Can Intermittent Fasting Really Improve My Gut Health?


What is Fasting?

Fasting is abstaining from food, drinks, or both for some time. It can be done for a short, longer period or intermittently. As you might have known, fasting is nothing new to the world in fact since the beginning of time, people have been engaged in this fasting thing mainly for spiritual purposes in the past. It was practiced and still is by most of the major religions of the world, in one way or another. For example, Ramadan is a month when Muslims around the world fast from dust to dawn for the entire month.

Recently we have had a trend of fasting obsession like no other because people are starting to see its benefits.

What is intermittent fasting?

You probably already know but here is the definition anyway, it is a period you restrict your food and drink intake at a certain time of the day. Intermittent fasting is one of the popular fasts among people.  It can improve health in many ways. To name a few would be helping in weight loss, better blood sugar and insulin control, and reducing inflammation in all body systems including the gut.

There are several ways to do intermittent fasting, most people select what’s best for their schedule and what their body can handle.

Time-restricted eating

The most popular methods of intermittent fasting are a 5/2 diet and 16-hour fasting

  • 5/2 method where you fast for two non-consecutive days and eat normally for 5 days while restricting your calorie intake to 500-600 during the fasting days
  • 16 -hour fasting straight that easy for many because you combine your sleeping hours while fasting

In the 16-hr  method, the period of eating and fasting is already set, since most people are sleeping at this time and they don’t have to eat anyway. Then fasting time is extended by skipping both breakfast and lunch.

24 hour Method

What do you think of fasting for 24 hours? It can be done, but because of its long hours, it’s only done weekly or twice a week.  Hey! it’s not that bad since water and non-caloric drinks are encouraged, at least you’re not gonna be thirsty.

48-hour Method

This is done on 2 consecutive days without food but definitely drinking fluids with zero calories is encouraged to prevent dehydration. It is usually done once or twice a month. This is not for everyone you should be able to do the shorter fasting method before trying this one.

What does fasting do to your gut?

So what happens during fasting when the host ( you ) is not providing food to your guest?  There is a shift in the composition of the microbes in the gut within a few days because the gut and all the other digestive organs are resting due to the fast.

The Buchinger study included 10 men who fasted for 10 days, These men were followed before and after and during the food introduction and also after 3 months when they were back home. It was concluded that the composition of the gut bacteria had changed.

Some of the bacteria in the gut decrease in number since food is not provided anymore, and some bacteria survive. The good bacteria that live in your gut increase in population. These help in boosting immune function in the intestine and some protect us from disease and infection.

Once you start eating again, your gut might be sensitive therefore you need to be careful what you eat and start slow.

Surprisingly after 3 months, the benefits of fasting were observed by the subject. there was an increase in short-chain fatty acids production. These can improve your cardiovascular system and protect your gut health.

Can fasting reset my digestive system?



Research has found that abstaining from eating even for some time can heal the gut lining. And in turn resetting the digestive system, eliminating the pathogenic organism, and increasing good microbes in the gut.

Once healing takes place then it’s inevitable to get healthy and stop problems such as Obesity, heart disease, sleep disorder, and autoimmune diseases from happening.

Does fasting destroy gut bacteria?

The answer to this question is yes, prolonged fasting can kill pathogenic microbes.  A recent study has shown fasting can fight against infection. It does this by flushing all toxins from the accumulation of food we eat and thus, destroying harmful chemicals that have been building up in the digestive system.

How does fasting heal gut inflammation?

A process called autophagy occurs while fasting, which essentially means the body clean-up damaged cells and reproduces new ones. Also, short-chain acids are produced during fasting, which heals the gut.

Both autophagy and short-time fatty acid increase anti-inflammatory compounds that help to reduce or even eliminate inflammation.

Benefits of Fasting

1. Helps with weight loss

Fasting is the safest way to go if you want to lose weight as research has shown. Using a set time to do an intermittent fast will allow the body to burn reserved calories in the cells. This is more powerful than just regular dieting. During fasting, the body uses fats as its main source of energy instead of sugar.

2.  Increases Ketones

Ketones are produced by the body while fasting.  The production of beta-hydroxybutyrate is a type of Ketone that increases in the morning. They help reduce free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. Also, they are used as fuel by the colon and gut cells.

3.  Increases Brain Function.

Intermittent fasting increases mental acuity and focus, this is backed up by this study when fasting is done every other day it enhances memory.  It may also protect us against neurological disorders. 

4.  Decreases inflammation

Some intestinal diseases such as Celiac and other inflammatory bowel diseases have shown a reduction in inflammation. This indicates that many gastrointestinal disorders can benefit from fasting because of the reduction in inflammation that comes from the benefit of fasting.

Some studies suggested the link between intermittent fasting and decreased inflammation. This was done during Ramadan Muslim religious holly month which is practiced by fasting for an entire month from dust to dawn.  This research has shown proinflammatory markers were lower than usual during fasting.

5..  Increase Longevity

The SIRT1 gene is increased during fasting. It helps protect the body. from oxidative stress and DNA from getting damaged, This gene also increases the life span of human beings.

6. Reduction in Bloating and gas

There is no research done to prove this but many people have noticed feeling better after they fast, including my mother who fasts twice a week. Who knows, it could be because there is less inflammation during the fasting period hence helping with the bloating.

Other fasting  benefits

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Reduced insulin level
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced abdominal fat
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced cortisol
  • Less infection

Fasting is easy compared to complicated meal plans and counting calories to lose weight. Almost anyone can fit it into their routes without worrying about how to prepare anything.

You don’t need to spend a lot of time and in addition, you can also save the money needed to buy or prepare food. It is a free tool that doesn’t cost anything and the benefits are tremendous.  Some of the rewards of fasting are a reduction in inflammation, improved gut health, and the promotion of cellular function.  Fasting is very simple and anyone who wants to improve their health. I suggest you give it a  go!


  1. Fasting alters the gut microbiome reducing blood pressure and body weight in metabolic syndrome patients | Nature Communications
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  6. Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves 24-Hour Glucose Levels and Affects Markers of the Circadian Clock, Aging, and Autophagy in Humans – PubMed (
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  9. Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves 24-Hour Glucose Levels and Affects Markers of the Circadian Clock, Aging, and Autophagy in Humans – PubMed (





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