Effects of Ramadan fasting on glucose homeostasis and adiponectin levels in healthy adult males

J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015 Jul 7;14:55. doi: 10.1186/s40200-015-0183-9. eCollection 2015.


Background: Adiponectin is a hormone secreted by adipocytes during the fasting phase of the fast-fed cycle. Ramadan fasting involves prolonged fasting for up to twelve hours and thus could lead to increased secretion of adiponectin by adipocytes. However, studies on the role of adiponectin on glucose and body weight homeostasis during Ramadan fasting is still a matter of controversy. Thus the specific aim of this study was to assess the effect of fasting during Ramadan on the adiponectin levels, body weight and glucose homeostasis in healthy male Malaysian subjects.

Methods: Twenty healthy male (19-23 years) Muslim subjects were followed up during the fasting month of Ramadan. Anthropometry and blood samples were taken one week before and during the fourth week of fasting. Plasma glucose, insulin and adiponectin were estimated and insulin sensitivity indices were estimated using the Homeostasis Model Assessment.

Results: Subjects experienced a significant decrease in body weight (2.4 %, p < 0.001) and body mass index (5.5 %, p < 0.01). There was also a significant decrease of 12.3 %, 52.8 % and 45.6 % of plasma glucose, insulin and adiponectin respectively (p < 0.01). The drop in adiponectin was positively correlated with the decrease in body weight (r = 0.45, p < 0.05). There was also a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in insulin resistance (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: These results indicate that Ramadan fasting in young healthy individuals has a positive impact on the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. It also shows that adiponectin levels dropped along with significant loss in weight. We feel caloric restriction during the Ramadan fasting is in itself sufficient to improve insulin sensitivity in healthy individuals.

Keywords: Adiponectin; Glucose homeostasis; Insulin sensitivity; Intermittent fasting; Malaysian; Ramadan.