Fasting for Knee Pain. Is it Worth it? Experts Weigh In

Written By on February 1, 2021 — Medically Reviewed By Kristopher Ceniza

Written by on February 1, 2021 — Medically Reviewed By: Kristopher Cenzia

You may have heard of fasting to assist with various aches and pains. fasting has a range of health benefits believe it or not and relief of knee pain is just one of them. This is of course to do with the reduction of inflammation from this dietary habit.

Through this article we will take a look at;

  • Benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle and intermittent fasting on inflammation
  • How fasting affects inflammation
  • How to start intermittent fasting
  • Can fasting entirely cure knee and joint pain?

How Does Fasting Help with Knee Pain?

Surgery should always be the last resort when it comes to joint pain or any other injury for that matter. To avoid drugs, surgery, and further injury to your knees in the long term, fasting may just be the answer!

How does fasting help with joint pain? Well, the simple answer is that it reduces inflammation. Keeping the inflammation in damaged joints low will help you to recover quickly and avoid all those more invasive treatments.

Studies have shown that both a ketogenic lifestyle and intermittent fasting can make a world of difference when it comes to the reduction of inflammation.

A ketogenic lifestyle is generally based around your diet and exercise. It ensures that your body burns fat rather than sugar. There are many health benefits scientifically proven from living a ketogenic lifestyle.

It has been shown that this will assist people who suffer from autoimmune conditions, inflammatory conditions, and leads to a healthier lifestyle all round.

It has also been proven to help people with neurogenic degenerative disorders, for example, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.

But here we are focusing on its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains about 70% good fats, 25% protein, and around 5% carbohydrates. The low intake of carbohydrates keeps insulin low, a compound that is inflammatory to the body.

Reducing insulin in the body will in turn reduce inflammation.

Knee Force Knee Sleeve

Intermittent fasting also has a similar effect on the body, reducing inflammation. It is of course based around a total overhaul of our usual diet.

Our body feels like we need our three meals a day, snacking in between, but new studies have introduced the notion that this is not the case for most.

We have been taught for so long that consistent eating will keep up your metabolism when in fact recent research has shown that it can have the opposite effect.

Every time you eat, and no matter what you eat, your insulin levels rise. the way that we keep inflammation and symptoms of degenerative diseases low are by keeping our insulin low too. This is where intermittent fasting comes into play.

This fasting period helps to give the body a break so that insulin levels begin to die down, inflammation starts to go down with it, it also stresses the body in a way that is actually quite healthy.

It has also been shown to reset your metabolism, killing off bad cellular components. As well as these health benefits, intermittent fasting has also been proven to have anti-aging properties too!

How to Start Intermittent Fasting

There are three main methods of intermittent fasting. They all include the notion of slitting your day or week into eating and fasting periods.

During the fasting period you will be eating little to nothing at all. The three most popular methods are as follows;

1. The 16/8 Method

This is also known as Leangains protocol, which involves skipping breakfast and restricting your eating period to 8 hours of the day, for example, 1-9 pm. From here you fast for 16 hours in between.

2. The Eat-Stop-Eat Method

This will involve fasting for 24 hours, one or two times a week. This can be done going from not eating dinner one day, not eating until dinner the following day for your 24 hours period.

3. The 5:2 Diet

For this diet, you would eat normally for five days of the week, but for two days you will restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories.

These methods lead to weight loss as well as reduced inflammation, but only if you do not overcompensate by eating more during the eating periods.

Many find that of the three methods, the 16/8 method is the simplest and also the easiest to stick to. If you wish to try intermittent fasting then we recommend starting with the 16/8 method and see if this suits your needs and leads to the desired results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can fasting cure knee pain?

The short answer is no. Fasting can not entirely cure knee pain, but it is an effective tool in decreasing inflammation in the joints.

People can have various reactions to antigens, with very different results depending on a range of personal conditions.

It has been found that dairy products, eggs, beef, wheat, and corn are the most common culprits in this regard. But there are many other more, which can be quite obscure and therefore hard to pinpoint.

For example, if someone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis wants to find out what foods they are sensitive to, foods that may elevate inflammation and pain, they are best to undergo a period of fasting. This would involve only taking in pure water followed by a period of rotational feeding.

After a fasting period, it is common for those with acute or chronic knee and joint pain to see the swelling disappear completely. This is especially true with arthritis patients.

This can be a result of lowering insulin levels, and of course, alleviating foods that may cause inflammation in the body. It is crucial to follow a proper refeeding diet after the initial fasting period if you want to find out which foods trigger swelling and pain in your joints.
This can be a great way to begin the intermittent fasting diet while also find out which foods may cause issues within your body.

Does fasting help joint pain?

There may be a good reason that intermittent fasting diets have garnered their 15 minutes of fame in recent years. New studies have concluded without a doubt that intermittent fasting has several health benefits, including the reduction of inflammation.

Knee Force Knee Sleeve

This can in turn lead to a reduced risk of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. But it does not stop there. As we have discussed, intermittent fasting helps with all manner of joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

It has been shown that intermittent fasting causes a reduction in the cells in the body that cause inflammation, or monocytes, which are found in the blood.

The people on intermittent fasting diets showed monocytes that were a lot less inflammatory than those on a normal diet.

This indicates that an intermittent fasting diet is not so much starving, but in actual fact, our ‘normal’ diet involves eating too much. Especially in Western society, people have developed a habit of overeating.
Inflammation is a tool used by our bodies in order to fight infections, however, the quantity of these cells in our blood today is far more than is necessary. This is due to the high volume of insulin in our system due to overeating.

It is put to us that the number of monocytes in our blood that we have thought of as ‘normal’ levels may not be normal at all. It may in fact mean that we have an extremely high amount of monocytes in our blood due to overeating and intermittent fasting may be the perfect way to combat this imbalance.

Our modern diet actually puts us at risk of higher occurrences of inflammation.

Fasting for joint pain is definitely an effective method of reducing inflammation in people with knee injuries and other health issues that cause inflammation of the joints.

How does fasting affect inflammation?

We have explained briefly how fasting affects inflammation, but now we will take a more in-depth look at the scientific reasoning behind the process and the effect on the body.

A study published in Cell found that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune system’s response to acute infections.

Acute inflammation is used by the body to fight off infections as one of the normal immune system processes. Bu chronic inflammation can have negative consequences for your health. This can include heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Caloric restriction has been shown to improve inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. But until now we have understood very little about the process by which this occurs.

At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a team led by Dr. Miriam Merad looked into human and mouse immune cells, showing that intermittent fasting reduced the release of monocytes or the pro-inflammatory cells that occur in blood circulation.

This revealed that during periods of fasting, the cells go into what was known as a ‘sleep mode’, becoming less inflammatory than those found in people who had been fed.

Monocytes are immune cells that are highly inflammatory and can in some cases cause severe tissue damage. Due to Westernised diets that involve drastic overeating, the population around the world has seen a huge increase in the occurrence of these cells.

This has been slowly increasing of a period of centuries, as human food has become more abundant and readily available.

There are many diseases that are caused by chronic inflammation, and it does impact existing issues such as joint pain specifically. The amount of people suffering from these issues is also continuously increasing.
This means that there is growing need for intermittent fasting diets, not just as a fad for weight loss but for their underlying health benefits.

It may also help for weight loss, but the main draw of this dieting regime is to reduce inflammation for those patients who need it while also minimizing the risk of these chronic illnesses through reducing monocytes which lead to inflammation in the body.

Researchers still plan to continue their work in this area to better understand the benefits of intermittent fasting on a molecular level. This may, in turn, lead to preventative strategies for common illnesses that are caused by excessive inflammation.

Mitch Torres (PT)
Mitch is a physical therapist, personal trainer, and nutrition coach. Fascinated with the knee joint, Mitch poured that passion into writing about knee pain and how to overcome it with movement. His goal is to teach you how to apply this knowledge into your daily life, so you can keep knee pain away for good.