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 in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD, 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 1524 with any SARS-CoV-2 test result.

The researchers found that 35.6% of participants engaged in periodic fasting prior to COVID-19 diagnosis. The composite outcome (COVID-19 hospitalization or mortality) occurred in 11.0% of periodic fasters and 28.8% 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% in fasters and 13.0% in nonfasters).

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Fasting may be a complementary therapy to vaccination that could provide immune support and hyperinflammation control during and beyond the pandemic,” the authors write.

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