Most people think women over 50, and women of any age, shouldn’t fast because they need constant fuel to support pregnancies, or they are too “fragile” to fast as they get older, or their nutritional needs won’t allow for restricting their eating windows. The more often women eat, the better it is for the female body, right? WRONG.
It is actually the opposite. Women over 50 are designed to “weather the storm” and survive under fasting periods better than men. In fact, according to the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise proved in a study that women actually utilize lipids (or fats) better and less carbohydrate and protein compared to men. Women recruit more fat for fuel and maintain muscle mass better than men during exercise. This means women are designed to intermittent fast.
Let’s first look at the benefits of fasting.
What Are the Benefits of Fasting for Women Over 50?
Fasting and Cancer
Cancer risk increases with age and is a concern for women over 50. According to a study, fasting can inhibit several critical pathways in the development and progression of cancer. “It essentially takes the blood supply away from tumors, and they can’t grow. The 48 hour fast has been reported to also suppress tumor growth. Furthermore, intermittent fasting for just 13-15 hours had a 70% reduction in recurrence of breast cancer.” Pradeep M. K. Nair and Pranav G. Khawale
Reversal of PCOS and Hormonal Imbalance
Fasting can balance stress hormones which balances the sex hormones related to PCOS and overall hormonal imbalances. It is reducing the chronic sympathetic overactivity in PCOS which reduces the cortisol. As a result, fasting reduces the stress neurohormone levels.
Fasting has been shown to affect the parathyroid hormone secretion which helps with Osteoporosis and bone health in women over 50. Also as fasting helps with weight loss and calcium and phosphorus absorption, it also helps with diluting the risk of fracture and other comorbidities. Furthermore, with a fast of 7-10 days, there is a reduction in pain, stiffness, and dependency on pain medication to control Rheumatoid Arthritis, a condition that affects many women over 50 years old.
As women move through their 40’s into their 50’s, the risk of metabolic disease increases. This includes liver disease, heart disease, Type II Diabetes, and visceral fat accumulation around your belly. Intermittent fasting has been shown to reset metabolic abnormalities. The study showed an improvement in cardiovascular protection, reduction in heart rate, reduction in blood pressure, reduction in BMI, and improved lipid profile with an increase in HDL, and reduction of LDL.
Improved Mental Health
80-85% of all women experience menopausal symptoms that affect them mentally. Fasting has been shown to reduce hot flashes, irritability, anxiety, depression, and stress. Fasting improves neurobiological mechanisms that improve mood. With the production of ketones, an increase of GABA occurs, which in turn calms the brain.
Ketones are a clean and heightened fuel for the brain. They have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and reduce inflammation and brain fog.
Most women complain about brain fog, lack of concentration, and mental exhaustion, especially after pregnancies and as they enter their 40’s. The ketones from fasting help clear the “cobwebs” out of the brain and produce very little “waste” for the brain to detox as glucose does.
Ketones also provide the muscles clean-burning fuel and make the body fat easy to access for endless energy.
When glucose is the main dietary fuel, your body depends on the constant incoming calories to utilize for fuel and will increase appetite, cause headaches and low energy, and actually start breaking down muscle tissue if it doesn’t get what it needs. With ketones present, the body maintains the muscle mass while seamlessly tapping into the body fat and turning the fat into ketones.
For women, this keeps the energy levels high, diminishes the brain fog, and speeds up the metabolism, as the body knows it as an amazing supply of fat to use for energy.
Increased Fat Loss
Women over 50 have a more difficult time with fat loss due to higher insulin resistance. When they are in a fasted state, they are in a hormetic stress state. This actually triggers adrenaline which triggers glycolysis and the fat burning process. In fact, women burn more fat from adrenaline than men according to a study in the American Journal of Physiology.
Reduction of Inflammation
Fasting helps reduce any inflammation and subsequent disease that is connected to inflammation in the body. Inflammatory disease is very common in women as they go through menopause and pass the age of 50.
Reduction in Neurodegenerative Diseases including Alzheimer’s and Dementia
As the brain is supplied with an alternative fuel other than inflammatory glucose, it can regenerate cells and prevent neurological disease.
Reverses Diabetes and Obesity
Many women over 50 suffer from insulin resistance, obesity, and other associated diseases. By resetting the insulin level and blood sugar levels, weight loss is initiated and Type II Diabetes can be reversed.
Increased Growth Hormone
Growth hormone declines significantly after the age of 50. Fasting increases growth hormone, and growth hormone is directly correlated to slow the ageing process and increase fat burning.
Stem cell production slows down to almost zero in women over 50. Fasting helps increase stem cells and telomeres which will improve the skin, hair, and rejuvenation of every cell. Fasting actually increases the stem cells on the telomeres on the DNA. Telomeres are directly related to aging.
Furthermore, the body produces less oxidative stress, which is directly related to aging. Also, this state encourages younger-looking skin to form and the “eating up” of the old skin. Many report that when they lose weight through a keto diet and fasting, there isn’t loose skin leftover like there is with caloric restriction dieting.
Fasting Increases Stem Cells for the Immune System
Women over 50 generally have a more compromised immune system; prolonged fasting of 48-72 hours can reset and regenerate the immune system.
This is the body’s recycling system. Fasting allows the stronger cells to survive and the weaker cells die. Furthermore, it utilizes parts of the damaged cells to repurpose in other ways.
Different Types of Fasting for Women Over 50
This is described as not eating for 12 hours and squeezing your feeding window into 12 hours. This is fairly easy for anyone to do because most people are sleeping for 7-8 of those hours. You are still able to fit 3 meals into that window fairly easily. This is a place to start for anyone coming off a high carb diet and trying to increase their insulin sensitivity, adjust to a more high protein or ketogenic diet.
13-15 Hour Fast
This is Intermittent Fasting and helps regulate insulin sensitivity and blood sugar. For most, it is easier to switch to a low-carb diet prior to trying the 13-15 hour Fast.
Longer Intermittent Fasting
This is when you squeeze your eating window between 4 and 8 hours. The benefits of this are you are resetting your microbiome in your gut. In other words, bad bacteria die off and the good bacteria flourish. When you eat constantly throughout the day, you feed bad bacteria, fungus, and candida.
This longer fast also helps heal Leaky Gut, repairing the tight junctions in the intestinal walls. You also will naturally enter the state of ketosis. Ketones can act as a hormone by changing DNA expression for the better. This longer intermittent fasting regimen is also an “insulin fast.”
When you eat continuously throughout the day, you are flooding your system with insulin constantly, and its effectiveness declines; as a result, more insulin is needed after time, and this is what leads to insulin resistance and Type II Diabetes.
24 Hour Fast or OMAD
Some people refer to this as One Meal a Day or OMAD. This is less about body composition and more about healing the body. You enter a deeper state of autophagy and ketosis. You get a big surge of ketones to heal genetics and initiate a hormonal reset. There is a link between fasting and cortisol (also known as the stress hormone). This extended fasting will trigger a temporary spike in cortisol; when cortisol rises, estrogen, insulin, and testosterone rise. This may halt the weight loss just for 1-3 days, but then it will subside as the body reduces its cortisol.
What Do You Need to Do Before you Start a Fast
Leptin is the hormone that tells you that you are full and satisfied. When you eat a big meal, your leptin climbs high; this is the signal from the brain telling you that you have enough fuel and can increase your metabolism.
When the leptin is low, the brain tells the body to lower the metabolism because there isn’t enough fuel. Ironically, we need our leptin low in order for lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat, to occur. Therefore, prior to the fast, you want to lower your food intake or eat a low-carb ketogenic diet.
If you eat a high-carb diet your leptin levels will spike really high. So at the very least, you want your last meal before the fasting period to be a low to no-carb meal.
What Can You Have During Your Fast?
Coffee and tea
They are great but with no creamer. In fact, coffee has been shown to increase your ketones and mobilize fat in the liver. You can use stevia or monk fruit but no other type of real or fake sweetener like Splenda and aspartame. Fake sweeteners spike insulin even though they don’t contain calories. As a result, they halt the benefits of fasting and increase your appetite to match the rise in insulin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Not only is apple cider vinegar ok, but it does help lower blood sugar and mobilize fat oxidation. Adding a little stevia, Accelerated Ancient Salt, and Apple Cider Vinegar is a satisfying treat to suppress appetite, mobilize fat, and hydrate.
Lemons and Limes
Proper Salt such as Accelerated Ancient Salt
Quinton Mineral Supplement
When you fast, your energy comes from hydration and minerals; it is essential to hydrate with a complete mineral supplement like Quinton. Its composition matches the human blood plasma and achieves effective hydration to the cells.
What Can’t You Take During Your Fast?
Branch Chain Amino Acids
Amino Acids will have an impact on your insulin, especially Leucine which triggers an insulin spike. This takes away the autophagy process, which is the true benefit of fasting.
What Pitfalls Should You Look Out For?
Cortisol is actually elevated. This can be a good thing. When we are fasting, cortisol can actually help us burn fat. When it is combined with food, it will cause you to store fat. At the end of a fast, our cortisol is high, so we need to increase proper salt in our water or on our tongue to lower our aldosterone, which regulates fluid retention, and that will bring down cortisol.
How Should You Break a Fast?
This includes lean cuts of wild meat or wild fish with healthy omega 3 fatty acids. If you break your fast with a small amount of lean protein 60-90 minutes before your real meal, you will not only prepare your stomach for a larger meal, but you will also increase glucagon, the fat-burning hormone, to optimize the fat-burning window.
Don’t add extra fats
Use your body fat as your fat. By abstaining from fat initially you will lengthen the window of burning body fat.
Your digestive system is very sensitive and your mucosal lining is very thin. Gluten produces zonulin which will cause Leaky Gut and inflammation in the gut. As a result, an antibody will try to attack these proteins. This is the same type of antibody that attaches to your thyroid, causing Hashimoto’s or slow thyroid.
Women are more sensitive to dairy. You will be more hormonally sensitive to dairy which may lead to bloat, constipation, or insulin spikes.
If you start with veggies, you will get bloated. Your gut is extra sensitive and will overreact to fibrous vegetables.
Bone broth is a perfect combination of protein and salt to help with hydration, mineral balance, and increased glucagon for additional fat burning.
Don’t Mix Fats and Carbs
The carbs spike insulin and then the cells will open up to store the dietary fats. This is the most dangerous of all combinations.
What Are the Side Effects of Fasting For Women Over 50?
You Get Cold
This isn’t a bad thing. This is the blood flow going to your white visceral fat tissue to convert it into brown fat, also known as the more metabolically active fat. Brown fat has more mitochondria and ATP, which increases metabolic health and the “heat” to burn additional fat in the body.
These headaches aren’t from hypoglycemia like most would believe; hypoglycemic headaches are throbbing. Headaches from fasting are more of a constant headache, and your pain receptors are adjusting to a lower level of glycemia. Another reason for the headache may be low levels of minerals and electrolytes, especially sodium, in the body.
If you break your fast with vegetables, your system is sensitive and your gut microbiome has changed which may result in bloat.
This is from higher adrenaline that comes with fasting, and you also may not need as much sleep when fasting.
When Should You Not Fast?
Not every day
If you do longer fasts, such as 24-hour fasts, every day, your body may slow down its metabolism. It is best to confuse the body with different meal timing and keep the body guessing. You want to do the 36-48 hour fasts once every 3-4 weeks.
What Tools Can Women Over 50 Use to Enhance Your Results from Fasting?
This comprehensive cleanse incorporates the Accelerated Keto, Acceleradine, Accelerated Silver, Accelerated Cellular Detox Powder, and supplements to help flush gallstones and liver stones out of the body safely. The Ascent Cleanse suppresses the appetite and increases natural energy immediately to aid in easy fasting while enhancing the benefits of fasting.
The synergistic combination increases ATP production and efficacy, increases mitophagy, autophagy, thyroid health, metabolism, mental clarity, physical energy, endurance, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. As a result, clients lose body fat, especially the dangerous visceral fat, increase the cells’ phase angle or the cells’ ability to absorb nutrients and release toxins that affect ATP production, while improving mental and physical energy.
- Acceleradine. Acceleradine iodine will ensure your thyroid has the proper raw materials to make thyroid hormones in addition to increasing ATP production for true cellular energy and mitochondrial health. Without iodine, the thyroid cannot create the building blocks for thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Furthermore, Acceleradine is enhancing the detoxification process of fasting by kicking out the toxins known to settle in the iodine receptors. It also trigger “apoptosis” or the killing of diseased and damaged cells in the body.
- Accelerated Keto. This elevates the ketone level above just fasting alone, which optimizes all of the benefits of fasting including, liver detoxification, autophagy, ATP production, reduction of inflammation, and enhanced fat burning. Furthermore, it flips you into ketosis within 30 minutes, which suppresses appetite and makes fasting much easier.
- Liver Cleanse. Through cleansing the liver and releasing the liver stones out of the body, detoxification is optimized, thyroid hormone function is improved, visceral fat is diminished, liver fat is mobilized, and fat burning is elevated. It will accelerate the healing that is associated with fasting.
- Quinton. It is essential to hydrate with proper electrolytes and minerals during a fast. Quinton is raw seawater with added Alpine spring water to match the concentration of our bodily fluids. Its marine plasma is almost identical to human plasma. It replenishes the body when fasting or feeling less than optimal, supports healthy sleep cycles, and promotes autonomic nervous system balance and healthy stress response.
These patches increase your own stem cell production and reset 4000 Genes to Younger State. As a result, it helps repair collagen in all tissues, activates stem cell production, encourages apoptosis of cancer cells, and discourages metastatic cancer cells. Through clinical studies, an improvement in the overall energy of the body, organ balance, and symmetry distribution of energy was improved as well. They speed up the healing during a fast.
These increase ATP production in the mitochondria, increase Heart Rate Variability, improve the bioelectrical measurement or “phase angle” or integrity of the cell walls, reduce inflammation, and increase endurance. Just after 20 minutes, the capacity of each cell increases. With age, the cell walls become rigid and hard to penetrate with nutrients coming in and toxins going out.
The Energy Enhancer Patches soften that cell wall and improve that phase angle within five minutes of applying the patch. Additionally, it improves digestion and circulation which are essential for nutrient absorption that leads to improved energy. Lastly, it increases beta-oxidation which is the fastest way to increase cellular energy.
As a plus, it increases fat burning and muscle growth. They work synergistically with the Accelerated Keto in your fat burning and tapping into an endless supply of fuel source on your body. During a fast, you have steady energy without the intake of dietary fuel while enhancing the healing and anti-inflammatory mechanisms from the fast.
The Aeon Lifewave patch is known as the “Happy Patch”. It increases SOD antioxidants in the body and is turning on our innate immune system. It puts you into the parasympathetic state so you are not constantly in the sympathetic state of “fight or flight”.
The benefits include stress reduction, a healthy inflammatory response, a reduction of cortisol & C reactive proteins, an elevation of DHEA, a calm sense of well-being, and increased energy. It helps combat the normal rise in cortisol that comes with longer fasts.
This is the master antioxidant, detoxifier, immune booster, and neuroprotector. It increases glutathione by 300% in 24 hours. When it is worn with the X39, glutathione production increases to 400%. Additionally, it is antiviral and great for infections. For chronic issues, it brings glutathione levels up so suffering goes down in symptoms like autoimmune issues, arthritis, autism, MS, and Parkinson’s. It is known to help with longevity. The glutathione patch signals the body to make glutathione.
Watch my recent review of Glutathione Patches with Heather Hiniker from Ascent Adaption.
Women are more sensitive to Vitamin D. You can get this through the sun, wild fish, eggs, or a high-quality supplement.
You can get this through wild fish. Zinc helps thyroid hormones actually “work” in the body.
Women need healthy fats to support estrogen levels. Men don’t need estrogen as much as women. Estrogen actually makes it so you don’t get hungry and makes it so you recover better.
Maintain Your Intensity for Workouts
You don’t need to down-regulate your workouts just because you are fasting. Keep everything else the same other than your fasting. If you are wanting to maximize fat loss, do it in a fasted state; and if you want to maximize it, even more, do it at the end of your fasted state. Then you break your fast with your post-workout meal which will be absorbed more efficiently and typically is a high protein meal.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.