Did you think we’d make it to the end of this series?

I was questioning it myself. The deeper I dive into other articles, research, and testimonies on fasting the more I want to say.

However, I realize that not everyone likes to nerd-out on this stuff like I do. I hope those of you that do, have gotten what you came looking for, and those that don’t—I hope you’re still hanging with me.

To tie a nice little bow on this box let’s look at the role growth hormone (GH) plays in making us a Metabolic Boss.

Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland that helps us grow as children and adolescents. As adults, GH aids in muscle growth and preservation, and it also helps regulate our metabolism among other functions beyond the scope of this article.

One of the prime concerns of anyone undertaking a fast is muscle loss.

For those of us who have weight trained for years and built an appreciable amount of muscle, the last thing we want to do is, lose all dem gainz. Especially because we recognize all the negative side effects associated with muscle loss.

One of the world’s leading authorities on fasting, Dr. Jason Fung, provides an epically-awesome analogy of how our body actually responds to fasting compared to what we’ve been led to think:

It’s as if you store firewood for a wood-burning oven. You pack lots of firewood away in your storage unit. In fact, you have so much, it is spilling out all over your house and you don’t even have enough room for all the wood you’ve stored. But when the time comes to start up the oven, you immediately chop up your sofa and throw that into the oven. Pretty stupid right? Why would we assume our body is also so stupid?

The logical thing to do is to start burning the stored wood. In the case of the body, we start to burn the stored food (fat stores) instead of burning precious muscle.

Makes perfect sense, right!?

In his article Fasting and Growth Hormone Physiology, Dr. Fung references some incredible research results on fasting and growth hormone.

  • In a 1982 study, a single patient decided to undergo a 40 day fast for religious purposes. The result? Growth hormone levels increased 1250%!!!

  • A significantly shorter 5 day fast results in a 300% increase in GH.

These are some pretty significant numbers. But what about those who fast intermittently versus these extended fasts?

According to researcher Madelon Buijs, at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, there is a noticeable increase in growth hormone 13 hours after fasting. For those committed to improving or maintaining our body composition, this is great news.

Implementing 16-24 hour fasts regularly can help us make definitive hormonal shifts that will improve our metabolic and muscular capabilities.

Well...we’ve come a long way since first considering the idea of skipping breakfast as a fat-loss and health-related strategy. (Que the credits!)

The scientific support for intermittent fasting continues to mount and more and more people are adopting it as a lifestyle strategy than ever before.

Though I don’t ever encourage anyone to go against mom’s advice...this, might be the one exception.