A new study says fasting for 30 days can help people maintain good skin health, but it’s not enough to combat a serious skin disease.
The research was published in the American Journal of Human Biology.
It found that fasting for a full 30 days has little impact on the health of skin cells, but a reduction in the amount of vitamin D the body needs to survive is the key.
“It’s the same as a day off from work,” said Dr. Jennifer Rafferty, a professor of dermatology and ophthalmology at Emory University and co-author of the study.
“Fasting actually has some health benefits that are beneficial for the skin, but these are not necessarily the same benefits that would be beneficial in terms of a daily skin care regimen.”
Fasting for 30 Days Increases the Body’s Need for Vitamin D, but Is Not Enough For Health Dr. Raffer and colleagues studied the impact of fasting for one week on human skin.
Participants took vitamin D supplements containing vitamin D3 and D5 to reduce their need for the vitamin.
Then they went through two weeks of moderate to vigorous exercise, with no other changes.
After the first week, participants continued to take their supplements daily, while doing the same exercise with the same levels of activity.
They then tested the levels of vitamin A, D, and E in their skin for the first three weeks of fasting.
The researchers found that participants’ levels of serum vitamin A decreased by 1.6 percent, while levels of D3 decreased by 8.7 percent.
The participants who had fasted for 30 consecutive days had higher levels of the three vitamins than the participants who did not fast.
The team also found that vitamin D levels in the skin increased more quickly after fasting.
But the changes to vitamin A and D didn’t last long after the 30-day fasting period.
“The vitamin A is a long-term process that is dependent on the body’s need for vitamin D,” said Raffer.
“This is a short-term benefit for a day or two but not necessarily lasting.”
Raffer said that the results suggest that it’s better to eat a low-fat, high-calorie diet for skin care, like many other types of diet, to help the body adapt to the fasting period and get enough vitamin D. But she also said it’s important to remember that there are other health benefits of fasting, including lowering the risk of skin cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.
“If you’re fasting for more than 30 days, you need to eat more and take supplements, but you also need to avoid excessive exercise, exercise that is not aerobic or strength training, or any form of high-intensity exercise,” said Jana Sosnowski, a researcher at Emories School of Medicine.
“You need to maintain healthy skin and get some rest.”
The study was conducted by Raffer, a dermatologist and assistant professor at Emulations School of Dermatology at Emulation Park Community College, Atlanta, Georgia.
It’s available at: http://ajhb.aap.org/content/early/2018/08/06/aap-a-aap_article.html