Researchers: Intermittent fasting provides protection against severe COVID-19

Jul 6, 2022, 5:10 PM | Updated: 9:12 pm

MURRAY, UtahRecent research about the benefits of intermittent fasting offers a lot promise, especially for heart health. But can intermittent fasting help protect people from COVID-19?

Doctors at Intermountain Healthcare have researched the health benefits of intermittent fasting for nearly a decade. Their latest discovery: intermittent fasting helps protect against severe COVID, but it is not a replacement for vaccination.

“The people that we were studying had been doing their fasting regimen for a minimum of five years,” said Dr. Benjamin Horne, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Healthcare.

For nearly a decade, Horne has studied water-only fasting, typically among individuals who fast for 24-hour periods each week or each month. When COVID-19 emerged, Horne wanted to find out if fasting could help fight COVID.

“So, we started thinking and doing some in-depth research of what effect might fasting have on any mechanisms related to inflammation and other mechanisms that are active in controlling or reducing the severity of COVID-19,” Horne said.

Intermittent fasting has previously shown to help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, among other benefits. Now, Intermountain researchers have discovered that people who regularly fast are less likely to experience severe complications and death from COVID-19.

The study, published this week in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, showed that COVID-19 patients who practiced regular water-only intermittent fasting had lower risk of hospitalization or dying due to the virus than patients who did not.

“It was not protecting you from being diagnosed with COVID, but there was protection if you did contract COVID-19 that there was a protection from developing severe disease.”

So, intermittent fasting does not protect a person from catching COVID, but it can reduce the severity.

Their data comes from a population in the Intermountain West that they’ve studied since 2013. The majority, but not all, fast for religious purposes, and have been intermittently fasting for more than five years. The average in the group is 40 years of fasting.

“We found that they had a lower severity, they were less likely to be hospitalized and less likely to die if they had been following this periodic fasting regimen,” Horne said.

So, starting to fast after you’ve been diagnosed with COVID won’t necessarily provide any benefit. But if you’ve been on a fasting regimen, you likely have better protection against severe illness and death.

KSL 5 TV Live


FILE - Former state Rep. Michael DiMassa, left, arrives at U.S. District Court in Hartford, Conn., ...

Dave Collins

Former Connecticut lawmaker gets 27 months in prison for stealing coronavirus aid

A former Connecticut state representative has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for stealing more than $1.2 million from the city of West Haven.

6 days ago

Jennifer Anderton and Lisa Whittaker reunion...

Ashley Moser

Utah coma patient reunites with nurse who had ‘angel’s voice’

In January 2020, Jennifer Anderton was rushed to Lakeview Hospital’s Emergency Room with COVID-19 symptoms, unaware that her journey would turn into a two-week stay. 

18 days ago

Some lots of SD Biosensor, Inc. Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Tests are being recalled. (SD Biosensor, Inc...

Paradise Afshar and Nadia Kounang

Some Pilot COVID-19 At Home Tests recalled by FDA over bacteria risk

SD Biosensor is recalling all impacted tests, which were distributed by Roche Diagnostics to various retailers to stop the spread of Covid-19 infections.

1 month ago

FILE - Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies...

Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer

CDC’s Rochelle Walensky resigns, citing pandemic transition

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, submitted her resignation Friday, saying the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic was a good time to make a transition.

1 month ago

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks to jour...

Maria Cheng and Jamey Keaten

WHO downgrades COVID pandemic, says it’s no longer emergency

The World Health Organization says that COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency.

1 month ago

FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...

Zeke Miller, AP White House Correspondent

US to lift most federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates next week

The Biden administration will end the last remaining federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements next week when the national public health emergency for the coronavirus ends.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Researchers: Intermittent fasting provides protection against severe COVID-19