The effects of Ramadan Fasting on Growth Parameters: A Narrative Review

Document Type : Review Article


Biochemistry of Nutrition Research Center , School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran.


Ramadan fasting is prescribed by Quran for every able‐bodied, adult Muslim and is considered an obligatory act of worship. During Ramadan, the majority of Muslims eat two major meals- one before dawn (Sahar) and another immediately after the sunset (Iftar). Islamic fasting, due to its particular nature, may cause metabolic and hormonal changes in the body, which are different from those in regular fasting. To the best of our knowledge, no comprehensive study has been conducted on changes in growth parameters during fasting periods. Therefore, the aim of this review, which is based on scientific literature review, was to describe the effects of fasting on growth parameters in humans.


  1. Alwasel S, Abotalib Z, Aljarallah J, Osmond C, Alkharaz S, Alhazza I, et al. Changes in Placental size during Ramadan. Placenta. 2010; 31(7):607‐10.
  2. Moradi M. The effect of Ramadan fasting on fetal growth and Doppler indices of Pregnancy. Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2011; 16(2):165.
  3. Bogdan A, Bouchareb B, Touitou Y. Ramadan fasting alters endocrine and neuroendocrine circadian patterns. Meal–time as a synchronizer in humans? Life sciences. 2001; 68(14):1607‐15.
  4. Larijani B, Zahedi F, Sanjari M, Amini M, Jalili R, Adibi H, et al. The effect of Ramadan fasting on fasting serum glucose in healthy adults. Medical Journal of Malaysia. 2003; 58(5):678‐80.
  5. Norouzy A, Salehi M, Philippou E, Arabi H, Shiva F, Mehrnoosh S, et al. Effect of fasting In Ramadan on body composition and nutritional intake: a prospective study. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2013.
  6. Nematy M, Alinezhad‐Namaghi M, Rashed MM, Mozhdehifard M, Sajjadi SS, Akhlaghi S, Et al. Effects of Ramadan fasting on cardiovascular risk factors: a prospective observational study. Nutrition journal. 2012; 11(1):69.
  7. Azizi F. Islamic Fasting and Health. Ann Nutr Metab. 2010; 56(4):273‐82.
  8. Ahmadinejad Z, Ziaee V, Rezaee M, Yarmohammadi L, Shaikh H, Bozorgi F, et al. The effect of Ramadan fasting on thyroid hormone profile: A cohort study. Pak J Biol Sci 2006; 9:1999‐2002.
  9. Abolfazl Khoshdel, Mostafa Najafi, Soleiman Kheiri, Elham Taheri, Jafar Nasiri, Hosein Yousofi, Amirgholi Jafari. Impact of Maternal Ramadan Fasting on Growth Parameters in Exclusively Breast-fed Infants. Iran J Pediator. Dec 2007; 17(4):345-352
  10. Makvandi S, Nematy M, Karimi L. Effects of Ramadan fasting on neonatal anthropometric measurements in the third trimester of pregnancy. J Fasting Health. 2013; 1(2):11‐15.
  11. Bahrayni Sh, Vakili V, Nematy N, Norouzy A, Hashemy SI, Ebrahimi M, Masoumi E, Esmaeili H. The Effect of Ramadan Fasting on Thyroid Hormones in 9‐13 Years Old Pre‐Menarche Girls. J Fasting Health. 2013; 1(2):4‐10.
  12. HaratipourH, Sohrabi MB, Ghasemi E, Karimi A, Zolfaghari P, Yahyaei E. Impact of maternal fasting during Ramadan on growth parameters of exclusively breastfed infants in Shahroud, 2012. J Fasting Health. 2013; 1(2): 66-69.
  13. Vahid Ziaee, Zarintaj Kihanidoost, Masoud Younesian, MohammadBagher Akhavirad,Farzad Bateni,Zahra Kazemianfar, and Sedigheh Hantoushzadeh. The Effect of Ramadan Fasting on Outcome of Pregnancy. Iranian Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 20 (Number 2), June 2010, Pages: 181-186.
  14. Cross JH, Eminson J, Wharton BA. Ramadan and birth weight at full term in Asian Moslem pregnant women in Birmingham. Arch Dis Child. 1990; 65(10 Spec No):1053-6.
  15. Kavehmanesh Z, Abolghasemi H. Maternal Ramadan fasting and neonatal health. J Perinatol. 2004; 24(12):748-50.
  16. Ozturk E, Balat O, Ugur MG, et al. Effect of Ramadan fasting on maternal oxidative stress during the second trimester: a preliminary study. J Obstet. Gynaecol Res. 2011; 37(7):729-33.
  17. Dikensoy E, Balat O, Cebesoy B, et al. Effect of fasting during Ramadan on fetal development and maternal health. J Obstet Gynecol Res. 2008; 34(4):494-8.
  18. Moradi M. The effect of Ramadan fasting on fetal growth and Doppler indices of pregnancy. J Res Med Sci. 2011; 16(2):165-9.

  19. m. maccario, g. aimaretti, g. corneli, c. gauna, s. grottoli, m. bidlingmaier, c. j. strasburger, c. dieguez, f. f. casanueva, and e. GHIGO. Short-term fasting abolishes the sex-related difference in GH and leptin secretion in humans. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 279: E411–E416.
  20. Polyxeni Koutkia, Sunita Schurgin, Jacqueline Berry, Jeff Breu, and B. S. Hang Lee, Anne Klibanski, and Steven Grinspoon. Reciprocal changes in endogenous ghrelin and growth hormone during fasting in healthy women. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 289: E814–E822.
  21. Helene nørrelund, jan frystyk, jens otto lunde jørgensen, niels møller, jens sandahl christiansen, hans ørskov, and allan flyvbjerg. The Effect of Growth Hormone on the Insulin-Like Growth Factor System during Fasting. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 88(7):3292–3298.