Medical Benefits of Fasting

Medical Benefits of Fasting

Dr. Francois Willhekme de Toledo   of Buchinger Wilhelmi Clinic :

Feb 2020


The largest scientific study on the effects of Buchinger therapeutic fasting carried out to date has been published in 2019. It was conducted at the fasting clinic Buchinger Wilhelmi, by a team led by Dr. Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo in cooperation with Prof. Andreas Michalsen from Charité University Hospital in Berlin.

The study collected and evaluated data from 1,422 subjects (41 % male, 59 % female), who completed the Buchinger Wilhelmi fasting programme over a period of 5, 10, 15 or 20 days in 2016.

Under the title “Safety, health improvement and well-being during a 4 to 21-day fasting period in an observational study including 1422 subjects”, the study shows that Buchinger therapeutic fasting is safe and therapeutically effective. It also promotes emotional and physical well-being. The results of the study were published online on January 2, 2019 in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

Hello everybody my name is Dr. Francois Willhekme de Toledo, I am the head of the research department at the Buchinger Wilhelm Clinics in Uberlingen in the south of Germany and Marbella south of Spain. 

These clinics, which are specialized in periodic fasting have existed for more than 70 years and have huge clinical experience. I have followed thousands of patients fasting during periods going from 5 to 20 days or more – myself, I started fasting already since the age of 17. 

For some years we have decided to document what we were seeing clinically for so many years and tried to convince people that fasting is a natural method to cure a lot of diseases. This started with a huge study in 2016 with 1,422  subjects who fasted between four and twenty days. Not all were overweight. They were men and women, there was a very diverse community and they fasted according to the program of the Buchinger Wilhelm Clinic which is a very traditional program with three dimensions: a medical dimension, a community dimension and, an emotional spiritual dimension.

What we found first was that all the parameters, metabolic parameters improved, were modulated, were normalized tendentially. First, the weight diminished and especially the abdominal circumference diminish so you lose weight and at the right place.  Then the blood pressure diminished – systolic and diastolic – as well by people who have normal blood pressure, as the one who had medication we had to take off that medication or to reduce the medication so that the people don’t have problems. The glycaemia went down and normalized at the lower level of the norm and the ketone bodies in the urine were going up so this was documenting the fasting metabolic switch to go from the mode of eating into the mode of fasting

So what more did we observe :  the blood parameters changed a lot  So we had for instance a diminution of the lipids in the blood, triglycerides but also LDL cholesterol, of course was a modulation. So the normal person stays normal and the one who has elevated values correct them very quickly. We control the kidneys and liver values which were normal. We have in another study also documented the fatty liver which was able to recover and to get rid of the excess fat and maybe a specialist observation in this huge group of humans is that the sedimentation rate and other inflammatory parameters were diminished and this documents what many other studies in animals had already shown that the inflammatory parameter – the inflammation tends to decrease during the fasting.

Another interesting confirmation of what I’ve seen, at least seen in shorter periods of fasting like intermittent fasting or every other day fasting and also in animal models, is that the blood cells are reduced probably due to autophagy and apoptosis. This is a phenomenon that leads during the fasting to the elimination of old structures or all cells which are senescent damaged structures can be self digested and partially recycled. Then after the fasting, we always have asked the people to stay at least four to five days in the setting to refeed to get through the period after the fasting while you slowly reintroduce the food. This is a wonderful period anyway because your taste buds are renewed and you enjoy the food, even the simplest food is a real feast but at the same time, we know that cells regenerate, tissues regenerate rejuvenate because there has been an activation of stem cells during the fasting and now they are coming out and renewing the pool of cells of tissues organs and especially the immune cells in the blood.

We had also subjects having special conditions in this group. Some were healthy went for preventive reasons but about 500 had special conditions. These conditions are three groups more or less :

the ones who have metabolic problems: high blood pressure, diabetes type 2 hyperlipidemia cholesterol amia all risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

another group is the chronic inflammatory diseases people coming for arthritis for polyarthritis for gastritis conditions of the digestive system skin problems neurodermatitis, fibromyalgia they all come and

then the third group would be pre burnout depressive mood people having a state of exhaustion psychologically or physically.

85% documenting a subjective huge improvement. Some had more or less the same result so this is the first study with a very large cohort using a method which is traditional which has been used seventy years long under medical supervision with very beautiful context nature, an activity program, teaching program also the people after the fasting can go to better life habits we pay big attention to the accompaniment of the people and giving a synergistic program

So this is a study published in PLOS ONE in January 2019 and of course, we would be happy if this study is giving you the taste of fasting and because you know you have it in your genes the program is in yourself you just have to have the right setting and good guidance. If you have an illness you have to be under medical supervision and you can really discover one thing, fasting is enjoyable, yes, you heard right, we have documented also the well-being and from the first day to the last day, you can see an improvement of the emotional as well as the physical well-being. So it’s exactly the contrary what people would think – they would think maybe you feel tired, you feel bad, you are hungry and we notice also that ninety-three percent of the people didn’t feel hungry. After some hours and this is exactly what we would expect you would expect so that we really encourage you to give it a try and I’m sure when you have rediscovered this program and this ability in yourself then you will use it regularly.

We recommend to fast periodic every year and then maybe one or two days per week if it’s necessary and some hours a day so to have a long pause in the food this would be intermittent fasting for instance but you can use other nutritional strategies and if you are healthy and have a normal weight then you can just do periodic fasting. the very nice thing about it, it’s the only possibility as an adult to regenerate yourselves and your tissues to rejuvenate them so it would be crazy not to use that ability

thank you very much….. and just do it… fast !!!