Sign Up For Our FREE Webinar & Start Your Journey Towards Healing & Wellness

Pompa Program Primary Logo
Does Fasting Help Arthritis

Does Fasting Help Arthritis?

Does Fasting Help Arthritis – The Miraculous Benefits Of A Water Fast

I often get asked, “does fasting help arthritis?” My response is yes, fasting helps relieve arthritis. The reason why is because fasting removes senescent cells that drive inflammation. Fasting also increases growth hormone and stem cell formation, rejuvenating tissue. To get the most out of fasting, multiple 5-day water fasts over the course of months is the way to go. However, intermittent fasting (IF) is a good place to start, as the anti-inflammatory benefits of IF have a positive impact on arthritis.

How Does Fasting Help Arthritis – Removing Senescent Cells

Senescent cells, also known as zombie cells, are damaged cells that have stopped dividing. These cells accumulate with age and are associated with various age-related diseases such as autoimmune conditions, arthritis, and heart disease. In recent years, research has shown that these senescent cells not only contribute to aging but also cause chronic inflammation in the body.

Senescent cells secrete inflammatory molecules called cytokines. These cytokines attract immune cells to the site of senescent cells, causing a chronic inflammatory response. This not only damages nearby healthy cells, but also creates a self-perpetuating cycle where inflammation further promotes senescence and the accumulation of more senescent cells.1

How Does Fasting Help Arthritis - Removing Senescent Cells

How Does Fasting Help Arthritis – Autophagy

Research has shown that fasting triggers a process called autophagy, which is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells and recycling their components. This process includes the removal of senescent cells.

Studies have demonstrated that fasting reduces the number of senescent cells in various tissues and organs. By removing these cells, fasting has a positive effect on preventing the onset of many diseases. When senescent cells are no longer secreting harmful substances, inflammation decreases, and the body’s ability to repair itself improves.2

Does Fasting Help Arthritis – Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of eating and fasting on a daily or weekly schedule. The benefits of intermittent fasting have been widely discussed in recent years. From weight loss to improved brain function, it seems like there is no limit to the positive effects that IF has on our bodies. However, one specific area that has gained attention is the impact of IF on both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.3 4

Research has shown that intermittent fasting has anti-inflammatory effects on the body. By giving our digestive system a break, our bodies have the opportunity to repair and reduce inflammation. This is especially beneficial for those with arthritis, as inflammation is what is behind joint pain.5

In addition, IF has been found to reduce oxidative stress, which occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Oxidative stress contributes to the development and progression of arthritis, so by reducing it, IF helps alleviate symptoms.6

Studies have also shown that IF improves the diversity of gut bacteria, which play a major role in regulating the immune system and reducing inflammation. A healthy gut microbiome has been linked to lower levels of arthritis symptoms.7

IF has been found to regulate the production of certain hormones, such as insulin and growth hormone. These hormones are involved in the regulation of inflammation and contribute to arthritis when they are imbalanced.8

Does Fasting Help Arthritis – Water Fasting

Water fasting involves consuming only water for an extended period, usually 24-120 hours. During a water fast, the body goes into a state of ketosis where it burns fat for energy instead of glucose from food.9

A 5-day water fast, also known as an extended water fast, is when a person consumes only water for five consecutive days. This means abstaining from all solid foods and other beverages such as coffee, tea, and juice.

Water Fasting Reduces Inflammation

Performing multiple 5-day water fasts over the course of months offers several benefits for reducing inflammation in the body. During a fast, the digestive system is given a chance to rest and repair damage. This helps decrease inflammation in the gut and improve overall digestion.

Furthermore, water fasting has been shown to offer significant anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Longer water fasts optimize hormone function, specifically insulin and leptin, thereby reducing inflammation.10

5-Day Water Fasting And Autophagy

Fasting reduces oxidative stress in the body. By reducing oxidative stress, we also reduce inflammation. Autophagy is greatly enhanced during a long water fast, helping to maximize the removal of senescent cells.11

Does Fasting Help Arthritis - Autophagy

A 5-Day Water Fast Increases Growth Hormone Secretion

Growth hormone (GH), also known as somatotropin, is a peptide hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It plays a crucial role in regulating growth and metabolism, as well as maintaining healthy body composition. There are numerous potential benefits associated with increased growth hormone secretion during water fasting. GH plays a role in regulating immune function, which directly impacts arthritis.

One study found that after 5 days of water fasting, there was a significant increase in growth hormone levels in both men and women. Another study showed an increase in GH levels after just 24 hours of water fasting.12

5-Day Water Fasting And Stem Cells

Stem cells are unique cells in the body with the ability to develop into different types of cells, such as muscle cells, nerve cells, or blood cells. Water fasting promotes the production of stem cells. Studies on animal models have shown that water fasting increases stem cell production in the body. This is thought to be due to the reduction in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels during fasting.13

IGF-1 is a hormone that promotes cell growth and division, and its reduction during fasting triggers the body to produce more stem cells as a way of repairing any damaged tissues. This is how fasting aids in tissue repair and regeneration, helping with conditions such as arthritis.14

How To Perform A 5-Day Water Fast

During a 5-day water fast, it is important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated to flush out toxins. It is also recommended to rest as much as possible and avoid strenuous physical activity. Fasting is a good time to meditate and connect with a higher power on a spiritual level.

Can I Drink Coffee Or Tea During A Water Fast?

Some people choose to supplement their water fast with herbal teas or electrolyte drinks, but it is best to stick with just water for maximum benefits. While coffee and tea may seem like harmless beverages, they have negative effects on a water fast.

Coffee and tea contain caffeine, a stimulant that increases heart rate and blood pressure. During a water fast, the body is in a state of cleansing and detoxification. Adding caffeine to the mix puts unnecessary strain on the body and even interferes with the benefits of the fast.15

Drinking coffee or tea causes a short-term spike in blood glucose levels in most individuals. This breaks the fast and inhibits the fat-burning state of ketosis.16

Juice Fasting For Arthritis

A juice fast typically involves consuming only fruit or vegetable juices for several days or even weeks, while avoiding solid foods. While fruits and vegetables are indeed important for overall health, a juice fast isn’t ideal, as the high sugar content in fruit juices stops autophagy by pushing the body out of ketosis.17

New To Fasting?

If you are new to fasting, it is best to start slow and gradually increase the duration of your fasts. This will give your body time to adjust and help prevent any potential side effects. Before beginning on a 5-day water fast, start with 24 hour fasts and work your way up to 72 hour fasts.

During a water fast, our bodies often become depleted of minerals. If you aren’t feeling well during a water fast, you may need to consume electrolytes. Electrolytes will aid in reducing the side effects of a water fast such as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.18

The most important electrolyte during a water fast is sodium. Sodium helps to regulate fluid balance and maintain proper nerve and muscle function. It can be easily obtained by adding a pinch of sea salt to a glass of water.19

Magnesium is another essential electrolyte that is often overlooked. It helps in maintaining healthy bones, nerve and muscle function, and energy production. During a water fast, magnesium levels can become depleted due to decreased food intake. Adding magnesium to water is a great way to restore the balance.20

Pay attention to how your body feels during a fast. If you experience any severe symptoms, such as dizziness or extreme fatigue, it may be a sign that you need to break your fast and eat something.

Does Fasting Help Arthritis – The Miraculous Benefits Of A Water Fast

Fasting has been shown to have numerous benefits for individuals suffering from arthritis. Fasting reduces inflammation through autophagy while promoting the secretion of growth hormone and the production of stem cells. This powerful combination is how fasting helps relieve arthritis.

Read more about the other benefits of fasting.


1 Song P, An J, Zou MH. Immune Clearance of Senescent Cells to Combat Ageing and Chronic Diseases. Cells. 2020 Mar 10;9(3):671. doi: 10.3390/cells9030671. PMID: 32164335; PMCID: PMC7140645.

2 Martinez-Lopez N, Tarabra E, Toledo M, Garcia-Macia M, Sahu S, Coletto L, Batista-Gonzalez A, Barzilai N, Pessin JE, Schwartz GJ, Kersten S, Singh R. System-wide Benefits of Intermeal Fasting by Autophagy. Cell Metab. 2017 Dec 5;26(6):856-871.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.09.020. Epub 2017 Oct 26. PMID: 29107505; PMCID: PMC5718973.

3 Babu S, Vaish A, Vaishya R, Agarwal A. Can intermittent fasting be helpful for knee osteoarthritis? J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2021 Jan 23;16:70-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jcot.2020.12.020. PMID: 33717941; PMCID: PMC7920092.

4 Hartmann AM, Dell’Oro M, Spoo M, Fischer JM, Steckhan N, Jeitler M, Häupl T, Kandil FI, Michalsen A, Koppold-Liebscher DA, Kessler CS. To eat or not to eat-an exploratory randomized controlled trial on fasting and plant-based diet in rheumatoid arthritis (NutriFast-Study). Front Nutr. 2022 Nov 2;9:1030380. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.1030380. PMID: 36407522; PMCID: PMC9667053.

5 Kang SH, Park YS, Ahn SH, Kim HH. Intermittent Fasting: Current Evidence in Clinical Practice. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020 Jun 30;29(2):81-83. doi: 10.7570/jomes20022. PMID: 32400147; PMCID: PMC7338490.

6 Wegman MP, Guo MH, Bennion DM, Shankar MN, Chrzanowski SM, Goldberg LA, Xu J, Williams TA, Lu X, Hsu SI, Anton SD, Leeuwenburgh C, Brantly ML. Practicality of intermittent fasting in humans and its effect on oxidative stress and genes related to aging and metabolism. Rejuvenation Res. 2015 Apr;18(2):162-72. doi: 10.1089/rej.2014.1624. PMID: 25546413; PMCID: PMC4403246.

7 Larrick JW, Mendelsohn AR, Larrick JW. Beneficial Gut Microbiome Remodeled During Intermittent Fasting in Humans. Rejuvenation Res. 2021 Jun;24(3):234-237. doi: 10.1089/rej.2021.0025. PMID: 34039011.

8 Kim BH, Joo Y, Kim MS, Choe HK, Tong Q, Kwon O. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on the Circulating Levels and Circadian Rhythms of Hormones. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2021 Aug;36(4):745-756. doi: 10.3803/EnM.2021.405. Epub 2021 Aug 27. PMID: 34474513; PMCID: PMC8419605.

9 Scharf E, Zeiler E, Ncube M, Kolbe P, Hwang SY, Goldhamer A, Myers TR. The Effects of Prolonged Water-Only Fasting and Refeeding on Markers of Cardiometabolic Risk. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 11;14(6):1183. doi: 10.3390/nu14061183. PMID: 35334843; PMCID: PMC8951503.

10 Gabriel S, Ncube M, Zeiler E, Thompson N, Karlsen MC, Goldman DM, Glavas Z, Beauchesne A, Scharf E, Goldhamer AC, Myers TR. A Six-Week Follow-Up Study on the Sustained Effects of Prolonged Water-Only Fasting and Refeeding on Markers of Cardiometabolic Risk. Nutrients. 2022 Oct 15;14(20):4313. doi: 10.3390/nu14204313. PMID: 36296997; PMCID: PMC9612103.

11 Antunes F, Erustes AG, Costa AJ, Nascimento AC, Bincoletto C, Ureshino RP, Pereira GJS, Smaili SS. Autophagy and intermittent fasting: the connection for cancer therapy? Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2018 Dec 10;73(suppl 1):e814s. doi: 10.6061/clinics/2018/e814s. PMID: 30540126; PMCID: PMC6257056.

12 Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, Furlanetto R, Evans WS, Alberti KG, Thorner MO. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. J Clin Invest. 1988 Apr;81(4):968-75. doi: 10.1172/JCI113450. PMID: 3127426; PMCID: PMC329619.

13 Wu, S. (2018, February 5). Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system. USC News.

14 Rahmani J, Kord Varkaneh H, Clark C, Zand H, Bawadi H, Ryan PM, Fatahi S, Zhang Y. The influence of fasting and energy restricting diets on IGF-1 levels in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Res Rev. 2019 Aug;53:100910. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2019.100910. Epub 2019 May 19. PMID: 31116995.

15 Planning Committee for a Workshop on Potential Health Hazards Associated with Consumption of Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements; Food and Nutrition Board; Board on Health Sciences Policy; Institute of Medicine. Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2014 Apr 23. 5, Caffeine Effects on the Cardiovascular System. Available from:

16 Reis CEG, Dórea JG, da Costa THM. Effects of coffee consumption on glucose metabolism: A systematic review of clinical trials. J Tradit Complement Med. 2018 May 3;9(3):184-191. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2018.01.001. PMID: 31193893; PMCID: PMC6544578.

17 Dowis K, Banga S. The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2021 May 13;13(5):1654. doi: 10.3390/nu13051654. PMID: 34068325; PMCID: PMC8153354.

18 Shrimanker I, Bhattarai S. Electrolytes. [Updated 2023 Jul 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:

19 Bernal A, Zafra MA, Simón MJ, Mahía J. Sodium Homeostasis, a Balance Necessary for Life. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 12;15(2):395. doi: 10.3390/nu15020395. PMID: 36678265; PMCID: PMC9862583.

20 Al Alawi AM, Majoni SW, Falhammar H. Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions. Int J Endocrinol. 2018 Apr 16;2018:9041694. doi: 10.1155/2018/9041694. PMID: 29849626; PMCID: PMC5926493.

Related posts