(HealthDay News) — Routine periodic fasting is associated with a lower risk for hospitalization or mortality in patients with COVID-19, according to a study published online July 1 in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.
Benjamin D. Horne, Ph.D., from Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, and colleagues evaluated associations between periodic fasting and COVID-19 severity, as well as initial infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The analysis included 205 individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during March 2020 to February 2021 and 1,524 with any SARS-CoV-2 test result.
The researchers found that 35.6 percent of participants engaged in periodic fasting prior to COVID-19 diagnosis. The composite outcome (COVID-19 hospitalization or mortality) occurred in 11.0 percent of periodic fasters and 28.8 percent of nonfasters. Predictors of hospitalization and mortality were age, Hispanic ethnicity, prior myocardial infarction, prior transient ischemic attack, and renal failure. There was no significant association between fasting and COVID-19 diagnosis (14.3 percent in fasters and 13.0 percent in nonfasters).
“Fasting may be a complementary therapy to vaccination that could provide immune support and hyperinflammation control during and beyond the pandemic,” the authors write.