Ramadan intermittent fasting and immunity: An important topic in the era of COVID-19

Ann Thorac Med. Jul-Sep 2020;15(3):125-133. doi: 10.4103/atm.ATM_151_20. Epub 2020 Jun 18.


WITH the growing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection, a parallel growing interest arose concerning potential preventive and adjunct therapies, dietary and lifestyle modifications, and remedies that may boost the immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Furthermore, as Ramadan intermittent religious fasting that is practiced by about one and a half billion Muslims throughout the globe is coincide this year with COVID-19 pandemic, a growing debate rose concerning the expected impact of fasting during Ramadan month and the associated dietary and lifestyle behaviors on the body's immunity against the pandemic infection. Published literature was searched to find out how intermittent fasting (IF) and its model of Ramadan affect the various aspects related to the body's immunity against microbial infections. IF was found to impact immunity by changing different related elements, including oxidative stress and inflammation, metabolism, body weight, and body composition. Dietary and lifestyle modifications during Ramadan month and their impact on immunity, such as water intake and hydration status, sleep duration and timing, caloric intake and mealtime, and social and spirtual activities, were addressed. Further research is warranted to figure out how IF during ramadan affects immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; diurnal fasting; infection; inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review