Doctors supervising the health of Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia believe that the three can fast for three more days without facing any serious health implications.
An Indian Express story raised questions on Friday about how the fasting members, especially a diabetic like Kejriwal, could keep their ketone levels so low. The news report said that unlike the usual pattern in such cases, the ketone levels of Team Anna members first decreased and increased, although not significantly.
Continuous fasting leads to an increase in ketone levels in the body which can have a negative impact on the kidneys. Kejriwal is a diabetic and is more prone to ketone formation during fasting.
However, the ketone levels of all three social activists have not crossed the danger mark despite the fact that they have been fasting for nine days.
Doctors monitoring the health of Team Anna members and other anshankaris say that given the right conditions, it is possible to keep ketone levels in control.
“Ketone level increases when there is an increase in the calorie requirement of the body. Since Kejriwal and others are not doing any physical activity and remain silent most of the day, their bodies do not require calories,” said Dr Atul Kumar Gupta, consultant anaestheologist and intensivist, and a member of the team of doctors at Jantar Mantar.
Most part of the day, Kejriwal and his aides spend time in enclosures with temperature between 28 and 30 degrees celsius. Regular intake of water dilutes the ketone level in the body, said Dr Gupta, challenging the reports which have questioned the science behind Team Anna‘s fasting. “I can debate this methodology of fasting at any medical forum,” he added.
The fasting members also regularly drink boiled water which, according to doctors, boosts energy during fasting.
Dr Vineet Mittal, another member of Team Anna’s battery of doctors, said that many people from the Jain community use these medical techniques to fast for more than 20 days. “There is no rocket science at work. This is possible in medical science,” he said.
Before embarking on the 25 July fast, Kejriwal and his aides reportedly followed a routine which involved Yoga.
“Around a week before the fast they stopped intake of carbohydrates and ate fruits and vegetables. Water intake was maintained at 6-7 litres per day. “At least two days after breaking of fast, they should remain on a liquid diet such as coconut water, juices and porridge,” said Dr Ran Singh Arya, Team Anna’s consulting naturopath.
On Wednesday, doctors of the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital warned that the health of Team Anna members was deteriorating and they should be hospitalised. Kejriwal questioned the medical report saying that it was a government conspiracy to evict him from the protest venue.