Fasting for a month, from dawn to dusk, has many benefits. While this practice may seem extreme and daunting, this study has opened exciting doors that can help us stay healthy. A new study published in Metabolism Open reveals that dry fasting during the Muslim holy month has multiple physiological benefits – from improved immune system functions to lower cholesterol levels. These results could revolutionize the dietary protocol of people observing Ramadan around the world, by providing a better understanding of the impact of abstaining from food on our bodies and our well-being. Read on to learn more about these results and how this type of fasting can help improve your health!
Dry fasting, also known as absolute fasting or total abstinence from food and water, can provide many health benefits. According to research, dry fasting has been used for centuries in Eastern and Arabian cultures to improve overall well-being. Additionally, there is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the practice of dry fasting.
Discover the details of this study.
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, USA) recently published a study in the journal Metabolism Open that demonstrates the benefits of fasting in Ramadan for four weeks. The study looked at peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), which are immune cells made up of lymphocytes and monocytes, to identify any changes in metabolic health or inflammation due to fasting for a month.
The participants were 14 people with metabolic syndrome. A condition that includes low HDL (good cholesterol), obesity, high triglycerides, diabetes and hypertension. These risk factors can thus cause cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The 14 participants are challenged to fast from dawn to dusk for four successive weeks. Blood samples were taken from all participants before fasting, at the end of and one week after breaking the fast.
The results are encouraging:
Dawn-to-dusk fasting improves metabolic health, decreases inflammation, and reduces risk factors for atherosclerosis. Specifically, the researchers found that:
- Fasting reduced body weight, BMI and waist circumference.
- It also lowered cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
- It increased HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- It improved insulin sensitivity
- It decreased inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha.
In addition, fasting also impacted PBMCs at the cellular level – reducing cell proliferation while inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Taken together, these results suggest that dry fasting may be an effective form of dietary intervention to improve metabolic health, reduce inflammation, and potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the study even suggests its potential as an anticancer intervention by directly targeting PBMCs through cell growth inhibition and cell death promotion.
Dry fasting detoxifies the body naturally.
The practice of dry fasting can have detoxifying effects on the body. A study by German researchers found that compared to people who only abstained from food during Ramadan but consumed water intermittently throughout the day, those who practiced dry fasting had higher levels of toxin removal from their body. This suggests that abstaining from both food and drink promotes detoxification on a deeper level by causing our bodies to turn to fat for energy rather than carbohydrates or protein. which leads to increased fat breakdown and releases toxins into the bloodstream so they can be eliminated through the sweat glands and kidneys.
Dry fasting allows for better digestive and intestinal health.
For example, a study conducted by researchers at the Institute of Human Anatomy in Belgrade found that participants who practiced dry fasting had significantly improved digestion compared to those who did not. The study showed that participants on the dry fasting diet had significantly lower levels of stomach acidity and higher levels of gut bacteria diversity than those on the normal diet. This suggests that the practice of dry fasting may help improve digestive health by reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.