The Effects of Prolonged Water-Only Fasting and Refeeding on Markers of Cardiometabolic Risk

Submitted on March 11, 2022 - 11:28am

Santa Rosa, CA, March, 2022 - The TrueNorth Health Foundation in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic has published an original research article in the journal, Nutrients on the effects of prolonged water-only fasting and refeeding on markers of cardiometabolic risk.

(1) Background: Cardiometabolic disease, including insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension, are major contributors to adverse health outcomes. Fasting has gained interest as a nonpharmacological therapeutic adjunct for these disorders. (2) Methods: We conducted a prospective, single-center study on the effects of prolonged water-only fasting followed by an exclusively whole-plant-food refeeding diet on accepted measures of cardiovascular risk and metabolic health. Participants were recruited from patients who had voluntarily elected to complete a water-only fast in order to improve their overall health according to an established protocol at an independent, residential medical center. Median fasting and refeed lengths were 17 and 8 days, respectively. The primary endpoint was to describe the mean glucose tolerance as indicated by Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) scores at baseline, end-of-fast (EOF), and end-of-refeed (EOR) visits. Secondary endpoints were to describe the mean weight, body mass index (BMI), abdominal circumference (AC), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), lipid panel, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) at the same time points. (3) Results: The study enrolled 48 overweight/obese non-diabetic participants, of which 26 completed the full study protocol. At the EOF visit, the median SBP, AC, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and hsCRP were decreased and triglycerides (TG) and HOMA-IR scores were increased. Conclusion: Prolonged water-only fasting and whole-plant-food refeeding holds potential as a clinical therapy for cardiometabolic disease but increased TG and HOMA-IR values after refeeding necessitate further inquiry.


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