Intermittent Fasting and Spike Protein: A Game Changer for Spike Protein Injuries

Numerous doctors treating long COVID and COVID vaccine injuries now suggest fasting as a potential therapy for overall symptom improvement. 

In February 2024, Drs. Paul Marik and Yusuf (JP) Saleeby — as well as Matthew T.J. Halma of the World Council for Health — published a key research paper in the peer-reviewed journal Endocrine and Metabolic Science.

Those of you who are familiar with Dr Paul Marik’s work over the past two years will recognize the subject – the role of autophagy in the treatment of spike protein disease, from which so many are suffering after COVID infection or injection. That’s why the topic and impact of this paper are so critical, although we now know that autophagy is good for our health for so many other reasons, too.

spike protein

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular nutrition programs around. Unlike diets that tell you what to eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat.

Limiting the hours you eat each day may help you consume fewer calories. It may also provide health benefits, including weight loss and improved heart health and blood sugar levels.

There are several forms of intermittent fasting, including a common form called time-restricted eating.

Research overwhelmingly supports the notion that ditching the three square meals a day approach in favor of time-restricted feeding — can do wonders for your health. Contrary to modern belief, your body isn't designed to be fed throughout the day, and the near-continuous grazing that most engage in can have serious health consequences.

time restricted eating

The main “varieties” of intermittent fasting are:
  • 12/12. A 12 hour daily overnight fast.
  • 16/8: 16 hours of fasting, 8 hours of feeding.*
  • OMAD: One meal a day.
  • 5:2: 2 non-consecutive days of modified fasting per week.
  • ADF: Alternate day fasting.
  • TRE: Time restricted eating
*In order to activate autophagy, you need to fast for at least 12 to 16 hours at a stretch. This is the time needed to activate autophagy. That then means you need to eat all of your meals for the day within an eight-hour window, and not snack on anything during fasting hours. However, you can still drink non-caloric liquids (water, tea, coffee) during the fasting hours.

A limited form of intermittent fasting (time-restricted eating) in which fasting does not exceed 12 hours may be an appropriate compromise. 

Can Fasting Reset the Immune System?

Fasting encompasses two main forms: prolonged fasting, lasting for at least 36 hours, and intermittent fasting, a popular lifestyle intervention involving shorter fasting periods of 12 to 24 hours. Prolonged fasting tends to be more effective than intermittent fasting at activating the reset and renewal of cells and tissues.

Consuming food generally triggers inflammation, while fasting promotes an anti-inflammatory response. Individuals are not isolated entities but interact with various pathogens, bacteria, and fungi in their environment. Eating introduces both nutrients and pathogens into the body, triggering the immune system.

The body experiences two primary states during the day: the fed state and the post-fed state, also known as the fasting state.

Studies have shown that after each meal, there is a temporary period of inflammation as the immune system eliminates pathogens. This inflammation is beneficial as it helps prevent infection and supports the body’s defense mechanisms.

However, frequent snacking and constantly being in a fed state can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has negative health effects, including increased stress on the body, elevated blood pressure, reduced insulin sensitivity, cell and tissue damage, and impaired healing. That’s why chronic inflammation is often associated with conditions like Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and more.

In contrast, both intermittent and prolonged fasting activate genes that suppress inflammation, reduce inflammatory immune cells, and show signs of mitigating autoimmunity. Notably, a study published in Cell Stem Cell (2014) found that a three-day fasting period can reset the immune system by degrading old immune cells and regenerating new ones.

Does Fasting Help People With Long COVID and Vaccine Injuries?

Fasting is suggested as a potential first-line treatment for long COVID and post-vaccine symptoms, according to the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance, a prominent medical group focusing on these conditions. 


The purpose of fasting in these cases is to stimulate autophagy, a process that breaks down and recycles proteins, including COVID-19 spike proteins.

FLCCC doctors believe that spike proteins, whether from the infection or the vaccine, play a significant role in patients’ symptoms. These spike proteins can lead to inflammation, micro-clotting, mitochondrial dysfunction, autoimmunity, neurological issues, and other complications.

Chaperone-mediated autophagy, which specializes in protein degradation, typically activates after 24 hours of fasting. Therefore, the FLCCC recommends prolonged fasting of 72 hours or more if tolerated.

Scott Marsland, a nurse practitioner treating long COVID and vaccine injury said that patients often see an improvement in their brain fog in the later hours of their 72-hour fast, further adding that fasting has likely helped alleviate all known symptoms of long COVID and vaccine injury.

Board-certified internist Dr. Syed Haider, on the other hand, said that he has had patients who experienced a complete reversal of symptoms during prolonged fasts. 

Although there is no definitive test for spike protein reduction, diligent adherence to a fasting schedule, particularly with prolonged fasting, has shown decreased spike protein levels, according to Marsland’s observations.

On the flip side, autophagy cannot remain continuously activated all the time. You also need to allow the cells to rebuild and rejuvenate, which occurs during the refeeding phase, which is why cyclical fasting and feeding is so important.

Activating autophagy is a double-edged sword. One the one hand, the process clears toxic or infectious materials from cells. On the other hand, if the autophagy process goes beyond 'recycling' and clearing out proteins, it can start to destroy the cell, leading to cell death. This means that autophagy must be carefully manipulated to avoid the death of non-renewable and irreplaceable cells such as brain cells.

Water Fasting Is a Powerful Way to Activate Autophagy

According to Dr Joseph Mercola, founder and owner of Mercola.com:

Based on the research that has emerged in recent years, I'm now convinced that multiple-day water fasting is one of the most profound metabolic interventions you can do to radically improve your health, as it allows your body to upregulate autophagy and mitophagy to remove damaged senescent cells, including premalignant cells. It's also an extremely effective way to shed excess weight and extend your life span.

For a refresher on how to do water fasting safely, check out the website of Dr. Jason Fung, whom I interviewed a few years ago after he wrote his book, "The Complete Guide to Fasting." Many have irrational fears about water fasting, even for a few days, and Fung expertly shreds many outdated myths about fasting.

Low-Carb and Fasting Are Ill-Advised 

As noted by Attia, weeklong fasting significantly deteriorates thyroid function, and that can be explained by the lack of nutrients during a fast. While he does not address this, the same applies to low-carb eating and time-restricted eating (TRE). All three of these strategies will activate your adrenals, trigger cortisol release and down-regulate your thyroid function and metabolism. 

So, while low-carb and various fasting regimens can be helpful in the short term to address extreme obesity, I now believe there are safer, albeit slower, ways to address that. As explained in "Important Information About Low Carb, Cortisol and Glucose", elevated cortisol is highly problematic, as it breaks down your lean muscle, bones and brain to make amino acids that your liver then converts to glucose. It also promotes inflammation and is a primary driver of aging. 

If cortisol is chronically elevated, you will likely die prematurely, as it is highly catabolic, meaning it will break down your body tissues. Cortisol is released when your body doesn’t have enough glucose available, so it’s important to eat enough healthy carbs and not deprive your body of glucose for extended periods.

Dr Joseph Mercola used to intermittently fast and eat a ketogenic diet until he discovered the work of the late Ray Peat, which convinced him the high-fat/low-carb science had it all backward. When you don't have enough glucose to fuel the mitochondria, when you deplete your glycogen level, then stress hormones — adrenaline and cortisol — are released to trigger endogenous production of glycogen.

Those stress hormones are pathologic, and if they’re continuously released at high levels to compensate for insufficient glucose, it will accelerate disease and premature death. There's no question in my mind that these stress hormones are bad news. Cortisol, for example, drains the amino acids, the protein, from your tissues, thereby decreasing bone density and muscle mass, which is bad news.

So, to rephrase, a key part of the answer to this to-fast-or-not-to-fast dilemma is that your liver stores glycogen, and if you have sufficient glycogen stores, you can easily intermittently fast for 16 hours and not activate your stress response hormones like glucagon, cortisol and adrenaline. 

If you go for a lot longer, certainly after two or three days, then your glycogen stores will be completely depleted and your stress hormones will be activated, because that’s the only route left to remain alive. The stress hormones will prevent your glucose level from dropping too low, as that could cause you to go into a coma and eventually die. 

The problem is that 30% of adults in the U.S. have non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which impairs your body's ability to produce glucose through gluconeogenesis. You also can’t store as much. If your liver function is impaired, you will not be able to store as much glycogen in your liver. Then you have to be more careful about not letting your glucose level drop for too long, because then the stress response will kick in as there is less reserve glucose in your liver.

Cautions and Concerns: Things to Consider Before Fasting

Fasting can have certain side effects, including mood swings and, notably, hunger. In today’s culture, where snacking and constant indulgence in food are common, fasting can be seen as equivalent to starvation.

Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist and fasting expert, however, would argue that fasting is a purposeful way of managing one’s day by allocating specific times for eating.

The benefits of fasting can vary among individuals, and the preferred type of fasting can also differ. Intermittent fasting is generally safe, but not everyone responds well to prolonged fasting.

During prolonged fasts, the body primarily breaks down fat for energy rather than muscle. However, the extent to which fat or muscle is targeted can vary based on an individual’s body composition. Those who have more fat to lose may lose more fat and less muscle, while those with higher muscle mass may experience a greater breakdown of protein stores.

Studies have shown that lean muscle mass loss occurs within the first day of prolonged fasting, regardless of an individual’s fat and muscle proportions. Therefore, individuals with significant muscle mass may experience more muscle loss and less fat loss during prolonged fasting.

There are different approaches to incorporating fasting into one’s lifestyle, such as intermittent fasting or longer fasting periods every few months. Social norms, like having dinner together, can discourage extended fasting, so it’s important to choose a fasting style that suits one’s lifestyle and preferences.

However it should be noted that intermittent fasting is not recommended for:
  • People younger than the age of 18, as it can prevent growth. 
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also not recommended to fast intermittently. 
  • Older people are notorious for getting frail very quickly if they skip even one meal. They don’t eat very often, but they need their meal. If you don’t give it to them, they can very quickly decline. 
  • Extended fasting is also not a healthy long term strategy as it increases your stress hormones and worsens mitochondrial function.
  • People with diabetes and kidney disease are also recommended to check with their primary care physicians before considering intermittent fasting.
  • Those taking hypoglycemic or antihypertensive medication are particularly at risk, as they may end up overdosing. If you're on medication, you need to work with your doctor to ensure safety, as some medications need to be taken with food and/or can become toxic when your body chemistry normalizes. 

This article is part of the Spike Protein series and intermittent fasting series.

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