METHODS: One hundred seventy-four consecutive hypertensive patients with blood pressure in excess of 140 mm Hg systolic, 90 mm Hg diastolic (140/90 mm Hg), or both were treated in an inpatient setting under medical supervision. The treatment program consisted of a short prefasting period (approximately 2 to 3 days on average) during which food consumption was limited to fruits and vegetables, followed by medically supervised water-only fasting (approximately 10 to 11 days on average) and a refeeding period (approximately 6 to 7 days on average) introducing a low-fat, low-sodium, vegan diet.
RESULTS: Almost 90% of the subjects achieved blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg by the end of the treatment program. The average reduction in blood pressure was 37/13 mm Hg, with the greatest decrease being observed for subjects with the most severe hypertension. Patients with stage 3 hypertension (those with systolic blood pressure greater than 180 mg Hg, diastolic blood pressure greater than 110 mg Hg, or both) had an average reduction of 60/17 mm Hg at the conclusion of treatment. All of the subjects who were taking antihypertensive medication at entry (6.3% of the total sample) successfully discontinued the use of medication.
CONCLUSION: Medically supervised water-only fasting appears to be a safe and effective means of normalizing blood pressure and may assist in motivating health-promoting diet and lifestyle changes.
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