Effects of Ramadan fasting on body weight and metabolic profile


Background and objective: Fasting during the Ramadan month is a religious duty and it is obligatory for all healthy adult Muslims. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of fasting during Ramadan in different times and place on body weight, blood sugar, serum lipids and blood pressure.Methods: Fifty three healthy adult fasting volunteers were included in the study. Peripheral venous blood samples were taken three days before Ramadan, at the end of the first week, and at the end of the fourth week of fasting. The last blood sample was taken one week after the end of Ramadan. Serum total cholesterol, HDL and LDL, triglycerides and glucose were measured. Vital signs and body mass index were taken by one of the researchers.Results: Thirty three (62.3%) volunteers were males, 93.4% were below 40 years of age. Weight changed significantly during Ramadan. Mean systolic blood pressure decreased by 11 mmHg while diastolic blood pressure decreased by 9 mmHg (P <0.001). Fasting blood sugar decreased by 14.96 mg/dl (P <0.001). Plasma lipids; cholesterol decreased by 19.3 mg/dl (P <0.027), LDL by 23 mg/dl (P <0.001), triglyceride by 44 mg/dl (P <0.003) but the HDL increased by 5.4 mg/dl (P <0.002) during Ramadan fasting. Before Ramadan, 19% of participants had abnormal serum cholesterol and 37% had abnormal LDL level, while after Ramadan all had normal lipid levels (P <0.001). The proportion of participants with abnormal HDL decreased from 94% before Ramadan to 50% after Ramadan (P <0.001).Conclusion: Ramadan affects the body physiology and lowers the weight, serum lipids, blood pressure and blood glucose levels.