This section is from the book "The Hygienic System: Fasting And Sun Bathing", by Herbert M. Shelton. Also available from Amazon: The Hygienic System Vol III Fasting and Sun Bathing.
Although opposed to fasting, Kellogg makes the following admissions of benefits received from it:
1. "Surplus body fat may be disposed of."
2. "Any accumulation of surplus or 'floating' nitrogen or waste which may be present will rapidly disappear during a fast."
3. "Fasting creates an appetite by producing an imperious demand for food, and perhaps at the same time increases the ability of the tissues to assimilate food. This effect of fasting may be an advantage in certain cases, particularly when it is desirable to produce a rapid gain in flesh by subsequent overfeeding."
4. "There is some evidence that a prolonged fast may in some instances produce a sort of rejuvenescence in some of the tissues." (He denies that there is any evidence that this is so in man. He can deny this only by shutting his eyes to the wealth of evidence that exists).
5. "The observation has been made that after a prolonged fast, when the body has been built up by proper feeding, there is apparently present an unusual degree of vigor and an enhanced sense of well-being." He tries to escape the implications of this admission by adding: "It is to be noted, however, that a similar observation is often made following recovery from typhoid fever, or some other acute wasting disease in which the patient has been greatly reduced. It is to be further noted, also, that notwithstanding this apparent rejuvenation accompanying convalescence from fever, the life expectancy of such persons is only one-half that of the average person of the same age. Hence, there is ground for believing that notwithstanding the apparent improvement resulting from the fast as well as from the fever, a certain constitutional damage is done, the effects of which become apparent later."
In typhoid and other acute ills, there are present powerful toxins which induce damages. There are also, in most cases, the powerful drugs of the physician as well as the forced feeding. Damages resulting to the body in such a state, which show up later, are not properly attributed to the wasting of the body, while the toxins and the drugs are ignored. Dr. Kellogg should show that the life expectancy of typhoid cases is cut in half where no drugs, serums and food are employed. He should also show that fasting cuts short one's life expectancy.
He says that "many persons have passed through the ordeal of a long fast and have survived, and in some instances there has been evidence of a notable improvement in health following the fast."
The two chief objections to the fast are: (1) it produces "acidosis" or decreases the alkalinity of the blood; and (2) it weakens the patient, and lessens his chances of recovery while rendering him more liable to other "diseases."
Fasting not only does not reduce resistance to "disease," but, on the contrary, increases resistance. Resistance is the product of pure blood and an abundant nerve force. Fasting, because it increases elimination and conserves nervous energy, adds to these qualities. I have known fasters to be subjected to all kinds of unfavorable influences, but I have yet to see any "disease" develop as a result. I know that "disease" recovers much more rapidly in fasters than in those who eat. The following words of Geo. S. Weger, M.D., agree perfectly with my own experience with fasting:
"In all my personal experience with fasting, I have yet to see a case of tuberculosis develop as a result of it. On the other hand, I have seen many patients recover from tuberculosis who made their first improvements after a fast followed by moderate feeding."
"Real vital resistance is very rarely lowered by fasting. Temporary muscular weakness should not be classed as lowered vitality. Indeed, I have seen many cases of infection of different kinds recover completely on a fast. Take for example an advanced case of sinusitis after five or six painful operations--frontal, ethmoidal and antrum--with surgical drainage and irrigation two or three times a week, continued over a period of two to five years, with no relief or amelioration of symptoms. After almost unendurable suffering, such patients are, as a rule, thin, and physically and mentally depressed. When they make complete recoveries after a prolonged fast, as the great majority of them do, is this not sufficient proof that fasting somehow or other raises the power of the organism to overcome infection, rather than that fasting renders them more susceptible? What is true of sinusitis is equally true of other infections, even those so situated anatomically that they cannot be surgically drained and must therefore be absorbed."--In Defense of Rational Fasting.
We have long insisted that fasting increases resistance to infections. This claim has usually been met by the counter claim that resistance is lowered by fasting. Mr. Pearson tells us that after his complete fast, mosquito bites caused no itching and no swelling, and that no amount of exposure would cause a cold. It is almost impossible to have a cold in the last days of a prolonged fast and immediately thereafter.
Animal experimenters have shown that resistance is increased in some animals, decreased in others (pigeons, for example), and unaffected in others. These results cannot be of great aid to us in studying the effects of fasting upon resistance in man.
Morgulis tells that "A subject still very imperfectly known, but one which merits a most careful investigation, is the increase in resistance to infection revealed by organisms which are recovering from inanition. Roger and Jause report such an increased tolerance towards bacilli coli in rabbits which had undergone a preliminary fast of five to seven days. The inoculation with bacterial culture took place three to eleven days after the fast was broken. In each case the control rabbits succumbed to the infection, while all the rabbits which had previously fasted survived the inoculation. These experiments, however, need verification."
The rejuvenating effects of fasting upon the blood have been noted in a previous chapter. It was there shown that fasting does not produce hypoalkalinity. Dr. Weger says concerning the effects of the fast in improving the blood condition:
"We quite agree that considerable iron and proportionately other necessary elements may be consumed during a prolonged fast. However, the needful materials in the body are not lost to the same extent that the unusable waste is lost. It should not be forgotten, as previously stated, that the human body has within itself the power to use and refine the materials it has on hand during a reasonable fasting period.
"The writer has witnessed in a case of anemia, actual rejuvenation of the blood during a twelve-day absolute fast, during which time the red blood cells increased from 1,500,000 to 3,200,000, hemoglobin increased from fifty per cent to eighty-five per cent, and the white cells reduced from 37,000 to 14,000.