Health benefits of long-term fasting according to Dr. Sten Ekberg


Long-term fasting, lasting up to 100 hours, is a topic that is gaining popularity due to its many potential health benefits. Dr. Sten Ekberg, renowned holistic physician and former Olympian, discusses in his video on YouTubewhat happens to the body during such fasting and what benefits can be derived from it. Below we present the most important points from his speech, enriched with quotes and a table illustrating changes in the body at various stages of fasting.

Note: Before you start a long-term fast, always consult your doctor or nutritionist to make sure it is safe for your health.


What is autophagy?

Autophagy is the process by which the body removes damaged cells and renews itself at the cellular level. Dr. Ekberg emphasizes that this is one of the most important benefits of fasting. Autophagy allows you to "clean" the body of unnecessary or damaged cellular elements, which contributes to the better functioning of the entire body.

Benefits of autophagy

The process of autophagy is crucial to health because it supports the body's detoxification and improves immune function. “Perhaps the most important benefit that is difficult to achieve without fasting is autophagy. Through this process, the body performs cellular cleansing, which supports detoxification and improved immune function.”

Reduction of inflammation

The importance of inflammation

Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury and infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to many serious diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Reducing inflammation is key to maintaining health and preventing chronic diseases.

The effect of fasting on inflammation

Fasting helps reduce inflammation by lowering levels of pro-inflammatory white blood cells and improving gut health. “Fasting reduces inflammation in the body, which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other conditions.”

Improving insulin sensitivity and reversing type 2 diabetes

Insulin resistance and its effects

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body's cells become less sensitive to the action of insulin, which leads to increased blood sugar levels. This is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

How fasting affects insulin sensitivity

Dr. Ekberg notes significant improvements in insulin sensitivity with long-term fasting. “Fasting is a powerful tool for breaking high insulin levels and insulin resistance. This could be used to reverse type 2 diabetes.”

Weight loss

Mechanism of weight loss during fasting

During fasting, the body first uses stored glycogen as an energy source. Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles, and its burning causes weight loss through water loss because glycogen binds water. “Glycogen is like a sponge that absorbs water. When you start burning it, you also release water, which leads to weight loss.”

Loss of water and fat

Initially, most weight loss comes from water loss as glycogen is burned and releases its associated water stores. “When you burn one pound of glycogen, you also lose three pounds of water.” However, once glycogen stores are depleted, the body begins to burn fat as its main source of energy.

Adaptation to burn fat

Most people are used to eating a lot of carbohydrates, so their bodies mainly burn glycogen. However, as fasting progresses, the body begins to switch to fat burning. “After about 48 hours of fasting, the body can begin to draw up to 95% of its energy from fat.”

Stabilization of blood sugar levels

During fasting, the need for carbohydrates is reduced, which stabilizes blood sugar levels and reduces the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. “After adapting to burn fat, the body does not need as much glucose, which lowers cortisol levels.”

Hunger and hormone control

Fasting also affects hunger-related hormones such as insulin and ghrelin. “High insulin levels promote fat storage and increase hunger. Lowering insulin promotes fat burning and reduces hunger.” Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is mainly habitual and can be ignored, leading to a decrease in hunger after some time.

Summary of weight loss benefits

Losing weight while fasting has many health benefits, including improved metabolic health, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and improved overall well-being. “When you don't eat, your body uses stored fat as an energy source, which leads to weight loss.”

Increasing mental clarity

The role of BDNF

Fasting stimulates the production of the hormone BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is crucial for brain health and improved cognitive function. BDNF supports the creation of new neural connections and brain plasticity.

Cognitive benefits

The production of BDNF during fasting leads to improved learning ability, concentration and overall mental clarity. “Fasting increases the production of BDNF, which is like a miracle fertilizer for the brain, improving the ability to learn and adapt.”

Improving metabolic health

The effect of fasting on metabolism

Long-term fasting helps improve hormonal balance, gut health and metabolic function. Improving metabolic health can lead to better weight management, reduced risk of metabolic disease and overall health.

Health benefits

“Fasting improves hormonal balance and gut health, which is crucial for overall metabolic health.”

Life extension

Mechanisms of longevity

Improving overall health and reducing the risk of chronic disease through fasting may lead to a longer life. A healthy lifestyle supported by regular periods of fasting can significantly impact the quality and length of life.

Reducing the risk of disease

“By reducing the risk of chronic disease, fasting may help extend life.”

Improving cardiovascular health

The effect of fasting on cholesterol

Fasting helps lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the number of small LDL particles, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Reducing these molecules reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. “During fasting, the number of small LDL particles decreases, which is key to reducing the risk of heart disease.”

Benefits for the cardiovascular system

In addition to lowering LDL cholesterol, fasting can also improve the elasticity of blood vessels, reduce inflammation in the circulatory system, and lower blood pressure. These changes contribute to the overall health of the heart and circulatory system.

starvation, autophagy


Changes in the body during long-term fasting

Stage postu

During long-term fasting, the body goes through various stages in which specific processes take placeiochemic. Here is a table showing these changes and their associated health benefits.

Fasting Time (hours) Changes in the body Health benefits
0–12 Glycogen burning begins. Glycogen binds water, so burning glycogen also causes water loss. Lose weight by burning glycogen and water.
12–16 Start of autophagy. Gradual increase in ketone production. Insulin levels begin to drop noticeably. Detoxification, initial autophagy, improved mental clarity, improved insulin sensitivity.
16–24 Increasing autophagy. Increase in ketone levels. The body switches to burning fat as its main source of energy. Increased autophagy, greater mental clarity, significant improvement in insulin sensitivity, reduction of inflammation.
24–36 Adaptation to burn fat. A significant drop in insulin levels. Reducing inflammation, improving metabolic health, further improving insulin sensitivity.
36–48 Maximizing fat burning. High levels of ketones. Maximizing autophagy, reducing small LDL particles, improving cardiovascular health.
48–72 Stabilization of ketone levels. Full adaptation to fat burning. Stabilization of processes, long-term health benefits, reduction of the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
72–100 Peak autophagy. Continuous production of ketones. Full autophagy, cell regeneration, maximizing detoxification, further improving metabolic health and immunity.

Improving insulin sensitivity and reversing type 2 diabetes

Insulin resistance and its effects

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body's cells become less sensitive to the action of insulin, which leads to increased blood sugar levels. This is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

Decrease in insulin levels during fasting

During fasting, the level of insulin in the body begins to gradually decrease. In the first 8 hours, insulin levels may begin to decrease slightly. After 12 hours, the decline is more noticeable, and after 24 hours, insulin begins to decline to baseline levels. After 36 hours of fasting, insulin reaches low levels, which is crucial for improving sensitivity to this hormone.

Breaking insulin stasis

Fasting is a powerful tool for breaking the plateau of high insulin levels. Long-term fasting, lasting more than 24 hours, is one of the most effective ways to reduce insulin resistance and lower insulin levels. “When we fast for long periods of time, insulin drops to very low levels, which allows the body to improve insulin sensitivity.”

Reversing type 2 diabetes

Improving insulin sensitivity through fasting can reverse type 2 diabetes. “When insulin levels drop, the body becomes more sensitive to insulin, which can lead to the reversal of type 2 diabetes.”

Reducing the risk of other diseases

In addition to reversing type 2 diabetes, fasting can also help reverse high blood pressure and reduce the risk of other chronic diseases. “Lowering insulin levels can also lead to normalization of blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and other metabolic diseases.”

Reducing the risk of cancer

Fasting may also reduce the risk of developing cancer through mechanisms such as autophagy and reducing insulin levels. "Fasting triggers mechanisms that can help reduce the risk of cancer. By lowering insulin levels and promoting autophagy, the body can better manage and eliminate damaged cells that could potentially lead to cancer.”

Summary of health benefits

In conclusion, fasting is an extremely effective tool for improving insulin sensitivity and managing blood sugar levels. Practicing fasting regularly can provide numerous health benefits, including:

  • Reversing type 2 diabetes
  • Reversal of hypertension
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Reducing the risk of stroke
  • Reducing the risk of cancer
  • Improving metabolic health

Mechanisms of action

Mechanism Description
Autophagy The process of removing damaged cells and regenerating the body.
Ketone production Increased ketone levels as an alternative energy source.
Reduction of inflammation Lowering inflammation levels by reducing pro-inflammatory white blood cells and improving gut health.
Improving insulin sensitivity Lowering insulin levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.
Production of the BDNF hormone Increased BDNF production, which supports cognitive functions and the ability to learn.
Production of human growth hormone Increased production of human growth hormone, which supports tissue regeneration and muscle protection.



Long-term fasting, according to the research and experience of Dr. Sten Ekberg, can provide many health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation, increasing mental clarity, and much more. However, it is worth remembering that fasting is not for everyone and you should consult your doctor before starting it.

Fasting can also act as a reset for the immune system, improving gut health and microbiome balance. Regular periods of fasting can help you live longer and improve your quality of life by reducing the risk of chronic disease.

If you want to learn more about long-term fasting and its health benefits, watch movie Dr. Sten Ekberg on YouTube.

Final note:

Note: Before beginning any form of long-term fasting, always consult your doctor or nutritionist to make sure it is safe for your health. Prolonged fasting is not suitable for everyone, especially people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women, children and people with very low body weight. If done incorrectly, fasting can lead to serious health problems such as electrolyte disorders, nutritional deficiencies and other complications. Remember that health and security are the most important.

Scroll to Top