The Beneficial Effects of Ramadan Fasting from the Medical and Sociocultural Perspectives

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria Kaduna State, Nigeria.

2 Department of Islamic Studies, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ogun State, Nigeria.

3 Future of Medicine Sciences, Technology and Innovation Group (FoMSTIG), c/o Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ogun State, Nigeria.


Despite the abundant treatise and resource materials on Ramadan fasting, questions still arise regarding the benefits of this annual religious ritual. In an attempt to lend credence to the medical benefits of Ramadan, an academic adventure was undertaken, entailing the principles of Ramadan fasting and its effects on Muslims in terms of health and sickness. The findings of the studies on the health implications of Ramadan fasting and other similar prolonged dietary restrictions in human participants and animal models were reviewed and discussed. This review also catalogued the main contributions of fasting to the human health and physiological wellbeing of experimental subjects. In addition, our study considered religious limitations, as well as the side-effects and health hazards of some ailments that could pose a threat to Muslims, vis-à-vis their observance of Ramadan fasting. Some of the conditions that are inimical to the physiological status of human participants include cardiac diseases, diabetes mellitus, and pregnancy in women. Consistent with the previous findings, the present study indicated that Ramadan fasting has health, social, moral, environmental, and spiritual benefits for Muslims. In conclusion, fasting has proven an efficacious nutritherapy as the offered dietary regimens are among the non-pharmacological approaches to improving the human health with several societal and environmental benefits. In addition, Ramadan fasting leads to positive changes in the attitudes of individuals, thereby resulting in the sociocultural balance of the community and environmental harmony.


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