Common Physical Reactions To Fasting

By: Ron Lagerquist

"Most of these reactions are not symptoms of fasting but years of neglect, facing years of unhealthy eating manifested by pounds of unnecessary fat and toxins." 

Common Physical Reactions To FastingIt may be a garage piled to the ceiling with generations of junk, or a tub laminated with months of baths, a neglected letter to a friend, long overdue apology, or one day out of the blue, a call to fast. The longer left, the harder to face. But in the end, cleanup time will come calling. 

Fasting is like cleaning out a filthy garage, twenty, thirty, maybe fifty years of harmful food latent in every cell. Sometimes things must get worse before they get better. This has never been truer than with fasting. Fasting stirs up toxins on a cellular and spiritual level, resulting in days of discomfort. They surface in the forms of bad breath, cankers, nausea, feelings of sadness, remorse, even depression. All this can convince the faint of heart, fasting is bad.

Facing my box full of paper stung because it was a reminder of negligence. A fast can feel the same way, facing years of foolish eating manifested by pounds of unnecessary fat and toxins. Easier not to deal with it, right? Pack it away in the back of the mind. But when reality spills all over your life in the form of illness, then face it you must.

What you are about to read are common physical reactions to fasting. These reactions are not symptoms of fasting but years of neglect. I have often tried to imagine what the fasting experience was like during Jesus’ day. Their Lifestyle was severe, eating a simple diet consisting of organic whole foods; their air and water was absent from the soup of pollutants we are forced to assimilate daily. Fasting was a part of their faith; they often went short periods of time without food. If Peter or John read the list below, I think they would be surprised. We have talked about the law of sowing and reaping. The intensity of the following physical reactions will be a tangible measurement of your level of toxicity. Sometimes we must reap a bad harvest to make room for good seed, a body cleaned to receive a new diet.


Most are surprised by the disappearance of hunger once the border is crossed into fasting’s land of silence. After a day or two, hunger’s voice will be rare indeed. Craving can continue on for some days longer, and then at last there will be stillness, leaving the deep groans of the soul. Once the body quiets, the richer connection with our spiritual hunger can be felt. There is nothing like it! Wonderful freedom comes when flesh is forced into silence, sharpening perception of the greatest sound of all; God’s still small voice. 

The odd time hunger can flare up, more often in a juice fast than water. This could be due to excessive pulp in the juice, reawakening digestion. If hunger persists, try straining your juice or adding some prune juice to clean out the digestive tract.


Water fasting will result in weakness and lack of energy. There can even be dips in stamina during a juice fast if you have a high metabolism. Weakness is a vital part of fasting’s slowing down process. Embrace this wonderful quieting state; your expectations should be adjusted when planning a fast. Give yourself lots of down time; enjoy the holiday away from the hustle and bustle.


Back pain can increase due to toxins in the lower intestine. Blood vessels that draw nutrients from the colon are very close to the nerves of the spine. Back pain will often decrease after elimination of the toxins. Back exercises can also relieve some pain. A cold pack also will help. Using the enema kit will be the best remedy. 

Bad Breath

  Waste passes through the lungs, which are an eliminative organ. Brushing the tongue with a toothbrush using dental floss and rinsing with mouthwash will reduce bad breath.


Toxic build-up in the mouth and the absence of the washing-action of chewing food can allow an increase of bacteria between the teeth. The tongue becomes coated with waste. To stop cankers, gargle with sea salt mixed with water several times daily. Dabbing the sore with tea tree oil or vitamin E quickens the healing process. 

Cold Virus

Mucoid is the perfect food for viruses. Toxins weaken the immune system. When large quantities of toxins and mucus are in the blood due to a fast, they can cause susceptibility to colds. To fight a cold, continue fasting to eliminate mucus. Increase intake of citrus juices.


During fasting the body conserves energy. The heart pumps slower and blood pressure lowers. Standing or moving quickly from a resting position will cause the blood to flow to the legs, causing blackouts and dizziness. To stop blackouts get down on one knee or sit. Lowering your center of gravity will instantly stop a blackout. Blackouts are more frequent during water fasting.


Fruit juices have a laxative effect which is more pronounced after water fasting. The enema kit or using phylum husk during diarrhea helps regulate diarrhea. 


Toxins can cause muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders. This can result in tension headaches. Massaging the neck and shoulders will help relieve the tension. The herb Fever Few, which is available in health food stores, is well worth trying. 

Muscle Tightness


The muscles may become tight and sore due to toxin irritation. The legs can be affected, as toxins accumulate in the large muscles. A self-massage, hot baths, stretching and exercising will help to release the toxins. 


When waste is released too quickly by the lymph glands some of the toxic overload is taken by the liver and secreted with bile into the stomach. This causes nausea. Drinking water or carrot juice will dilute the bile and toxin mixture, helping to flush it from the system.


The elimination of toxins can irritate damaged nerves. Light exercise will relieve tension. Use quarter slices of avocado to slow the fast.

Skin Disturbances 

People with problem-free skin may have a few days of pimples or boils. A pallid complexion is also a sign of waste in the blood. When cleansed of mucus and toxins the skin will be healthy, soft and unblemished.


Sleepiness is normal during water or restricted juice fasting. Very few people receive enough rest, so enjoy the extra sleep; it may be as healing and rejuvenating as the fast itself. 

Related Article: The Detoxification Process

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Your Comments
This was SO helpful as I was trying to understand what's happening in my body! (almost at the end of day #8 water fasting) -- I didn't know someone would put it out there for reference. You expressed my situation very well. (I was trying to understand why my gut felt like a "rock" w/ a fair amount of pain/discomfort when there's nothing in it! And definitely more neck & shoulder pain.-- Again, THANK YOU!
Thanks, very helpful.
Thanks. This is the information I was looking for.
Louis Legare
Great informative article. Explained the reasons behind my symptoms. Feeling energetic now on my 5th of 30 day water fast,
Kelly Gillen
Great informative article. Explained the reasons behind my symptoms. Feeling energetic now on my 5th of 30 day water fast,
Kelly Gillen
This was so incredibly helpful. I came here looking for a reason for the nausea and it made perfect sense! I'm so glad for this article and in reading all of the comments, I'm not the only one who has had it. Thanks for the article!
This is a gift from God. I'm on my 12th day of a water fast and I began experiencing back pains and unusual stiffness in my upper thighs, just around the 10th day. So, this is incredibly helpful, encouraging and very detailing. I've researched so much information online and this is a first with such concise details. Thank you so much, this is a so incredibly helpful.
Great article, and good to know the aches I have are to be expected lol Also, for Kacee, your muscle twitches... try drinking 1 tbsp organic lemon juice and 1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother) in 2 cups or more of water. It sounds like you might need some calcium, etc. and that should hopefully help.
Great article!
Jeff Sr.
I'm currently in the middle (day 4) of a 7 day fast. My knee and ankle joints are in a constant dull ache and my abdomen was twitching so much this morning I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I'm also getting sever twitching in my arms and back. I can't find anywher where muscle twitches are common or not. The reason I'm doing my fast is to ease the toxin build up that is a little more extensive in my case due to a genetic disorder called mthfr.
I have fasted over the years but always find it hard to do, even boring. But reading your view on it, it makes good sense. Thanks very much
The only lifestyle people who are really serious health should be switiching to after a water fast, let alone a prolonged fast, is a whole food plant based diet. All these toxins that the poster is referring to tgat are stored in our fat are from animal fat and animal protein. Anyone contemplating an atkins type ketogenic diet after a water fast is going to quickly undo all the good they did with a fast.
Great info!
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