People may fast for a variety of reasons, both spiritual and health-related. Whether you seek spiritual clarity, a detoxification of chemicals and toxins from your body, or a kick-start to your weight-loss program, fasting must be done safely to ensure no ill health effects. If you deprive your body too long of necessary nutrients, you may suffer symptoms such as muscle pains and aches.
Fasting and Malnutrition
Fasting can be performed in different ways and taken to different lengths, from cutting out all but a few foods or beverages to cutting out all foods. If fasting is performed for an extended period of time and done to extremes, such as no food or beverages other than water, your body can quickly suffer from vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. These health conditions can result in muscle pains and aches as the body isn't receiving the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Causes of Muscle Pains
According to MedlinePlus, muscle pains and aches may be caused by malnourishment and insufficient levels of nutrients. In particular, potassium and calcium deficiencies can cause muscle pains due to an imbalance of electrolytes. Other causes can include illnesses and infections such as the flu, an abscess in the muscle, lupus, stress or feeling tense, excessive use of the muscles, or a muscle injury.
During a fast, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, preferably fruit and vegetable juices, so that you get essential nutrients, vitamins and some calories to help your body function. If you allow yourself to get dehydrated during your fast, you may develop muscle pains or cramping, notes MedlinePlus.
According to a Vanderbilt University site, fasting should always be conducted with medical supervision. Fasting should be done for a short duration of only a few days, and activity should be extremely limited and stress avoided. People with medical conditions, including diabetes, cancer, AIDS and pregnancy, should not fast.