Blood Pressure Changes in 1610 Subjects With and Without Antihypertensive Medication During Long-Term Fasting

J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Dec;9(23):e018649. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.018649. Epub 2020 Nov 23.


Background We investigated daily blood pressure (BP) changes during fasting periods ranging from 4 to 41 (10.0±3.8) days in a cohort of 1610 subjects, including 920 normotensive, 313 hypertensive nonmedicated, and 377 hypertensive medicated individuals. Methods and Results Subjects underwent a multidisciplinary fasting program with a daily intake of ≈250 kcal. Weight and stress scores decreased during fasting, and the well-being index increased, documenting a good tolerability. BP mean values decreased from 126.2±18.6/81.4±11.0 to 119.7±15.9/77.6±9.8 mm Hg (mean change, -6.5/3.8 mm Hg). BP changes were larger for hypertensive nonmedicated subjects (>140/90 mm Hg) and reduced by 16.7/8.8 mm Hg. This reduction reached 24.7/13.1 mm Hg for hypertensive nonmedicated subjects (n=76) with the highest BP (>160/100 mm Hg). In the normotensive group, BP decreased moderately by 3.0/1.9 mm Hg. Interestingly, we documented an increase of 6.3/2.2 mm Hg in a subgroup of 69 female subjects with BP <100/60 mm Hg. In the hypertensive medicated group, although BP decreased from 134.6/86.0 to 127.3/81.3 mm Hg, medication was stopped in 23.6% of the subjects, whereas dosage was reduced in 43.5% and remained unchanged in 19.4%. The decrease in BP was larger in subjects fasting longer. Baseline metabolic parameters, such as body mass index and glucose levels, as well as age, can be used to predict the amplitude of the BP decrease during fasting with a machine learning model. Conclusions Long-term fasting tends to decrease BP in subjects with elevated BP values. This effect persisted during the 4 days of stepwise food reintroduction, even when subjects stopped their antihypertensive medication. Registration URL:; Unique identifier: DRKS00010111.

Keywords: Buchinger fasting; hypertension; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Loss


  • Antihypertensive Agents

Associated data

  • DRKS/DRKS00010111