Interplay between oxidative damage, the redox status, and metabolic biomarkers during long-term fasting

Food Chem Toxicol. 2020 Nov:145:111701. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2020.111701. Epub 2020 Aug 25.


Obesity and its related metabolic disorders, as well as infectious diseases like covid-19, are important health risks nowadays. It was recently documented that long-term fasting improves metabolic health and enhanced the total antioxidant capacity. The present study investigated the influence of a 10-day fasting on markers of the redox status in 109 subjects. Reducing power, 2,2'-Azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt radical cation(ABTS) radical scavenging capacity, and hydroxyl radical scavenging capacity increased significantly, and indicated an increase of circulating antioxidant levels. No differences were detected in superoxide scavenging capacity, protein carbonyls, and superoxide dismutase when measured at baseline and after 10 days of fasting. These findings were concomitant to a decrease in blood glucose, insulin, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides as well as an increase in total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio. In addition, the well-being index as well as the subjective energy levels increased, documenting a good tolerability. There was an interplay between redox and metabolic parameters since lipid peroxidation baseline levels (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances [TBARS]) affected the ability of long-term fasting to normalize lipid levels. A machine learning model showed that a combination of antioxidant parameters measured at baseline predicted the efficiency of the fasting regimen to decrease LDL levels. In conclusion, it was demonstrated that long-term fasting enhanced the endogenous production of antioxidant molecules, that act protectively against free radicals, and in parallel improved the metabolic health status. Our results suggest that the outcome of long-term fasting strategies could be depending on the baseline values of the antioxidative and metabolic status of subjects.

Keywords: Antioxidant capacity; Dysmetabolism; Oxidative stress; Weight loss.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Machine Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Free Radical Scavengers