Fasting from dawn to sunset may be an effective approach for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and other obesity-related conditions, according to a new study. The findings suggest that such fasting increases tropomyosin (TPM) 1, 3, and 4 levels, which can improve insulin sensitivity and protect against the effects of a high-fat diet.1
The pilot study, which was presented on May 21, 2019, at Digestive Disease Week in San Diego, California, was based on the fasting practices followed by Muslims during the month of Ramadan. The researchers enrolled 14 healthy participants who refrained from eating and drinking for approximately 15 hours—from dawn to sunset—for 30 days during the holiday observance.
Serum samples from the participants were taken before fasting, as well as during week 4 of the fast and 1 week after fasting ended.2
The serum samples collected 1 week after the fasting ended demonstrated a significant increase in TPM1, TPM3, and TPM4 gene protein products compared with the samples collected before the fasting began.
The study authors’ next step will be to determine whether the same relationship displayed in the healthy participants is present in individuals with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD.
“Based on our initial research, we believe that dawn-to-sunset fasting may provide a cost-effective intervention for those struggling with obesity-related conditions,” study lead author Ayse Leyla Mindikoglu, MD, MPH, an associate professor of medicine and surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, said in a press release.2