Effects of lenten fasting on body composition and biochemical parameters

Abdou Khadir Sow, Fatou Diallo Agne, Arnaud Jean Florent Tiendrébéogo, Mor Diaw, Valentin Ouédraogo, Maimouna Toure, Mbaye Sene, Salimata Diagne Houndjo, Aissatou Seck, Arame Mbengue, Fatou Bintou Sar, Abdoulaye Samb, Stéphane Delliaux, Abdoulaye Ba


Background: The catholic lenten fasting is the period of 40 days of fasting that precedes Easter. It is one of religious fasting less documented in the scientific literature. Thus the aim of our study was to evaluate the evolution of anthropometric and body composition and biochemical profile during Catholic lenten fasting.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study, which took place during the period between one week before at the end of lenten fasting. Eleven fasters (4 women and 7 men), aged between 18 and 59 years were included in present study. Anthropometric, body composition parameters and biochemical profile were evaluated one week before, at 15th day and at the end of Lenten fasting.

Results: Weight, body mass index (BMI) and visceral fat decreased significantly at the end of Lenten fasting. Lipid profile changed significantly during this fasting period. Total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein – cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides decreased significantly with fasting. High density lipoprotein – cholesterol (HDL-C) was remained unchanged during this fasting period while TC/HDL ratio was significantly decreased at the end of Lent.

Conclusions: Present study showed that the fasting of Lent seems to have beneficial effects on reducing cardiovascular risk factors. Further studies are required to better understand the physiological mechanisms involved for a therapeutic use.


Biological parameters, Body composition, Easter, Lenten fasting

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