Deliberate avoidance of food for prolonged periods are common throughout the world for health and religious reasons. Studies have investigated the effects of fasting on healthy humans and shown that there are certain health benefits to many types of fasting. A number of chronic diseases have been shown to improve with fasting, and in particular diseases associated with chronic pain including arthritis, respond well to fasting. A number of factors might be responsible for the pain relieving effects of fasting including the avoidance of allergens that are often triggers for inflammatory conditions. Increases in brain levels of opioids, serotonin and other neurotransmitters may also play a role as certain downstream effects of fasting, including a lowering of insulin and raising of ketone body production may both affect the brain. The mood elevating effects of fasting, particularly in chronic pain sufferers has been consistently reported and fasting may therefore significantly improve the quality of life in such individuals.
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