A Global Fasting Clinic Provides Data-Driven Results

A Global Fasting Clinic Provides Data-Driven Results

The Fasting Method

Developed by Megan Ramos and Dr. Jason Fung from years of clinical experience with intermittent fasting and time restricted eating, The Fasting Method (TFM) provides the education, guidance, and support necessary for successful weight loss and type 2 diabetes remission. With clients all over the world, The Fasting Method needed a comprehensive solution to monitor and support their customers.

Heads Up (HU), the industry-leading health tracking platform, worked closely with TFM to create a combined technology solution to meet their needs. The resulting single-sign-on interface gives clients and coaches secure access to TFM’s custom lifestyle dashboard with community and education resources as well as health metrics and lab results tracking. 

HU integrates seamlessly with TFM’s WordPress site to deliver a data-driven approach to guide users through structured intermittent fasting. 

Fasting Woman at Computer

Fasting for Health

Megan Ramos and Dr. Jason Fung are the co-founders of The Fasting Method which provides solutions for weight loss, type 2 diabetes control, and metabolic syndrome. 

Ramos is a Canadian clinical researcher and expert on therapeutic fasting and low carbohydrate diets. Megan is one of the directors of the nonprofit organization Public Health Collaboration Canada (PHC Canada), an international group dedicated to promoting evidence-based nutritional information. She is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Insulin Resistance.

Dr. Fung, MD, is a Toronto-based nephrologist and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets. He has written the bestselling health books: The Obesity Code, The Complete Guide to Fasting, The Diabetes Code, and The Longevity Solution. Dr. Fung currently practices in Toronto, Canada and also works with Team Diet Doctor. He is the scientific editor of the Journal of Insulin Resistance, and the managing director of PHC Canada.

About The Fasting Method

The Fasting Method focuses on client empowerment by providing education, support, and access to an engaged community of TFM members. Centered around creating sustainable life changes, participants enroll in TFM’s self-guided program for access to a suite of resources to support their health goals. TFM also provides custom coaching for customers seeking tailored solutions to their fasting goals.

TFM’s three-pillar system of education, community, and health tracking gives clients the tools they need to succeed with fasting and time-restricted eating to tackle health challenges and meet their goals. Clients with a range of experience have access to appropriate educational courses on eating strategies and support from a community who shares their goals. 

Business Challenge

With customers all over the world, TFM needed a product to remotely track client progress, compile health metrics, and measure the effectiveness of their protocols over time. 

TFM was seeking a comprehensive solution for data aggregation that could not only track fasting intervals but also measure other critical health parameters such as sleep, heart rate variability (HRV), weight, DEXA scans, and lab results. They needed a custom portal to integrate directly with their existing WordPress client portal for a seamless single-sign-on experience.

Promoting client engagement is essential for businesses in the dynamic health and wellness sector. The team at TFM was seeking an accessible solution for their customers to self-monitor and track the positive impacts of the program on their wellbeing. Giving clients a platform to see real data and numbers for themselves leads to better outcomes and long-term customer retention.

Technology Solution

The goal for Heads Up, the personal health platform for tracking and analyzing health data, was to develop a custom solution to meet TFM’s diverse needs. In creating single-sign-on access to the HU platform, clients can now effortlessly monitor their health metrics, in addition to connecting with essential education and community resources, from within the TFM website.

Heads Up Computer Login for Fasting

Custom Lifestyle Dashboard

Heads Up created the custom dashboard to be an organic component of the TFM member portal. Featuring a single sign-on experience, the HU integration is programmed with default tiles for tracking key fasting metrics and lab results, while the frontend interface gives clients a seamless user experience on their journey to health. 

Custom Single Sign-on

A cornerstone feature of HU’s technology solution is the custom single sign-on (SSO). Heads Up integrates with TFM’s WordPress website and client portal via SSO to create a seamlessly fluid, on-brand user experience. 

Heads Up has the ability to integrate with any patient portal or existing membership platform. With a custom SSO, HU can open as an iframe within the existing webpage or in a separate tab from the client portal. TFM chose to have HU open in an adjacent tab from the main dashboard, allowing users to navigate multiple features of their website simultaneously.

Like many clinics in the health and wellness space, TFM has an extensive database of electronic health records. With SSO, clients are automatically connected to their HU dashboard when logging into their TFM account. This secure and streamlined approach eliminates the need for clients to sign onto multiple apps and programs to achieve their health goals. 

TFM Custom Dashboard

The Heads Up dashboard, when accessed by TFM clients, is fully branded with TFM’s logos and color palettes, as well as being pre-programmed with the proper tiles for tracking fasting metrics alongside other lifestyle data (weight, blood sugar, nutrition, sleep etc.) and lab data (cholesterol levels, hemoglobin a1c etc). 

The TFM program leads to substantial improvements in body composition and the new TFM dashboard lets clients see these changes in relation to other lifestyle metrics. 

The goals The Fasting Method protocols are to regulate the insulin response, reduce medication dependency, and improve overall wellness through intermittent fasting. The Heads Up integration with TFM gives clients an easy way to track their most essential metrics of fasting.

Heads Up on Mobile and Computer for Fasting

Custom Dashboard Metrics

TFM clients see the following metrics on their custom dashboard:

  • Fasting: Tracking fasting intervals gives insight into when the body is using stored sources of energy to fuel itself. Whether following an intermittent or extended fast, you are lowering blood sugar and body fat by using these stored sources of energy. The timer helps motivate users so they can see exactly how long they’ve been fasting and to learn how their other vital signs (sleep, blood glucose, ketones etc.) are changing.
  • Weight: Fasting has recently been rediscovered as a highly effective weight loss method, in addition to its many other healthy properties. Though weight may fluctuate throughout the fasting journey, measuring weight change over time is one baseline metrics of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Body Fat: Reducing overall body fat is key in improving fitness and avoiding health problems. Tracking changes in body fat is a tool to assess body composition and measure lean mass gains.
  • Blood Pressure: TFM’s method of intermittent fasting can lead to reduced blood pressure by reducing insulin and improving weight loss. Tracking blood is a metric of elasticity of the circulatory system, a key health indicator. 
  • Ketones: As blood glucose and insulin levels begin to drop during fasting, the body starts to burn fat and produce ketones. Measuring breath ketones indicates periods of nutritional ketosis versus glycolysis.The dashboard can sync ketone readings from Keto-Mojo, Ketonix and Biosense or can be entered manually.
  • Blood Glucose: Glucose and fat are the body’s main sources of energy. If glucose is not available, then the body will adjust by using fat, without any detrimental health effects. Tracking glucose gives insight into the metabolic stage that the body is in during fasting.
  • Sleep: Timing meals affects our circadian rhythms that exert a powerful influence over our sleep and wellbeing. Monitoring sleep and waking hours is helpful in timing intermittent fasting windows and ensuring proper rest. TFM clients can sync sleep data from Oura, Garmin, FitBit, Biostrap, Apple Watch and other industry-leading wearables.

In addition to the above metrics, TFM clients have access to the full suite of Heads Up tracking modules and integrations. Tracking other metrics such as exercise, macros, or HRV can serve as additional markers of a healthy lifestyle.

Custom Lab Results

With a focus on data-driven results, the custom portal also allows clients to track their lab results as they embark on the journey with TFM. 

Traditional lab tests such as lipid panels (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, etc.), metabolic markers (fasting insulin, Hba1c, etc.), and thyroid markers can all be tracked by clients. Clients can see for themselves how TFM is improving their markers of health and disease. Similarly, TFM experts can review these results with clients to help optimize and personalize the treatment protocol for each client. 

Custom Lab Results for Fasting on Computer

Conclusions

Clear access to health data gives TFM clients the tools they need to set actionable goals and track improvement. The HU team designed a seamless user experience on both the frontend for clients and backend for practitioners.

With an eye on customer retention, HU’s custom dashboard is designed with a clean look and intuitive feel to facilitate customer motivation and satisfaction. Whether accessing the dashboard on desktop, mobile, or tablet, clients and practitioners have an elegant and practical experience from sign in to sign out.

Interested in a custom data portal for your practice? Click here to learn more about the Heads Up platform and schedule a demo with one of our team members.

The Fasting Method on iPhone
How an Innovative Cryotherapy Center Uses Data to Personalize Client Recovery Programs

How an Innovative Cryotherapy Center Uses Data to Personalize Client Recovery Programs

Huemn is an innovative health and wellness cryotherapy center focused on providing clients with a non-invasive, drug-free, natural way of recovering from athletics, injuries, pain and inflammation. Using a variety of non-toxic, natural interventions that trigger the human body’s innate healing systems, such as cryotherapy, photobiomodulation, oxygen therapy, neurotherapy, and lymphatic drainage, the company’s value is in bringing advanced, all-natural remedies to clients at an affordable price.

The Challenge

Although the popularity of natural healing therapies is on the rise as many people seek alternatives to surgery and medication, it’s not uncommon for such health trends to come and go quickly. The Huemn team knew that in order to build a successful, long-term business, however, they needed an easy and predictable way to monitor the positive impact that their therapies were providing their clients. Such a solution would not only demonstrate the value of the client’s investment, but it would also allow them to cross-reference the benefits of their healing modalities with other health metrics such as sleep quality, inflammation levels and heart rate variability (HRV).

The Solution

Huemn found Heads Up, a personal health platform that makes it super easy to track and analyze health data for actionable insights on therapies and lifestyle changes that most positively impact one’s health. The goal of the project was to design a customized solution for Huemn that made it possible to track and validate their cutting-edge proprietary programs and protocols at the aggregate group and individual levels. The solution comprised of two components: a backend system  that enabled the Huemn team to customize their protocols and track client sessions; and a frontend interface for their clients to be able to easily add their favorite health apps and devices, view their health data in one single dashboard and track their improvements over time using Huemn’s healing programs.

Data-driven Programs & Protocols

One of the core principles of Huemn’s approach to recovery is supporting the body’s natural systems wholistically and synergistically. To achieve this, Huemn provides personalized programs for clients based on regular sessions of cryotherapy, oxygen therapy, neurotherapy and photobiomodulation, to name a few.

To validate the effectiveness of these four cutting-edge protocols, Heads Up built custom modules that made it easy to input data for each client session and track the progress they made toward achieving their recovery goals. With this data in hand, Huemn’s team of wellness experts are able to analyze the data for key patterns and trends on the particular lifestyle interventions that are having the most positive impact on a client’s ability to become fully recovered and rejuvenated.

Click on the images below to view customized recovery modules in detail.

 

With Huemn’s core protocols and input modules in place, it became much easier for practitioners to store client session data and track their progress over time on each protocol. For more advanced analysis, Heads Up team developed an analytics tool that made it super easy to analyze the impact each of Huemn’s protocols were having on their client’s physiology and recovery status.

Client Engagement Tools For Better Outcomes

With practitioner tools in place, the Heads Up team designed a beautifully simple end-to-end experience. The goal was to leverage user data to drive client retention and accountability for better health outomes. This comprised of personalized dashboards that displayed Huemn’s core recovery protocols, and weekly progress reports to drive client engagement and intrinsic motivation.

 

Client dashboards were meticuosly designed to visually present a user’s health data in the most easy to understand way possible. It included singular scores as well as trends across historical timelines. In conjuction with the dashboards, a personalized weekly progress report automatically gets send out regualarly. These reports help keep clients motivated and engaged knowing that they are making progress toward their health goals.

The entire user journey from sign in to sign out was custom designed according to Huemn’s modern brand aesthetics. 

Click on the images below to view how we customized Huemn’s onboarding process for a highly pesonalized user experience.

Moverover, the platform was architechted so that both practitioners and clients would have a seamless experience across desktop, mobile and tablet.

Click on the images below to view Huemn’s custom designed light and dark themes.

Stay tuned as we dive deeper into Huemn’s story. In part 2, we will provide a comprehensive analysis of the metrics Huemn used to quantify their cutting-edge protocols and the outcomes they were able to achieve with clients that completed their recovery programs.

About Heads Up

Heads Up is a web and mobile platform for next-gen healthcare professionals who want to take a personalized and preventive approach to optimizing the health and wellness of their clients using science and data. Get a complete picture of your client’s health story by combing lifestyle data with clinical outcomes. Instantly centralize all client medical records, connect popular devices and apps (e.g., Oura, MyFitnessPal, Keto-Mojo, FitBit, Apple Health, MyMacros+, Withings and many more) and use data to optimize your client’s health.

To learn more about how Heads Up can help you grow your health and wellness business or to schedule a call with a success agent, visit https://headsuphealth.com/contact.

Hacking Your Health with Heads Up: How Alcohol Impacts HRV and Oura Sleep Scores

Hacking Your Health with Heads Up: How Alcohol Impacts HRV and Oura Sleep Scores

Many people often forget that their everyday lifestyle choices can impact their overall health. Daily choices we make in life about food, alcohol, exercise and stress management  — they all add up to inform our health in one way or another.

Of course, you don’t need to be 100% perfect. (Who is?)

But with Heads Up, you can quantify just how your lifestyle choices are affecting you. You can then begin to take action on your lifestyle data, make adjustments as needed to steer your ship back on-course so you can optimize your health. 

For example, when TJ Anderson, health hacker and author of The Art of Health Hacking, attended this past weekend’s Metabolic Health Conference in Long Beach, CA, he used Heads Up’s Analyzer graphing feature to see how alcohol impacted his HRV, Oura sleep and readiness scores. 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

It’s easy to see from TJ’s graph that alcohol consumption had an inverse relationship to his HRV and readiness score. Once his drinks went down to zero, his HRV and Oura scores shot back up again.⠀

Try the Analyzer yourself with the numbers you care about. Whether it’s your HRV, readiness and sleep scores synced automatically via the Oura ring or how many glasses of wine or beer imbibed (entered manually), you can make actionable insights to hack your health. 

How to Use the Analyzer to Track What Matters to You:

  1. Choose Analyzer to bring up the graphing feature within your Heads Up web app
  2. Search the markers you want to trend (e.g., HRV and AM Readiness via Oura, Alcohol Intake), up to six markers if you want!
  3. Choose a time horizon you want to track (e.g., “Last 7 Days”, “This month”, “This year”, or custom dates of your own choosing).

Note: Click the ‘Connect Data’ button to connect to Devices and Apps such as Oura, Keto-Mojo, Biostrap, MyFitnessPal and/or medical records.

Wanna Try It for Yourself?

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The Science of Saunas: 10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits

The Science of Saunas: 10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits

What is a Sauna?

Heat therapies have long been used for healing and wellness, dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Mayans. The sauna is simply a small or large room designed specifically to help you sweat. What’s more, science stands behind saunas, and modern medicine has proven 10 clinical health benefits of saunas that will leave you wanting to get your own sweat on soon.

Different Types of Saunas

Today, saunas are an everyday part of many cultures, from the Finnsh outdoor saunas to the Swedish batsu, the Korean jjimjilbangs, and Japanese sento. Variations of the dry and steam (or wet) saunas, as well as the latest infrared saunas, all offer a variety of health benefits, even after only a few minutes a day of use. Users report that a deep, healthy sweat generally relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, and delivers an overall sense of relaxation and well-being. 

Over the ages, various types of dry and wet saunas have been invented, along with the latest infrared saunas that deliver direct heat to the body versus heating the air and room temperature. 

Here’s a look at the types of saunas to consider as you evaluate incorporating them into your health regimen:

  1. Dry saunas are heated with fire, hot stones, gas, or electricity
  2. Steam saunas generate steam by applying water on the heating element
  3. Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit light that delivers radiant heat that’s absorbed by the surface of the skin

Infrared saunas are further broken down into the following types:

  • Near infrared saunas
  • Far infrared saunas (FIR)
  • Full spectrum infrared saunas

Infrared saunas deliver direct heat via the infrared light and at lower temperatures versus dry and wet saunas that heat the air to increase the room temperature. 

What Happens in the Body?

Whatever type of sauna therapy you choose, and regardless of the humidity level, the effects on the body are similar and create a variety of well-documented health benefits, such as releasing the ‘feel good’ endorphins, in addition to widening the blood vessels to improve circulation and blood flow.

Depending on the duration of sauna use, you will see circulation improvements that are similar to the effects of moderate exercise. Your heart rate may increase to 100 to 150 beats per minute while the growth hormone release increases by as much as 200 to 300%. Sauna use can also help improve athletic performance and stamina due to that increase in circulation. 

Still not convinced? Then let’s dive into a few more proven health benefits of sauna use, and how to accurately measure the effects.

10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits of Sauna Use

  1. Supercharge your cell power. Heat has been proven to positively impact your mitochondria, the ‘batteries’ powering your cells, helping your body naturally produce more energy and stay fit. 
  2. Slow down Father Time (aka: aging!). Cell regeneration means you slow the aging process. And if you’re not quite convinced, check out the 20 year study of Finnish men that links two to three sauna sessions per week with a 23% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. 
  3. Detoxify heavy metals and chemicals. Everyday exposure to potentially toxic heavy metals through a variety of sources means even the most health conscious people still have toxins in the body. Regular sauna bathing helps excrete toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. 
  4. Make your heart happy and healthy. A 2018 study found that sauna bathing four to seven times per week reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by as much as 58%. 
  5. Reduce blood pressure. Sauna heat helps widen blood vessels and improve circulation, which reduces blood pressure. 
  6. Optimize athletic performance. Blood flow improvements from hyperthermic conditioning (heat conditioning) sends more blood to the heart, leading to an increase in plasma and red blood cell volume. That process delivers more oxygen throughout the body, fueling athletic performance.
  7. Improve muscle function and recovery. As more blood flow and oxygen is delivered throughout the body, muscles increase in size and muscle breakdown is diminished. One study showed that two, one-hour sauna sessions for seven days straight increases production of the human growth hormone (HGH) by two to five times
  8. Fuel weight loss. Regular sauna use is shown to regulate the appetite, increase metabolism, and improve oxygen utilization, helping to fuel weight loss along with a reduction in body fat.
  9. Boost brain function. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF increases with regular sauna use, activating the growth of new brain cells, better maintaining existing cells, and improving neuroplasticity, the brain’s process for forming new neural connections. 
  10. Ignite your immune system. Heat exposure from sauna use increases the heat shock protein, stimulating antigen-presenting cells, along with releasing cytokine, thus stimulating the body’s natural immune system. 
  11. BONUS BENEFIT: improve emotional health and mood. When your body and brain are healthy, detoxified, and destressed, and you’ve boosted endorphins, your overall mood and emotional health improves.

Who Should Sauna, and Who Shouldn’t…

Due to the extreme heat, certain people should avoid sauna use of any type, including pregnant women and those with specific health conditions such as low blood pressure and heart conditions. As with anything, it’s always wise to consult your medical practitioner before beginning sauna treatments.

How to Track Your Sauna Health Benefits 

Everyone is unique and may have very different outcomes from sauna use, so track your key metrics before and after use, as well as over a period of time, to understand specifically how sauna use is impacting you.

For example, the Heads Up app gives you a way to enter the type of sauna you’re using, the room temperature, date, and duration. From there, you can check health stats such as blood pressure, heart rate, and more. You may even see improvements in the quality of your sleep over time

Sauna tracking

Ready to get started?

If you’re ready to ‘dive into’ sauna bathing of any kind, grab a 30-day free trial of Heads Up first and decide on some of your goals for sauna use, then monitor your key health metrics before and after. You may also want to monitor various durations and frequencies, and the correlated effects on those same metrics to determine which type of sauna and frequency level is right for you. And as we always say, be sure to consult your health practitioner before starting any new health regimen! 

? Namaste my friends!

– Dave

 

18 Extraordinary Health Benefits of Cryotherapy

18 Extraordinary Health Benefits of Cryotherapy

The History of Cold Water and Cold Air Therapies

Although the health benefits of cryotherapy are reemerging, cryotherapy treatments – and it’s distant relatives – have a long history of use in medicine. As far back as 460 BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates was the first figure in medical history to document the benefits of hydrotherapy, or using water to trigger healing and/or general wellness. By the 19th century, Benedictine monks were using nearby springs for therapeutic use, and throughout the ages since, cold and hot water therapies have been used by the medical community for healing ailments, athletic performance recovery, and overall health and wellness.

Cold Water Submersion (Cold Plunge) vs. Cryotherapy

Cold therapies, whether in an air chamber or a submersion tank, use the application of extreme cold to activate the body’s natural healing powers. Cold water submersion (or cold plunge) is the practice of entering an ice bath, typically for 15 to 20 minutes at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Whole-body cryotherapy is the practice of entering a temperature-controlled room at -155 to -184 degrees Fahrenheit, typically only for three minutes. 

So What’s the Science?

Today, there is a lot of science behind cold therapies (wet and dry). These therapies allow your body to access and release naturally-occurring biochemicals that are active in reducing pain and inflammation, speeding metabolism, and detoxifying the body and blood of harmful toxins. 

In a nutshell, here’s what’s happening: your body goes into a state of ‘cold shock,’ dropping the skin temperature around core nerve ending neurons. This triggers two reactions in your brain: one that releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) in vast amounts very quickly, and one that releases norepinephrine (anti-inflammatory protein) in the brain at approximately three times the normal rate. That’s the brain sending survival signals to your body. This also triggers the constriction of your vascular and muscular systems to begin transporting blood, nutrients, and resources from your extremities to core organs. Additionally, blood detox and enrichment begin in preparation for the ‘survival’ period. 

The Health Benefits of Cryotherapy

The resulting health benefits of cryotherapy are increasingly well-documented in the medical community, so let’s dive into the range of outcomes you may experience. 

1.  Improved overall health and wellness. Medical studies are showing whole body cryotherapy eases a wide range of chronic medical conditions from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia to auto-immune deficiencies, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, dermatitis, and more. Patients also report:

  • Improved sleep
  • More energy
  • Pain and inflammation relief
  • Accelerated weight loss
  • Improved circulation
  • Faster surgical recovery
  • Improved mood and reduced anxiety

2. Skin and beauty enhancement. The cold environment activates deep layer skin receptors telling the body to increase the production of collagen. The resulting collagen production helps with:

  • Firmer, tighter skin
  • Diminished appearance of cellulite, varicose and spider veins
  • Increased weight loss and caloric burn
  • Reduced blemishes
  • Stronger, fuller hair and nails

3. Improved athletic and sports performance. After a cryo session, higher concentrations of oxygen and nutrients in the body help muscles, ligaments, and tendons better absorb and utilize them. That, in turn, boosts metabolic activity. So for the athlete, both performance and recovery are improved including:

  • Improved overall athletic performance
  • Improved joint function
  • Faster recovery time
  • Increased energy
  • Reduced inflammation and muscle soreness
  • Reduced tendonitis and shin splints

    Who Should NOT Use Cryotherapy?

    Anyone who’s pregnant or has a heart condition should not use cold water submersion or cryotherapy as the risks simply outweigh the benefits. If you’re unsure if it’s right for you, check with your medical practitioner.

    How to Find the Right Cryotherapy Center

    No. It’s not just a simple Google search that includes keywords and your zip code. Finding the right cryotherapy center requires a little deeper dive. Here are some keys to finding a quality center to help on your cryo-journey, so don’t be shy and make sure you ask about the following:

    What kind of equipment do you have?
    Tip: look for facilities that offer whole body cryotherapy

    Does your customer service team measure skin temperature?
    Tip: look for facilities that measure your skin temperature before and after therapy to ensure you are getting the right effects 

    Is the cryo chamber located in a private area?
    Tip: You’ll be stripping down almost naked. Ensure the cryo chamber is located in a private area of the facility.

    Is It Working? Track It and See.

    It’s not uncommon for cryotherapy patients to feel immediate benefits after only one session, but often optimal results are found after just a few sessions. A recommended frequency is 2 to 3 times per week until the goals are met. We recommend tracking your sessions so you can see if other areas of your health are improving.

    The Heads Up app allows you to track your cryo sessions alongside all other vital health metrics including:

    • Heart rate variability
    • Sleep
    • Blood pressure
    • Inflammation (hs-crp)
    • ….and many more

    track cryotherapy sessions

    TRY HEADS UP FREE FOR 30 DAYS TO TRACK YOUR CRYOTHERAPY SESSIONS

    Try Heads Up Free for 30 Days

    Still want more info? Check out these useful resources.

    Knowledge is power, so here are a few more helpful resources to check out before you take the ‘plunge’ into the world of cryotherapy and cold water submersion:

    11 Remarkable Health Benefits of Fasting

    11 Remarkable Health Benefits of Fasting

    Fasting vs. Starvation

    Many people mistake the practice of fasting with starvation, especially in the United States where food abundance and the idea of being hungry is perceived as a negative state (or altogether inhumane, something only happening to the ‘less fortunate’). The truth is, fasting and starvation are two completely different things. That’s why we put together this list of 11 remarkable health benefits of fasting… but before we dive in, a few other background points.

    Starvation deprives you of nutrition and begins the process of breaking down your body, while the benefits of fasting on the other hand, are as long as they are deep. Fasting is a time-tested and controlled state that is not only beneficial to your health, it’s essential for creating optimal health, managing chronic diseases, reaching a healthy weight for your body type, reversing aging and much more. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the benefits of fasting… the healthy way, as recommended by Dr. John Limansky, the Keto Doctor… Heads Up friend and advisor. Thank you Dr. John!

    The Health Benefits of Fasting

    1. Achieve your optimal weight. Different than starvation, fasting gives your body a chance to burn the energy from food instead of storing it as glycogen or fat. During longer fasting periods your body will burn through the glycogen stores and then begin burning fat stores.
    2. Overcome insulin resistance and balance blood sugar levels. Fasting gives your cells an overdue break from insulin so that they can ‘rediscover’ their sensitivity, overcome insulin resistance, and use glucose more effectively. That means blood sugar crashes along with your sugar cravings, taking the strain off of your overworked pancreas while significantly reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 
    3. Increase metabolism by as much as 18%. It’s been long-believed that fasting will bring your metabolism and weight loss efforts to a grinding halt. The good news is that’s no longer true. Research now shows that a stress hormone called norepinephrine increases during fasting, releasing fatty acids from the fat cells. This in turn makes it faster and easier for your body to use its fat stores. 
    4. Keep cortisol levels in check and better manage stress.
      Remember the research that suggested that your cortisol response depends on having glucose in the blood? In those same studies, participants who fasted and drank water had a much lower cortisol response than their peers who drank glucose solution. This indicates that fasting keeps cortisol levels low, helps us to respond to stressful situations in a much healthier manner, and protects us from the harmful effects of chronic stress.
    5. Reduce inflammation by inhibiting the immune response.
      Inflammation occurs in response to pain, injury and/or disease, and in some cases, your immune system continues releasing inflammatory chemicals even after the original state is gone. Such sustained exposure to those chemicals can create other chronic disease states, but fasting helps inhibit that prolonged immune response and blocks the continuing release of inflammatory chemicals
    6. Regenerate your immune system from the inside out. When you fast, your body saves energy by recycling old or damaged white blood cells. This drop in white blood cells flips a ‘regenerative switch’ in the body, stimulating the production of new stem cells. These stem cells then go on to develop into new, healthy immune cells, meaning you’re essentially regenerating a whole new immune system.
    7. Improve heart health by reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
      Fasting is shown to reduce blood pressure and harmful LDL cholesterol, and it also helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of diabetes. It also reduces heart disease risk by protecting your vascular system. 
    8. Improve brain health by stimulating the production of new neurons.
      Fasting stimulates the growth of new neurons and increases production of a hormone called brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Altogether, this helps to protect against depression, improve brain function and memory, slow cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.
    9. Protect against cancer.
      Cancer is characterized by the rapid and uncontrollable growth of cells. Although further studies are needed to confirm this, fasting is believed to help prevent cancer by depriving cancerous cells of the essential hormones they need to grow. Insulin Growth Factor, or IGF-1, is one such hormone, which goes into decline as soon as you stop eating. 
    10. Increase cellular turnover and regeneration.
      Fasting sends your body into cell recycling, a process of self-digestion at the cellular level called autophagy. But you’re not just digesting your fat to fuel yourself while fasting. Your body also targets malfunctioning cells and old tissues to optimize resources for survival.
    11. Improve sleep quality.
      New studies show that routine intermittent fasting in many ways helps the body stay well aligned for sleep and strengthens the circadian clock. That means it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep so you can wake feeling more rested.

    Is it working? Track it and see.

    The best way to understand how your body is responding to fasting, no matter what plan you’re on, is with hard data. Getting an app that collects your key health metrics along with tracking your fasting cycles is not only an easy way to track progress and see how you’re changing, it’s also a fun and motivating method to stay on track. 

    The Heads Up app, for example, offers a fasting timer, along with a dashboard to track weight, body fat percentage, sleep, blood sugar, ketones and other vital health metrics, giving you a holistic view of your health before, during and after fasting. Start with their 30-day free trial to connect your other health data, then select an affordable monthly plan to continue tracking your metrics over time.

    Should you fast?

    With so many metabolic health benefits that are now research backed, it’s hard to say fasting doesn’t have some benefit to most people, however, it’s important that certain demographics should not fast at all, such as those with diabetes or other chronic disease, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the elderly and children. Most importantly, check with your doctor before starting any new diet regimen. 

    Once you decide to give fasting a try, check out all the various fasting routines to get a sense of what type may be right for you. Not all fasting plans are right for everyone. The other key will be to find a useful tool (e.g. web or mobile application) that you can use to track your fasting plan as you go, and as importantly, to track your key health stats during the fasting state. 

    This will be a good indication of how fasting will work for you, and how it impacts your health day to day. It will also be the perfect data to offer to your doctor as you work to achieve your personal health goals over time. 

    The big picture? Fasting can become a steady and ongoing part of your healthy lifestyle plan for the long haul, rather than just a diet fad. 

    As with any healthy lifestyle plans, consult with your health practitioner first.

     

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