Hey, everyone – Welcome back to the Help for HS Channel!

You know, we get a lot of questions about intermittent fasting and whether or not it can be good for people with HS.

So in this video I’m going to briefly explain what intermittent fasting is, and then talk about why it can be really supportive for managing your condition. 

Fasting means not eating. Any time that you don’t eat, it’s fasting.

Intermittent fasting is period of 12 to 16 hours daily—or a few days per week—where you consume nothing but water and low-calorie or no-calorie liquids. So that could be water, herbal tea, etc., or even something like bone broth. You just don’t want to have anything sweet.

You can achieve intermittent fasting by skipping a meal, or you can just limit your eating times to a shorter window. I personally think it’s easier to limit your eating times, for example, only eating between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

And it’s really not complicated or overwhelming. If you finish your dinner at 6:00 pm and then delay the next day’s breakfast until 10:00 am, or even 8:00 am, you’ve accomplished a really nice intermittent fasting period. 

So why would we want to do this, and what are the benefits?

Well, there are a lot of advantages to intermittent fasting. For one, it really helps to improve blood sugar and insulin levels.

If we’re constantly snacking throughout the day, our insulin levels never get a chance to come down, and I’ve talked many times before about how high insulin levels make HS worse.

So by giving your body a break from food, you naturally lower your insulin levels.

Another benefit is that it improves your body’s ability to burn fat, and it helps to get food cravings under control. You’re also giving your body a chance to clean out your old, damaged cells and regenerate new ones through a process called autophagy.

And one of the most important things about intermittent fasting is that it really helps to heal the gut and it lowers inflammation.

If you think about all of the work that your gut has to do in order to break food down and move it through your digestive tract, you can imagine all of the energy that’s involved.

We have natural cleansing waves in our intestines that sweep bacteria and debris out of the small intestine and into the large intestine so that we can eliminate it.

 But here’s the catch: those cleansing waves only kick in after at least 4 hours of not eating.

 So if you’re eating all the time, or snacking in between meals, then those cleansing waves in the gut never have the chance to kick in.

 So all of that junk and debris just kind of sits there and stagnates, which is a problem, because that’s how we start to create problems like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, food allergies, and lots of inflammation.

 Remember, the health of the skin is a reflection of what’s happening in the gut, so we want to do everything we can to support a healthy and balanced gut. 

Are there any precautions for intermittent fasting?

Well, if you have very unstable blood sugar or you’re eating a high-carb, high-sugar diet during the times when you are eating, then you could develop some dangerous episodes of low blood sugar, and you don’t want to go there.

That’s why it’s important to eat a low-glycemic diet with lots of veggies and protein, and get rid of things like grains and sweets.

And please be very careful if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if you take medications like insulin, metformin, or anything that can lower your blood sugar levels.

I strongly suggest that you check with your doctor first before you try intermittent fasting, and really that’s true for anyone watching this.

Also, there is some evidence that intermittent fasting can have negative effects for women, especially as it relates to fertility and the menstrual cycle.

But honestly, I don’t find that research very compelling, and I also have not seen any problems with my female patients or with myself, especially if it’s only a short 12-hour fast overnight.

Now, that’s not to say that this will benefit all women, because everyone is different, but I can only share what I’ve personally observed and experienced.

Fasting during pregnancy is somewhat of a grey area. Some research has found no problems at all for the mom or the fetus, but other studies imply that there could be some harm. You also have to take your unique health situation into account, so this is something that you have to decide with your doctor.

Overall, intermittent fasting can be a great strategy for managing HS, and it truly has a lot of health benefits.

I hope you guys enjoyed this video, give me a thumbs up if you did, and comment down below if you’ve tried intermittent fasting, and share what your experience has been.

Thank you for spending time with me today, and I’ll see you in my next video!