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Medical experts say in the first three days, the body is still using energy from stored glucose. However, after that, the liver starts processing body fat.
After three weeks the body enters what is known as a starvation mode, which is a severe deficiency in caloric, nutrient and vitamin intake. It's the worst form of malnutrition and prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually death.
During the starvation mode the body feeds on the muscles and vital organs for energy, and loss of bone marrow becomes life-threatening.
How long an individual survives depends on the person's physical and health situation prior to the start of the protest. There are examples of hunger strikers dying after 52 to 74 days of strike.
The world record for a hunger strike was set by Indian nationalist Bhagat Singh who fasted for 116 days before ending the protest on October 5, 1929. The British authorities in India hanged him for treason on March 23, 1931. He was 23.