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Author Topic: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?  (Read 7194 times)

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Offline WhereIsTheArk

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Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« on: November 14, 2010, 11:46:25 PM »
I plan to go on a spiritual journey via water fasting for 40 days, and I'd like to know if it's safe for HIV+ people, like myself, to do so.

I can't find information about poz people fasting anywhere!

I asked a professional and he said there are too many unknowns about it to know for sure, but he didn't see why I couldn't.

So has anyone here ever done a fast and know??!!

thanks :)

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2010, 12:45:33 AM »
It is not safe. Of course you knew that. I assume that the risk is part of the point. As an HIV positive person, you ought to be treating your body like the sacred temple that it is, not the dirty vessel that deserves to be cleansed with trial and fire. You have trial and fire going on inside your body all the time now.

I roll my eyes when I hear about three or five day fasts. 40 days?  I submit that you will shave off ten years from your life, minimum. All of it, possibly. But whatever. There are people who are dying because they cannot afford adequate food, adequate medication, adequate HIV care. To choose to harm your body, possibly permanently? That is fucked up.

I know you wanted to hear something different, and I am sure you will. But too many of my friends died, despite trying to live with HIV. And I will be fucked hard if I refrain from expressing my opinion regarding such reckless behavior. Do what you want. Enjoy your suffering. Learn from it what you feel you must. Me, I have suffered plenty, trying to find joy in this weary world.

Good luck with yours.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

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Offline Hellraiser

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2010, 01:16:37 AM »
I plan to go on a spiritual journey via water fasting for 40 days

Out of curiosity does this literally mean to go without water for 40 days?  Because that sounds lethal.

Offline WhereIsTheArk

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 06:00:58 AM »
I forgot how hostile people can be about fasting lol.

jkinatl2, chill out, it's my spiritual journey, and I'll be damned if I'm criticized for my spirituality. there's no suffering at all during fasting, that's unheard of.

I honestly didn't know if it was or wasn't safe with HIV. THAT'S WHY I ASKED!

I've fasted before HIV in the past and had received great health benefits from doing so.
 
Also, there are breaks in between, you do eat.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2010, 06:13:08 AM by WhereIsTheArk »

Offline carousel

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 06:46:38 AM »
Is it safe for anybody to not take water for such a length of time.  Adding being positive equation, I wouldn't even consider such an action.

I am curious of the health benefits you mention.  You might appear to lose some weight, but isn't that just dehydration?

40 days seems such a specific time.  Just wonderring if if there is some pressure you feel because of a religious faith you have?

Offline Ann

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 08:52:04 AM »
Water fasting isn't fasting from water, it's only drinking water while fasting from foods and other beverages.

And for a person who is hiv positive and has been diagnosed with hiv related dementia which would indicate an advanced stage of disease, it seems like the worst idea ever to do it for forty days. Especially for one in advanced disease who is also thinking of going off meds.

Nobody here is criticising your spirituality, far from it. But I'll say this, if you weaken your body with this fast, you might end up having a spiritual journey from which you will not return to the physical plane. Think carefully about this.
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline mecch

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 09:03:34 AM »
Ask a trained nutritionist, or a doctor, to get the scientifically based answer.
Ask a very trained fasting guru to get his/her take.
I doubt you'll find much experience in this forum, but who knows.
Also, do you have a food dependent HAART regime, or not, or no HAART?
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Nestor

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 10:18:07 AM »
Hi,

First, maybe it would be a good idea to give more information about your situation and about the fast you are contemplating.  For example, when you say a forty-day fast, I think anyone would imagine that means sticking to the fast, without interruption, for forty days.  But now you say that there are breaks "in between" and that one does eat.  So without a clearer idea of what the fast involves we can only give limited advice. 

I can say that I fasted periodically before having HIV and that, after I got HIV, I didn't even think about fasting for years--I felt, probably rightly, that my body needed all the nutrients it could get.  Last spring I did decide to fast, and I even briefly contemplated nothing but water, but I very quickly rejected that option as both dangerous and as more than I had the discipline to stick to.  And the fast was only supposed to be for two weeks, not forty days.  I ended up doing something much more moderate: I ate only brown rice and vegetables, in small quantities, probably around 700 calories a day or so.  It was good, but by the end of the two weeks, I could feel my body warning me that to go on any longer with it would be a bad idea, that I needed protein and more calories.  I cannot imagine forty days with nothing but water.  Even so, I got sick for the first time in years not long afterwards, and I sometimes wonder whether the fast contributed to it by making me weaker and more vulnerable in some way. 

One characteristic of HIV is to lead to nutritional deficiencies, even in people who are eating well, which is why you are getting negative reactions to the idea of an extreme fast.  But I suppose a lot depends on your particular situation.  If you have 800 T-cells I would be less concerned than if you had 400, for example, and of course Mecch's questions are important too.  Are you currently underweight, overweight, or just right?  If you are underweight already I would say it was a terrible idea!  If you are just right you will end up being underweight; you will lose at least half a pound a day, maybe more.  If you are overweight that may be the only case in which it might not be a bad idea, but even there there would be things to worry about.  Toxins get stored in fat, and when you lose that fat the toxins are released into your system.  That comes with the territory for any fasting or dieting, and for a healthy person, and for a short time--and in a less extreme fast where you are replacing it with some healthy calories--it can be tolerated.  But for forty days? 

I hope that if you do try this, you listen to your own body enough that if it is giving you signals you can hear them and do the prudent thing! 

Good luck, I certainly hope you do not feel that I am being hostile or critical, and if you want to give more details I would be happy to re-evaluate my advice in their light. 
Summer 2004--became HIV+
Dec. 2005--found out

Date          CD4    %       VL
Jan. '06    725    25      9,097
Nov. '06    671    34     52,202
Apr. '07    553    30      24,270
Sept. '07  685    27       4,849
Jan. '08    825    29       4,749
Mar. '08    751    30     16,026
Aug. '08    653    30       3,108
Oct. '08     819    28     10,046
Jan '09      547    31     13,000
May '09     645   25        6,478
Aug. '09    688   30      19,571
Nov. '09     641    27       9,598
Feb. '10     638    27       4,480
May '10      687      9    799,000 (CMV)
July '10      600     21      31,000
Nov '10      682     24     15,000
June '11     563    23     210,000 (blasto)
July  '11      530    22      39,000
Aug '11      677     22      21,000
Sept. '12    747     15      14,000

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 10:25:02 AM »
A weekend meth binge is probably less damaging than a 40 day fast.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline Nestor

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 10:29:51 AM »
Hi again,

I'm posting again to say that I've just looked at your other posts.  You describe having a very hectic life and having a lot of trouble remembering to take your meds.  You mention dementia, as Ann says here, and you say that your CD4s are improving with each visit, but because it is so hard to remember to take the meds you are considering stopping them.  This sounds like an unsettled and fairly chaotic moment in your life, and I would be extremely hesistant to try anything like an extreme fast just now.  Why not wait until you have resolved the meds issue, and have had stable numbers for a while?  

Also, fasting is generally successful in people who are not busy or under stress at the moment.  What is realistic for someone in a monastic cell or a zen rock garden, devoting most of the day to prayer and contemplation, is not realistic for someone who has to run to the subway every morning and then spend hours at a job.  
Summer 2004--became HIV+
Dec. 2005--found out

Date          CD4    %       VL
Jan. '06    725    25      9,097
Nov. '06    671    34     52,202
Apr. '07    553    30      24,270
Sept. '07  685    27       4,849
Jan. '08    825    29       4,749
Mar. '08    751    30     16,026
Aug. '08    653    30       3,108
Oct. '08     819    28     10,046
Jan '09      547    31     13,000
May '09     645   25        6,478
Aug. '09    688   30      19,571
Nov. '09     641    27       9,598
Feb. '10     638    27       4,480
May '10      687      9    799,000 (CMV)
July '10      600     21      31,000
Nov '10      682     24     15,000
June '11     563    23     210,000 (blasto)
July  '11      530    22      39,000
Aug '11      677     22      21,000
Sept. '12    747     15      14,000

Offline Ann

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2010, 10:33:45 AM »
Nestor, he gave us some vague-ish details in this thread. He's on Truvada and Isentress for about six months with increasing CD4s, although he doesn't say what number he started at or how much they've increased. He thinks he's still undetectable but isn't sure because he misses doses. He says it took him "a long time before starting meds" and he also mentions that he's been diagnosed with hiv related dementia earlier this year. This would seem to point to advanced infection, despite the fact that he's only 20. He's also thinking of ceasing meds.

Based on that information, I'd say a forty day water fast would not be in his best interest.

Nestor, you posted while I was writing but I'll go ahead and hit "post" anyway. :)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline aztecan

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  • 28 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2010, 11:42:11 AM »
Hey Ark,

I am assuming you aren't Muslim, but, I will answer based on my experience with HIV positive Muslims who are supposed to fast during the ninth month of the Muslim year, namely Ramadan.

If someone is hale and healthy, they can go ahead. But I know someone who was ill during Ramadan, not all that different from what you describe as your health.

Muslim tradition allows him to skip the fasting until his health improves.

I would probably recommend this for you as well. Once your physical health has been restored and is on solid ground again, then I would consider the fast you mention.

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: November 15, 2010, 11:43:52 AM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Nestor

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  • What we love, we shall grow to resemble.
Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 01:02:47 PM »

Muslim tradition allows him to skip the fasting until his health improves.



The Catholic church also waives fasting and abstinence rules for people with health problems:   

"When health...would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige."  That was written at a time when the church had serious fasting and abstinence rules. 

Since this is neither Ramadan nor Lent, and as neither of those observances is anything like a water fast, I don't suspect this is what Ark is referring to, but I agree with you--that even fairly strict religious traditions do not insist that the ill fast should be taken as an indication that it is not a good idea. 
Summer 2004--became HIV+
Dec. 2005--found out

Date          CD4    %       VL
Jan. '06    725    25      9,097
Nov. '06    671    34     52,202
Apr. '07    553    30      24,270
Sept. '07  685    27       4,849
Jan. '08    825    29       4,749
Mar. '08    751    30     16,026
Aug. '08    653    30       3,108
Oct. '08     819    28     10,046
Jan '09      547    31     13,000
May '09     645   25        6,478
Aug. '09    688   30      19,571
Nov. '09     641    27       9,598
Feb. '10     638    27       4,480
May '10      687      9    799,000 (CMV)
July '10      600     21      31,000
Nov '10      682     24     15,000
June '11     563    23     210,000 (blasto)
July  '11      530    22      39,000
Aug '11      677     22      21,000
Sept. '12    747     15      14,000

Offline sam66

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 10:08:52 AM »


Nobody here is criticising your spirituality, far from it. But I'll say this, if you weaken your body with this fast, you might end up having a spiritual journey from which you will not return to the physical plane.


   Thats made my day,, nop may be the whole month,,, :D
december 2007 diagnosed +ve ,

Offline WhereIsTheArk

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2010, 11:30:40 PM »
I'm not doing the fast. I was considering it, that's why I asked for advice. With the information you've all have posted, obviously I'm not going to put my health at risk with what I know now. Thank you.


Offline thom k

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2011, 06:03:50 PM »
Hi,

I wanted to tell you of my experience with fasting. 

I am on Isentress and Truvada and currently I do a supervised juice fast 2 or 3 times a year, once in spring, once in fall and sometimes after the holidays, if I've overindulged (the fast I do is the Master Cleanse).  The fasting period is usually a minimum of 10 days, but I typically go for 14 days.  I take all prescribed medication when I fast. It is very important that anyone fasting continue to take medication as prescribed! 

I have been doing this for approximately 5 years now and I do it for both physical and mental/spiritual reasons.  My supervision is with my doctor.  I check in with him before doing it and his advice is always the same: take it one day at a time and if there is a problem, stop the fast.  I have never had any trouble with doing a 14 day juice fast.

My understanding is that certain individuals who have specialized nutritional needs or medical conditions are not suitable candidates for fasting (for example: pregnant women).  There are many good reference books available on fasting and you would want to explore these resources to understand the fasting process better and to be able to make a decision with your doctor as to whether or not you are a good candidate to do a supervised fast. 

Two books I recommend are: Fasting and Eating for Health:  A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease by Joel Fuhrman and The New Detox Diet by Elson Haas.  Both authors are medical doctors and Dr. Fuhrman's book deals with water fasting while Dr. Haas' book deals with juice fasting and restricted diets. 

Hope this helps!

Offline mecch

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2011, 07:52:04 PM »
Wouldn't eating healthy and drinking a lot of fresh water do the same trick?  I've always heard that these are myths that there is any sort of "debris" that is "lodged" and will come out through fasting, nor does it seem like there are "toxins" that need to be somehow specially eliminated.
If this is about psychology and spirituality, OK.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline thom k

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Re: Is water fasting safe if you're poz?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2011, 03:53:40 PM »
I am not a medical or scientific expert, so I can only relate my own experience and reliance on published information.  I don't know what you mean exactly by "healthy eating," but healthy eating is a good thing.  

For the sake of argument, if you remove all processed junk foods and beverages and restrict your diet to whole foods and drinking lots of water, there would be a correlation between fasting and healthy eating: both actions are eliminating unhealthy foods and beverages.  It follows that there would be similar benefits from each but to different degrees.  Following your example, one claimed benefit of fasting is indeed removal of toxins and cellular debris.  I have read that restricted diets can also have a detoxification effect. 

Fasting also gives your digestive system a break; a water fast gives it a complete break, a juice fast gives it a signficant break.  In theory, this creates an energy surplus in the body which is then available to facilitate other bodily systems and functions that normally would not get the same attention. 

I can't claim that the physiological benefits of fasting (detoxification, decreased stess on the digestive system, etc) as incontrovertible fact, but I can attest to experiencing a profound sense of rejuvenation after the fasting process.  It is a feeling that I don't experience from simply cleaning up my diet.  A major aspect of fasting- discovering that you can accomplish something that seems at first almost impossible- and the sense of renewal definitely have a tangible psychological/spiritual benefit that for me is unique.   

 


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