Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Lipid Profile: A Narrative Review

Document Type : Review Article


Biochemistry and Nutrition Research Center, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Ramadan Fasting during the month of Ramadan is a religious obligation, practiced by millions of people around the world. Ramadan fasting is essentially a fundamental change in lifestyle for one lunar month. This type of fasting may have significant effects on lipid profile. Although there is no scientific consensus about the effects of fasting on cardiovascular risks such as changes in lipid profile, some studies have revealed the positive effects of Ramadan fasting (and similar religious fasting) on lipid profile and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. These effects may be related to factors such as different fasting durations (season-dependent), diets, and physical activities during Ramadan. An overall improvement in cardiovascular risk profile is noted during Ramadan fasting. Majority of studies have reported an increment in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level, decreased triglyceride level, and no change or decline in total cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Therefore, given the lack of comprehensive literature in this field, we reviewed some related studies in order to describe the impact of Ramadan fasting on lipid profile.
Conclusion: It can be inferred that Ramadan fasting alters lipid profile by improving HDL-cholesterol and reducing LDL-cholesterol in some cases. However, changes in triglyceride and total cholesterol during Ramadan are not uniform or similar. Moreover, Ramadan fasting is not associated with any changes in the prevalence of CVD or frequency of hospitalization.


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