Author Topic: IF for food vs. air, water, sleep  (Read 1088 times)

Offline Mercurial

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 18
IF for food vs. air, water, sleep
« on: September 08, 2014, 01:28:22 PM »
I keep wondering if intermittent fasting works in domains other than food.

E.g., by analogy, could we train ourselves to hold our breaths longer and longer, making the times that we breathe more efficient in terms of oxygen delivery and Krebs byproduct waste removal (e.g. CO2)? This seems bad because of the Krebs cycle, but maybe it's secretly good...?

Or what about intermittent thirsting? Going a day without any liquids at all, or maybe not drinking water at all before 5pm, or something like that. I'm not sure if dehydration can cause a mode-switch the way hunger can, and water seems so fundamental to everything else that I could see this just messing things up. But maybe...?

Or how about sleep? Circadian rhythms suggest that a roughly daily sleep cycle is needed, but might it work well to be awake for 48 hours and then sleep for 24 (instead of 16 and 8 respectively three times)? Maybe something with appropriate control of Zeitgebers would let us make the "circadian" rhythm longer than a day.

My default assumption is that all of these are terrible ideas. But that would have been my assumption about regular fasting ten years ago, and I was very wrong about that!


Offline Todd Becker

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 442
Re: IF for food vs. air, water, sleep
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2014, 08:36:29 AM »
Hi Mercurial,

There is some evidence that intermittent hypoxia is beneficial:

I've been looking into this since my experience hiking up a 13,200 foot peak a week ago, leaving me with extra energy and sudden unexpected weight loss that I've easily sustained.   There is research suggesting that time spent at high altitudes can boost leptin and cause other physiological changes:

Intermittent hypoxia is an interesting example of hormesis in that it can be a very detrimental thing at high doses or for those with health conditions (as with sleep apnea), but has the potential to improve health if the dose and frequency are appropriate.  For example, Wim Hof has trained himself to hold his breath for 6 minutes, improving his respiratory capacity:

Hypoxia is of course fraught with danger.  Guys like Wim Hof obviously learned to build up their capacity gradually, and start out with outstanding health.  So I can't advise pursuing this for the average person.