Monday, July 20, 2009

Intermittent Fasting is a Natural, Effective Treatment for Asthma

Dr. James Johnson wrote the book, The Alternate Day Diet. His website (link on the right side of this page) calls it the Up Day Down Day Diet.

His regimen is different from mine. He alternates calendar days, eating as much as you want one day, and 20% to 50% of your maintenance calories the next. I'll post my experience with his method later, but for now I want to focus on his results with treating asthma patients. The following is from his website (

The Asthma Study

Dr. Johnson conducted the first study that examined the ability of alternate-day calorie restriction to treat symptoms of disease in humans. He selected asthma because it is associated with obesity and inflammation, and its symptoms are very easy to observe and monitor. Twenty overweight people with asthma were chosen to participate in the study. Every other day, they were allowed to eat as they normally would, and on alternate days they were instructed to consume no more than 20 percent of their normal caloric intake. Only one person was not able to comply with the diet. At the end of the eight-week study, the participants had lost, on average, about 8 percent of their initial body weight. They all experienced a drastic improvement in their asthma symptoms as well as increased energy. In addition, their nitrotyrosine levels, a measure of oxidative stress and an indicator of heart disease, decreased by 90 percent, and their levels of TN-alpha, a marker of inflammation, were reduced by two-thirds.

By demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effect of alternate-day calorie restriction on asthma sufferers, Dr. Johnson believes that this diet has the potential to have profound effects on other diseases associated with inflammation and aging, including heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.

The asthma study also showed that many of the health benefits of alternate-day dieting take effect in a very short period of time. Although the study lasted eight weeks, most of the improvement took place in the first two to three weeks of the study. Dr. Johnson believes that the SIRT1 gene is the reason why the diet is so effective, and SIRT1 levels are increased very quickly after the gene is activated.

In his book, The Alternate Day Diet, Dr. Johnson devotes chapter 4 to this study, and gives the actual measurable, clinical results. It's amazing, really. Who would have thought you could achieve a near complete remission in symptoms, with no medication? But that is essentially what happened, simply by restricting the patients' food intake every other day.

Even for those of us without asthma, the inflammation reducing effects of alternate day fasting can have profound effects. In my own case, it's rheumatoid arthritis I struggle with, and in my next post I'll talk about the effects of IF so far in my effort to beat this disease.

Bon repos,


  1. profound information tom. my personal benefits very early included much easier respiration. even before any big fat loss. i dumped lots of edema, and my mental fog lifted (somewhat :)

    i always credited this to glycogen dumping, and insulin control, but ive never gave much thought to how effective the fasting lightens inflammation as well, thanks for the heads up.

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