Fasting has adverse impact on the body
By Lisa Lytle
The Orange County Register
For millions of people of various religions, fasting retains its centuries-old meaning: the emptying of the vessel -- the human body -- so that something else may fill the space.
Faithful practitioners of fasting say they experience a feeling of enlightenment, a sense of closeness to the deity upon which they place their faith.
Yet fasting also has become a weight-loss fad. It is shamelessly hawked over the Internet and in self-help books as a way to physiologically cleanse or "remove toxins from the body."
And that's what concerns physicians. Detoxification benefits remain unproven while, in fact, the opposite can happen, says Dr. C. Wayne Callaway, a specialist in endocrinology, metabolism and clinical nutrition at George Washington University Medical School.
Ketosis sets in when you fast for more than 18 hours, says Dr. William Daughaday, clinical professor specializing in endocrinology and metabolism at the University of California, Irvine. "You're burning so much fat that your body can't handle effects of byproducts of fat oxidation."
Fasting can exacerbate conditions, including Refsum's disease and Reye's syndrome, he said. Neurologic problems can result.
"The longer the fast, the greater the risk of gall bladder disease," Callaway says. "The risk goes up to about 67 percent. And if you've lost at least 22 pounds, the risk doubles."
When you fast, your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fats decrease, but these are transient effects, Callaway says. "They go up as soon as you eat."
Ditto for weight. Sure, a long period of fasting can make you lose about half a pound a day -- and lessen your appetite, but you gain them back once you eat, Daughaday says. Worse, you also lose bone and muscle.
But doctors don't dispute spiritual benefits. "The spiritual side is quite valid," Callaway says. "There are biochemical changes that occur in the body during fasting and that may be part of the spiritual aspect. For example, in fasting, one would have a greater propensity to have visions [halucinations]."
NO KIDDING !!! Depriving your brain of glucose and vital nutrients obviously would make your brain go crazy and start halucinating !!! These are not "visions", they are halucinations caused by a STARVING BRAIN !!!
OBJECTIVES: We hypothesized that people in Morocco are more irritable during the month of Ramadan than during the rest of the year. Our objectives were to measure irritability in fasting Muslims during the month of Ramadan, to describe its various modes of expression, and to examine risk factors for this irritability. METHODS AND SUBJECTS: We studied 100 healthy volunteers during the month of Ramadan for two successive years (1994 and 1995). All subjects were male (mean age, 32+/-5.8 years), and 51% of them were smokers. Irritability was assessed over a 6-week period (before, four times during, and after the end of Ramadan). We assessed both subjective (visual analog scale) and objective irritability. We also recorded the consumption of psychostimulants, duration of sleep, and anxiety level as measured by the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. RESULTS: Irritability was significantly higher in smokers than in nonsmokers before the beginning of Ramadan. It was higher in both groups during the Ramadan month. Irritability increased continuously during Ramadan and reached its peak at the end of the month. Consumption of psychostimulants (coffee and tea) and anxiety level followed the same pattern. Smokers and nonsmokers had a similar pattern of irritability over time, but irritability increased more in smokers than in nonsmokers.
The rule of Ramadan (1 month of food and water intakes restricted to night hours) is followed by the majority of the Moslem fraction of the human population, but the possible consequences of this long-lasting modification of food intake schedule on public health have not yet been extensively documented. Therefore, a group of healthy control subjects and a group of healed duodenal ulcer patients were studied before (controls), during (both groups), and after (both groups) the month of Ramadan. The time-restricted food and water intakes were associated with variations of gastric pH, plasma gastrin, insulin, glucose, and calcium documented on a circadian basis. All of the studied biological variables, except insulin, underwent changes in their 24-h mean concentration (e.g. decrease in gastric pH, increase in plasma gastrin), some of which were still present 1 month after the end of Ramadan. The circadian patterns of all the studied variables were altered during the month of Ramadan. Some differences between the group of healthy control subjects and the group of healed duodenal ulcer patients may suggest a greater susceptibility of the latter to the modifications of feeding and sleeping schedule, which could possibly be a risk factor for the disease.
During Ramadan, Moslems are required strictly to avoid fluids and nourishment from dawn to sunset. Heat stress during such abstinence represents a substantial health hazard. In the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) where numerous Moslems, particularly of Turkish origin, perform heat work and other heavy labour, we observed moderate to severe health disturbances in such labourers during Ramadan, e.g.: tachycardia, severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and circulatory collapse. The severe dehydration of these workers was demonstrated by substantial increases in their hematocrit, serum protein, urea, creatinine, uric acid and electrolyte imbalance. Because of the evidence of the substantial health hazard to Islamic workers in such situations, we have strongly urged employers to refrain from assigning Islamic workers to heat work or heavy daytime work during Ramadan; we have therefore limited systematic studies of health problems during Ramadan to persons performing only moderate work. Even under these conditions signs of dehydration were found in the 32 labourers monitored. Some of these labourers also had to interrupt their observance of Ramadan due to health problems, e.g.: acute gout due to serum uric acid increase, or circulatory insufficiency. In light of the observed potentially harmful pathophysiological effects, the danger of dehydration of Islamic workers due to heat work during Ramadan should be taken very seriously.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
This study was conducted in five provinces and food consumption, physical activity types and duration for 3 consecutive days were recorded in the questionnaire together with some general characteristics of 750 (320 males, 430 females) adults who were on fast during Ramadan at time of interview. One hundred and eighty-seven subjects had some type of health problems, among whom 60.4% were using drugs, and 31.6% were on diets; however, during Ramadan 9.7 and 18.8% of the subjects dropped taking drugs and did not regularly keep on diets, respectively. During the fasting time, from dawn to sunset, 34.3% of the subjects developed some behavioural disturbances, such as feeling tired and being unwilling to work. Although the meal consumed at dawn consisted of foods that were usually eaten at breakfast, the meal consumed at sunset consisted of a great variety of foods. Calcium intake was the most insufficiently consumed nutrient. It was observed that the daily energy intakes were less than the expenditures both in males and females. Further research should be done on the effects of fasting in health and disease.
Daytime alertness, mood, psychomotor performances, and oral temperature during Rramadan intermittent fasting. Roky R, Iraki L, HajKhlifa R, Lakhdar Ghazal N, Hakkou F Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2000 44:101-7
During the month of Ramadan, Moslems abstain from drinking and eating daily between sunrise and sunset. This change of meals schedule is accompanied with changes in sleep habit, which may affect diurnal alertness. This study examined the effect of Ramadan intermittent fasting on the diurnal alertness and oral temperature in 10 healthy young subjects. The cognitive task battery including movement reaction time (MRT), critical flicker fusion (CFF) and visual analogue scale, was administered at 6 different times of the day: 09.00, 11.00, 13.00, 16.00, 20.00 and 23.00 h on the 6th, 15th, and 28th days of Ramadan. The baseline day was scheduled one week before Ramadan, and the recovery day 18 days after this month. Oral temperature was measured prior to each test session and at 00.00 h. During Ramadan oral temperature decreased at 09.00, 11.00, 13.00, 16.00 and 20.00 h and increased at 23.00 and 00.00 h. Subjective alertness decreased at 09.00 and 16.00 h and increased at 23.00 h. Mood decreased at 16.00 h. MRT was increased at the beginning of Ramadan (R6) and CFF was not changed. These results showed that daytime oral temperature, subjective alertness and mood were decreased during Ramadan intermittent fasting.
Epidemiological study: chronotype and daytime sleepiness before and during Ramadan.
Taoudi Benchekroun M, Roky R, Toufiq J, Benaji B, Hakkou F
Few epidemiological data have been reported on the relation between Ramadan fasting, life habits (meal frequency, sleep habits) and daytime sleepiness during Ramadan. This paper presents the results of a detailed study of the chronotype and daytime sleepiness before and during Ramadan. It was conducted on a sample of 264 subjects aged between 20 and 30 years. Results have revealed a significant decrease in the meal frequency during Ramadan compared with the control period. Before Ramadan, the majority of subjects woke up between 6 and 7 a.m. and went to sleep between 10 and 11 p.m. however, during Ramadan fasting, they woke up after 8 a.m. and preferred to go to sleep later (after midnight). Chronotype as evaluated by the Horne and Ostberg scale was changed significantly during Ramadan: an increase of the evening type and a decrease in the morning type of subjects was observed. Daytime sleepiness as evaluated by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale was significantly increased.
"tired and being unwilling to work"
"subjective alertness and mood were decreased"
"Daytime sleepiness was significantly increased"
you can't have a productive and progressive country when the whole population turns into a bunch of lazy, irratable, moody bums for a whole month out of the year !