Objective: To study the efficacy of fasting therapy according to Buchinger on pain, state of health, and articular function in patients with osteoarthritis.
Patients and methods: Uncontrolled pilot study in which 30 patients (22 women, 8 men) with osteoarthritis (Kellgren stages I-III) of the hand (N = 10), hip (N = 8) and knee (N = 12) underwent ambulant fasting therapy according to Buchinger for 2 weeks with 3 pre-fast days, 8 fast days (300 kcal) and 4 re-feed days as well as follow-up 4 and 12 weeks afterwards. ASSESSMENT CRITERIA: Global intensity of pain (visual analogue scale, VAS); joint pain with activity, with start of walking, at rest (VAS); pressure pain threshold; articular function; health-related quality of life (SF-36 including Physical Component Score and Mental Component Score); Western Ontario and McMasters Universities Arthrose Index (WOMAC); painDETECT-questionnaire (Pfizer); analgesics; weight; body mass index (BMI); waist circumference; blood pressure; pulse and a variety of serological parameters.
Results: Pain, state of health, and articular function improved significantly; significant reduction in weight, BMI, and waist circumference during fasting and over the complete course of the study; analgesics could be reduced. No abnormalities in autonomous, metabolic, or blood parameters were observed.
Conclusion: Medically supervised fasting can have a positive impact on the symptoms of patients with moderate osteoarthritis. This finding must be consolidated by controlled studies that include higher numbers of patients.
Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.