is not suitable for everybody, especially some people with brain injuries and those with eating disorders.

Hi Matt, this is worrying advice. Keytones are an out of date backup system. They use body fat to produce energy when there is not enough carbohydrate, or effective insulin.

Marnie is right to suggest caution with BI, and eating disorders, I would include diabetes, and pre-diabetes.

The presence of high keytones suggests a disorder. This can cause damage to the body, and in some cases, be lethal.

As a chiropractor, the presenter, should also be aware of nerve, and circulation damage that is caused by consistent high-levels of keytones that may ultimately lead to amputations.

Works for me. Repair and bdnf only starts after 48 to 72 hour no food fast which is a bit extreme. Keto for weight and reversing diabetes is totally safe though if that's what you want. It's used the world over as last resort in kids as it has the effect of stopping seizures in severe epilepsy with no harmful consequences. Berg is an internet money maker though agreed. I'm paraplegic so keeping weight off takes work. I use fast 800 for a while every 6 months or so. Not with shakes etc, just real nutritious Mediterranean diet and cutting the carbs. Of course tbi is different for everyone, one size doesn't fit all. I like to watch YouTube, filter out the money makers and read the peer reviewed research. Google scholar is your friend. I am not a doctor, those with ongoing severe tbi should seek medical advice before adopting radical strategies.

I'm sorry futurecut, as a retired RN, and working with patients that attended the diabetic clinics, I have to disagree with this being 'totally safe'.

The keto diet is still available in book shops, can't say that I have read it, but any diet that takes a whole book to explain it is not clever.

Reduced calory intake, is recognised as part of a calory controlled diet. With diabetes this would only be recommended under very close supervision, as very low blood suger, also known as a hypo, is a medical emergency.

Uncontrolled diabetes, which can be constant high blood sugar, or hyper, may need a lower calorific intake. This approach would only be used in type 2 diabetes under supervision, and with constant monitoring to prevent a hypo. Under supervision, this may reverse type 2 diabetes, or prevent pre-diabetes progressing.

This would not be recommended for type 1 diabetes, as a hypo is more likely with insulin.

Possible consequences of uncontrolled diabetes, death, liver damage, amputations, blindness, ulsers, skin fragility to name a few. 🍀

I found a study that fasting improved memory and concentration in mice. It kind of makes evolutionary sense, you need to have all you wits about you when looking for food.

I also read that women don’t get on as well with intermittent fasting as men do. My husband who has a BI sometimes fasts and he does say it helps him feel sharper those days.

I on the other hand with no BI can’t fast at all. I get shaky and an urge to binge.

headwayuk profile image

Hi all,

Please note that this video contains unproven advice which may have undesired and unpredictable effects. It has led to an interesting debate on diet and brain injury, but we'd suggest always seeking medical advice from an NHS doctor before considering any major changes to diet and lifestyle.

Don't hesitate to contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or helpline@headway.org.uk if you'd like to talk things through.

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