Fasting may be an alternative treatment method recommended by physicians
More details
Hide details
Department of Biochemistry, Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Online publication date: 2019-05-16
Publication date: 2019-05-16
Corresponding author
Ferah Armutcu   

Private Esencan Hospital 19 Mayıs Bulvarı No:18 Esenyurt, Istanbul, Turkey
Electron J Gen Med 2019;16(3):em138
Fasting is a practice found in many cultures both ancient and modern. Although, fasting (religious or otherwise) causes many physiological, biochemical, metabolic and spiritual changes in the body, there is no clear scientific consensus on its beneficial effects on health. Also, despite the popularity and potential promise of therapeutic fasting as a preventive measure, little is known about the prevalence of therapeutic fasting use. This study was performed to discuss whether could fasting be part of wellness?

It is reviewed lately conducted studies in regarding the impact of fasting or Ramadan fasting on health. It was searched, MEDLINE/PubMed and Google Scholar databases by using ‘Fasting’, ‘Ramadan fasting’ and ‘Intermittent fasting’ as keyword (publications between 2005 and 2018).

Discussion and Conclusion:
Research-based molecular and clinical studies on Ramadan and other fasting methods agree that fasting has positive effects on human health. Fasting lead to better metabolic health by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Fasting therapy may contribute to the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders. It can be said fasting would take place in physician recommendations as a complementary treatment method in the near future.

Persynaki A, Karras S, Pichard C. Unraveling the metabolic health benefits of fasting related to religious beliefs: A narrative review. Nutrition. 2017;35:14-20.
Patterson RE, Laughlin GA, LaCroix AZ, et. al. Intermittent fasting and human metabolic health. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115:1203-1212.
Michalsen A, Li C. Fasting therapy for treating and preventing disease - current state of evidence. Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20:444-453.
Mattson MP, Longo VD, Harvie M. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Res Rev. 2017;39:46-58.
Boschmann M, Michalsen A. Fasting therapy - old and new perspectives. Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20:410-411.
Patterson RE, Sears DD. Metabolic effects of intermittent fasting. Annu Rev Nutr. 2017;37:371-393.
Tinsley GM, La Bounty PM. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev. 2015;73:661-674.
Asemi Z, Samimi M, Taghizadeh M, Esmaillzadeh A. Effects of Ramadan fasting on glucose homeostasis, lipid profiles, ınflammation and oxidative stress in women with polycystic ovary syndrome in Kashan, Iran. Arch Iran Med. 2015;18:806-810.
Harder-Lauridsen NM, Rosenberg A, Benatti FB, et al. Ramadan model of intermittent fasting for 28 d had no major effect on body composition, glucose metabolism, or cognitive functions in healthy lean men. Nutrition 2017;37:92-103.
Gnanou JV, Caszo BA, Khalil KM, et al. Effects of Ramadan fasting on glucose homeostasis and adiponectin levels in healthy adult males. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015;14:55.
Kiyani MM, Memon AR, Amjad MI, et al. Study of human biochemical parameters during and after Ramadan. J Relig Health. 2017;56:55-62.
Feizollahzadeh S, Rasuli J, Kheirouri S, Alizadeh M. Augmented plasma adiponectin after prolonged fasting during ramadan in men. Health Promot Perspect. 2014;4:77-81.
Celik S, Pınar R, Uzum AK, Salman S. Effects of Ramadan fasting on daily life and metabolic condition in patients with type 2 Diabetes. Turkiye Klinikleri J Med Sci. 2013;33:1266-1273.
Yeoh EC, Zainudin SB, Loh WN, Chua CL, Fun S, et al. Fasting during Ramadan and associated changes in glycaemia, caloric intake and body composition with gender differences in Singapore. Ann Acad Med Singap. 2015;44:202–206. Retrieved from
Rohin MA, Rozano N, Abd Hadi N, Mat Nor MN, Abdullah S, Dandinasivara Venkateshaiah M. Anthropometry and body composition status during ramadan among higher institution learning centre staffs with different body weight status. Scientific World Journal. 2013;2013:308041.
Tikoo K, Tripathi DN, Kabra DG, et al. Intermittent fasting prevents the progression of type I diabetic nephropathy in rats and changes the expression of Sir2 and p53. FEBS Lett. 2007;581:1071-1078.
Li C, Sadraie B, Steckhan N, et al. Effects of A One-week Fasting Therapy in Patients with Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus and Metabolic Syndrome - A Randomized Controlled Explorative Study. J Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2017;125:618-624.
Barnosky AR, Hoddy KK, Unterman TG, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Transl Res. 2014;164:302-311.
Lauche R, Wardle J, Ostermann T, et al. Characteristics of fasting users among internal medicine patients in Germany. Adv Integr Med. 2018;5:29-34.
Horne BD, May HT, Anderson JL, et al. Usefulness of routine periodic fasting to lower risk of coronary artery disease in patients undergoing coronary angiography. Am J Cardiol. 2008;102:814–819.
Meo SA, Hassan A. Physiological changes during fasting in Ramadan. J Pak Med Assoc. 2015;65(Suppl 1):6-14.
Mindikoglu AL, Opekun AR, Gagan SK, Devaraj S. Impact of Time-Restricted Feeding and Dawn-to-Sunset Fasting on Circadian Rhythm, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2017;2017:3932491.
Mathew S, Krug S, Skurk T, et al. Metabolomics of Ramadan fasting: an opportunity for the controlled study of physiological responses to food intake. J Transl Med. 2014;12:161.
Aliasghari F, Izadi A, Gargari BP, Ebrahimi S. The Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Body Composition, Blood Pressure, Glucose Metabolism, and Markers of Inflammation in NAFLD Patients: An Observational Trial. J Am Coll Nutr. 2017;36:640-645.
Aksungar FB, Topkaya AE, Akyildiz M. Interleukin-6, C-reactive protein and biochemical parameters during prolonged intermittent fasting. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51:88-95.
Faris MA, Kacimi S, Al-Kurd RA, et al. Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Nutr Res. 2012;32:947-955.
Li G, Xie C, Lu S, et al. Intermittent fasting promotes white adipose browning and decreases obesity by shaping the gut microbiota. Cell Metab. 2017;26:672-685.
28. Liu H, Javaheri A, Godar RJ, et al. Intermittent fasting preserves beta-cell mass in obesity-induced diabetes via the autophagy-lysosome pathway. Autophagy. 2017;13:1952-1968.
Longo VD, Mattson MP. Fasting; molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell Metab. 2014;19:181-192.
Unalacak M, Kara IH, Baltaci D, Erdem O, Bucaktepe PG. Effects of Ramadan fasting on biochemical and hematological parameters and cytokines in healthy and obese individuals. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2011;9:157-161.
Nematy M, Alinezhad-Namaghi M, Rashed MM, et al. Effects of Ramadan fasting on cardiovascular risk factors: a prospective observational study. Nutr J. 2012;11: 69.
Ajabnoor GM, Bahijri S, Shaik NA, et al. Ramadan fasting in Saudi Arabia is associated with altered expression of CLOCK, DUSP and IL-1alpha genes, as well as changes in cardiometabolic risk factors. PLoS One. 2017;12:e0174342.
Abazid RM, Khalaf HH, Sakr HI, et al. Effects of Ramadan fasting on the symptoms of chronic heart failure. Saudi Med J. 2018;39:395-400.
Adawi M, Watad A, Brown S, et al. Ramadan Fasting Exerts Immunomodulatory Effects: Insights from a Systematic Review. Front Immunol. 2017;8:1144. 2017.01144.
Erdem O. The investigation of the effects of Ramadan fasting on the mood state of healthy volunteer persons. Fam Pract Palliat Care. 2018;3:1-6.
Vasconcelos AR, Yshii LM, Viel TA, et al. Intermittent fasting attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation and memory impairment. J Neuroinflammation. 2014;11:85.
Choi IY, Piccio L, Childress P, et al. A Diet Mimicking Fasting Promotes Regeneration and Reduces Autoimmunity and Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms. Cell Rep. 2016;15:2136-2146.
Mihaylova MM, Cheng CW, Cao AQ, et al. Fasting Activates Fatty Acid Oxidation to Enhance Intestinal Stem Cell Function during Homeostasis and Aging. Cell Stem Cell. 2018;22:769-778.
Watkins E, Serpell L. The Psychological Effects of Short-Term Fasting in Healthy Women. Front Nutr. 2016;3:27.
Al-Arouj M, Bouguerra R, Buse J et al. Recommendations for management of diabetes during Ramadan. Diabetes Care 2005;28:2305-2311.
Mahmoud Ibrahim, Megahed Abu Al Magd, Firas A Annabi, et al. Recommendations for management of diabetes during Ramadan: update 2015. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2015;3(1):e000108.
Mazidi M, Rezaie P, Chaudhri O, Karimi E, Nematy M. The effect of Ramadan fasting on cardiometabolic risk factors and anthropometrics parameters: A systematic review. Pak J Med Sci. 2015;31:1250-1255.
Emami-Naini A, Roomizadeh P, Baradaran A, Abedini A, Abtahi M. Ramadan fasting and patients with renal diseases: A mini review of the literature. J Res Med Sci. 2013;18:711–716. Retrieved from
Al Mahayni AO, Alkhateeb SS, Abusaq IH, et al. Does fasting in Ramadan increase the risk of developing urinary stones? Saudi Med J. 2018;39:481-486.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top