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Effects of Ramadan fasting on cardiovascular risk factors: a prospective observational study

Mohsen Nematy1, Maryam Alinezhad-Namaghi2, Masoud Mahdavi Rashed2, Mostafa Mozhdehifard2, Seyedeh Sania Sajjadi2, Saeed Akhlaghi3, Maryam Sabery4, Seyed Amir R Mohajeri2, Neda Shalaey2, Mohsen Moohebati5 and Abdolreza Norouzy2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition, Mashad, Biochemistry and Nutrition, Endoscopic & Minimally Invasive Surgery, and Cancer Research Centers, University of Medical Sciences, Mashad, 91779-48564, Iran

2 Biochemistry and Nutrition Research Center and Department of Nutrition, Mashad, University of Medical Sciences, Mashad 91779-48564, Iran

3 Department of Community Medicine, Mashad, University of Medical Sciences, Mashad, 91779-48564, Iran

4 Iranian Applied Research Center for Health and Sustainable Development (IRCPHD), North Khorasan University of Medical Sciences, North Khorasan, Iran

5 Department of Cardiology, Ghaem Teaching Hospital, Mashad, University of Medical Sciences, Mashad, 91766-99199, Iran

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Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:69  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-69

Published: 10 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Previous research has shown that Ramadan fasting has beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors, however there are controversies. In the present study, the effect of Ramadan fasting on cardiovascular risk factors has been investigated.

Method

This is a prospective observational study that was carried out in a group of patients with at least one cardiovascular risk factor (including history of documented previous history of either coronary artery disease (CAD), metabolic syndrome or cerebro-vascular disease in past 10 y). Eighty two volunteers including 38 male and 44 female, aged 29–70 y, mean 54.0 ± 10 y, with a previous history of either coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome or cerebro-vascular disease were recruited. Subjects attended the metabolic unit after at least 10 h fasting, before and after Ramadan who were been fasting for at least 10 days. A fasting blood sample was obtained, blood pressure was measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Lipids profile, fasting blood sugar (FBS) and insulin, homocysteine (hcy), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and complete blood count (CBC) were analyzed on all blood samples.

Results

A significant improvement in 10 years coronary heart disease risk (based on Framingham risk score) was found (13.0 ± 8 before Ramadan and 10.8 ±7 after Ramadan, P <0.001, t test).There was a significant higher HDL-c, WBC, RBC and platelet count (PLT), and lower plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-c, VLDL-c, systolic blood pressure, body mass index and waist circumference after Ramadan (P <0.05, t test). The changes in FBS, insulin,Homeostasis Model Assessment Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR), hcy, hs-CRP and diastolic blood pressure before and after Ramadan were not significant (P >0.05, t test).

Conclusions

This study shows a significant improvement in 10 years coronary heart disease risk score and other cardiovascular risk factors such as lipids profile, systolic blood pressure, weight, BMI and waist circumference in subjects with a previous history of cardiovascular disease.

Keywords:
Ramadan; Fasting; hs-CRP; Homocysteine; FBS; Insulin resistance; Cardiovascular diseases; Risk factors