HEALTH

Those who practice intermittent fasting less likely to have severe COVID complications, according to Intermountain study

Jul 6, 2022, 2:26 PM
Intermountain Healthcare...
The Intermountain Healthcare Kem C. Gardner Transformation Center in Murray is pictured on Friday, July 2, 2021. Photo credit: Spenser Heaps/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study from Intermountain Healthcare found that people who regularly practice intermittent fasting are less likely to experience severe COVID-19 complications.

“Intermittent fasting has already shown to lower inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. In this study, we’re finding additional benefits when it comes to battling an infection of COVID-19 in patients who have been fasting for decades,” said Dr. Benjamin Horne, PhD, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Healthcare and principal investigator of the study.

The study did not look at vaccination status. But Horne said researchers conducted the study before vaccines were widely available to the general public.

The study looked at people who have regularly practiced periodic fasting for more than 5 years. Most of the participants in the study fast for about 24 hours once a month.

Fasting is a practice common among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intermittent fasting has also gained popularity as a health practice.

Horne said regularly fasting didn’t protect people from contracting COVID-19. But it did protect from severe complications.

According to Horne, there are several reasons for this, including the fact that people who periodically fast have a reduced risk of things like diabetes and coronary disease.

“People who tend to have more severe outcomes with COVID-19 tend to have some of these comorbidities,” Horne said.

These results do not mean everyone should start fasting, according to Horne.

“The people that we were studying had been doing their fasting regime for a minimum of five years, the average was 40 years. We don’t want people to panic, we don’t want people to start doing extreme fasts and so forth,” Horne said.

Related: Intermountain ountHealthcare study finds “better” IV fluid treatment

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