Therapeutic Fasting

Medically Supervised Water-Fasting

Under the leadership of Dr Andre, The Fast Doctor, our team of medical, health and wellbeing professionals supervise safe, beneficial, healing fasting. 

Fasting is a way of supporting natural healing and has been practiced in all known cultures in some form throughout human history. It supports the innate ability of the body to eliminate wastes, repair damage and grow healthy tissue.

Fasting is used in the treatment or supportive treatment for the following:

  • Type II Diabetes (1)(5)
  • * Auto-immune disorders and inflammatory diseases (2)(3)
  • * Digestive disorders (4)
  • * High blood pressure (5)(6)
  • * Protects against and slow progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons, MS and Alzheimer's Disease (7)(8)(9)
  • * Help prevent cancer and is supportive during cancer treatment: improves efficacy of chemotherapy and reduces side effects (10)
Fasting help cells to clean up through a process called autophagy, and encourage abnormal tissue breakdown and elimination through apoptosis.


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Water fasting

Fasting and weight Loss

Fasting is not an effective long term weight loss tool, but it still has great benefit in terms of:

  • Rapid weight loss such as preparing for surgery
  • Resetting your relationship with your body and with food and follow it up with a mindful eating lifestyle and a whole food diet rich in fiber and fermented food.
  • Resetting your gut microbiota and following up with a whole food diet rich in fiber and fermented food.
  • Reducing ‘sugar addiction’ and follow up with a whole food diet rich in fiber and fermented food
  • Launching into a time restricted eating lifestyle which will include a diet rich in fiber and fermented food.
Fat can provide us with plenty of energy, with each kilogram able to keep an average adult human with a moderate activity level fueled for about 2 days. Higher body weight and more physical activity can use more energy and therefore burn more fat in a shorter time, but it is unlikely that anyone will use up more than a kilogram of stored energy a day during a fast. Fat loss is generally between 400g and 800g per day.


Weight changes during a water-fast

Weight loss in the first two days of a fast can be spectacular. Some of this is body fat as it is being burned for fuel, but a lot of the scale weight is intestinal solids and water.

This water loss is not linked to hydration levels, as it is not functional water. It is water which is mainly stored in your liver and muscle with glycogen. As your body uses these medium-term energy stores to keep your blood sugar level healthy, stored water is released in circulation. Many people therefore don’t feel very thirsty on their first day of fasting.

The steady weight loss after your first two days of fasting is actual body fat being used and the ‘real’ weight loss.

You can expect an immediate increase in your scale weight when you break your fast as intestinal solids increase and glycogen stores are replenished, increasing the amount of stored water once again.

If you are concerned about or just interested in your body fat loss during a fast, you can book an appointment to have a skin fold measurement or body composition scale reading done by the biokineticist or personal trainer before, during and after your fast as needed. Please see price list for the fees.


Stress Management

The Fasting Experience

“Fasting is part of our genetic heritage. Those of our ancestors who did NOT tolerate periods without food, or performed much worse when food is not available, well, they did not become our ancestors. Their genes were lost to following generations. Those who performed BETTER during famine, well, they left a heritage in our genes.”- Dr Andre Kruger

So fasting comes naturally to us, but even so, every fast is different. It differs from person to person and from fast to fast.

In general, you can expect to feel a little more tired and mentally foggy for the first couple of days of a fast, and then energy levels increase steadily, endurance improves and eventually mental clarity increases to a level rarely experienced when not fasting.

Hunger is not usually a concern as it disappears quickly. High levels of hunger could mean that there is a reason your body should not be in a continued fasting state, please discuss with the medical doctor or nutritionist.

Some dizziness can be expected as your body gets used to using higher concentrations of ketones as fuel and some nausea and excess bile secretion may be caused by your body sensing ketones in circulation without fat being actually digested.

Symptoms like headaches, dizziness and nausea can often be improved by doing the hydro cycle. Just ensure that the dizziness is not due to low blood pressure before doing any heat treatments.


Medication & Supplements

Please discuss any medication you are on with the medical staff before embarking on a fast. Some medication cannot be taken on an empty stomach and some chronic medication cannot be stopped ‘cold turkey’.

Multi-vitamins should never be taken, especially not during a fast. If you are taking a prescribed supplement for a medically diagnosed deficiently, you can pause your supplements during a fast as your body stores vitamins and minerals for months or years.

Juice fasting”

“Juice fasting” is not fasting and juicing is not supported at Hoogland. Juicing fruit and vegetables maintains their total calories, might actually increase the total available calories, and also increases the glycemic index. There are several other potential side effects to juicing, please see the section on our meal philosophy.


Exercise During Fasting

Exercise is essential during your fast. During a fast you will have less speed and strength, but more endurance. After about 20min of sustained activity your muscles release the hormone Irisin, which helps to mobilise fat and increase overall energy.

Whenever you feel low on energy, try to go for a walk of at least 20min and you will immediately see the benefit.

Being sufficiently physically active during your fast improves the efficacy of your fast. Exercise supports circulation, increases autophagy (cleaning debris from cells) and apoptosis (destroying abnormal tissue) and helps to protect against potential muscle loss.

Exercise will also assist in improving sleep, which can become challenging during a fast.

Low, endurance level physical activity will help to suppress your appetite should you start to feel a little hungry, but high intensity, vigorous activity might increase your appetite and make fasting more difficult.

Hoogland offers various forms of exercise throughout the day, starting with a nature hike or walk at 06:30 and ending the day with a nature hike or walk starting at 17:00. Inbetween exercise classes include yoga, pilates, stretch, aqua aerobics, dance and personal training.

The Hydrotherapy Cycle

The Hydrotherapy Cycle is an essential component of your visit to Hoogland Health Hydro and benefits include:

  • Assisting in elimination of metabolic wastes
  • Rejuvenation and hydration of skin
  • Improved immune response & regulation
  • Improved respiratory system function
  • Reduces inflammation & muscle tension
  • Improves circulation and lymphatic drainage.
The Hydrotherapy Cycle is divided into 5 phases: Exercise, Massage, Heat, Cold and Rest. Phases should follow each other in rapid succession to form an integrated unit.

The health consultant is always available for personalised help.


Hoogland’s water is pure, unpolluted mineral water from the dolomitic aquifers underground. The minerals include calcium and magnesium in a concentration so high that it matches the concentrations of these minerals in healthy blood serum.

During your fast, drink only water. It can be cold water, room temperature water, warm or hot water, sparkling water, or you can crunch down on some ice cubes.

Pay attention to your thirst and only drink when you are thirsty.

Drinking more water will not eliminate wastes from your body quicker, it might actually make it more difficult for your body to maintain homeostasis and can especially negatively impact your electrolyte levels.

Your urine should remain pale yellow. Do not aim for clear urine and reduce water intake should it become clear.

If your urine becomes very dark in colour without experiencing thirst, or stays clear without having drunk excessive water, please alert the medical staff on duty.



If your psychoactive drug of choice is caffeine, you can expect and uncomfortable withdrawal headache as you start your fast.

Consider drinking one cup of strong, black, bitter filter coffee on the first day of your fast to lessen the impact.



It may become difficult to sleep during a fast, especially in the first few days. This is due to the higher secretion of hormones which increase energy and alertness.

To improve sleep in general be as physically active as possible during the day and avoid doing extended periods of cold treatment in the late afternoon as this will further increase alertness.

The best solution to improve being able to fall asleep and going back to sleep when you wake up during the night, is to do deep breathing exercises and slow your breathing down to between 4 and 6 breaths a minute.

The most common breathing technique to achieve this is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breath in for a count of 4, hold your breath in for a count of 7, and exhale slowly for a count of 8.

Deep, slow breathing stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which will then temporarily reduce the secretion of the ‘energy and alertness’ hormones, leading to a state of deep relaxation.

Repeat about 5 times, and then just wait a few minutes for this easy, healthy and natural intervention to take effect.



As your fast progresses, your body will lose electrolytes and the speed of this depends on many variables such as your activity levels, heat exposure, humidity and acclimatization.

If your body is used to high salt intake it may be used to eliminating salt rapidly and this could cause a drop in electrolyte levels fairly early in your fast.

Your body requires electrolytes to operate and low electrolyte levels can become harmful.

A lower blood pressure is a natural side effect of fasting, but if you are feeling discomfort such as unusual dizziness when standing up or rapid heart-rate while resting, please see the health consultant.

Sometimes a bit of ‘pink salt’ (sodium and potassium chloride) is all that is required to continue to fast safely.

The consultant will look at your vitals and may also recommend an electrolyte blood test.

Bowel Movements

Many people are surprised that bowel movements continue during a fast, although it does slow down significantly.

Your “fed-state” feaces will typically consist of undigested food, microbiota, cholesterol, bile, inorganic substances such as calcium phosphate, cell debris from the mucous membrane, remnants of dead white and red blood cells and a couple of other wastes.

Although you do not eat during a fast and therefore there is no undigested food, and microbiota levels are low, much of the rest is still going into this magnificent waste disposal unit.

With the bulk and fibre missing, and peristalsis no longer being effectively triggered by eating, it becomes difficult for your bowel to move solids along so you can eliminate it. It can become dry and impacted.

Some people experience significant constipation during an extended fast which usually becomes evident once they break their fast and peristalsis picks up.

A stool softener or a small, self-administered enema might help. Because your gut microbiome is so important, do not use a stool softener unless needed as it does eliminate microbiota on the way to do its job.


Breaking Your Fast - Refeeding Safely

The process of breaking your fast is a very important aspect of a successful fasting experience and will be guided by our team.

Extended fasts (3 days and longer), should be broken systematically, with particular attention to biofeedback.

Breaking your fast is divided into 4 phases. The timing of these phases is not set in stone. Each period can be shorter or longer, depending on the length of your fast and how your body responds.

Take your time, value and appreciate what you learn in each phase. Do not rush through them.

For shorter fasts each break-fast phase can be as short as half a day. For longer fasts each break-fast phase can be up to 2 days each, sometimes even longer. Pay attention to the biofeedback your body provides.

Everyone responds differently and every time you fast you will have a different experience from both the fast and breaking the fast.

Do not be surprised if you have slightly less energy during the refeeding period than you had during your fast.

This is normal and is due to small changes in the fuel your body uses as well as your body diverting energy and blood flow to get the digestive tract up and running again.

If you would like any personal guidance on this, please ask a health professional to assist.

The focus on refeeding is to gently improve your gut microbiome: the gut and its associated microbiota. Focus on fibre (pre-biotics) and fermented foods (pro-biotics)



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(2) Liu, Y., Yu, Y., Matarese, G. and La Cava, A. (2012). Fasting-induced hypoleptinemia expands functional regulatory T cells in systemic lupus erythematosus. Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), [online] 188(5), pp.2070–2073. doi:

(3) Kjeldsen-Kragh, J., Borchgrevink, C.F., Laerum, E., Haugen, M., Eek, M., Førre, O., Mowinkel, P. and Hovi, K. (1991). Controlled trial of fasting and one-year vegetarian diet in rheumatoid arthritis. The Lancet, [online] 338(8772), pp.899–902. doi:

(4) Kanazawa, M. and Fukudo, S. (2006). Effects of fasting therapy on irritable bowel syndrome. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 13(3), pp.214–220. doi:

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(6) Goldhamer, A., Lisle, D., Parpia, B., Anderson, S.V. and Campbell, T.Colin. (2001). Medically supervised water-only fasting in the treatment of hypertension. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 24(5), pp.335–339. doi:

(7) Phillips, M.C.L. (2019). Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease. Nutrients, [online] 11(10). doi:

(8) Discover Magazine. (n.d.). The Growing Science Behind a Fasting Treatment for Alzheimer’s. [online] Available at:‌

(9)Newcomb, B. (2022). Fasting-Mimicking Diet Reduces Signs of Dementia in Mice. [online] USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Available at: [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].

(10) Brandhorst, S. (2021). Fasting and fasting-mimicking diets for chemotherapy augmentation. GeroScience. doi: