Ramadan fasting and its impact on the immune system

Mohammad Adawi, Abdulla Watad, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi, Khadija Aazza, Hicham Aazza, Stav Brown, Kassem Sharif, Khaled Ghanayem, Farah Raymond, Hussein Mahagna, Naim Mahroum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is observed by Muslims as a month of fasting. The observance of Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. During daylight hours, muslins abstain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, smoking and engaging in any sexual activity. All Muslim adults are expected to fast, nevertheless certain subgroups are exempted including the sick, frail and pregnant women among others. Although Ramadan is observed by approximately 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, guidelines and protocols that address fasting concerns of patients are lacking. Moreover, the influence of Ramadan fasting on immune system regulation remains elusive. In this paper, we performed an extensive systematic literature review of ISI Web of Science (WoS), Scopus, MEDLINE/PubMed, Google Scholar, DOAJ, EbscoHOST, Scirus, Science Direct, the Cochrane Library and ProQuestusing using the following key words: "fasting," "Ramadan," "Islam," and "immunity." Conclusions drawn from these findings included: 1- Ramadan fasting has been shown to only mildly influence the immune system and the alterations are transient and return to basal pre-Ramadan status. 2- Ramadan fasting during the second trimester of pregnancy was shown to be safe and did not result in negative fetal outcomes, or maternal oxidative status alterations. 3- Ramadan fasting was documented to improve glycemic control and lipid profile, and had positive effects on patients suffering from metabolic disorders. 4- In cardiac patients, Ramadan fasting can have beneficial effects including lipid profile improvement and alleviation of oxidative stress. 5- Fasting athletes who maintain intensive training schedule show decreased performance due to high demand.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Sociology Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781536128604
ISBN (Print)9781536128598
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Antibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Fasting
  • Immune system
  • Ramadan


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