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Can intermittent fasting tackle obesity-related inflammation?

Can intermittent fasting tackle obesity-related inflammation?

In a recent study published within the Frontiers in Nutrition journal, researchers examined the impact of intermittent fasting on inflammatory markers in individuals with obesity.

Chronic low-grade inflammation is linked to obesity. Obese individuals have significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) of their bloodstream, with a two to three-fold elevation in comparison with those that have a standard weight. White adipocytes produce inflammatory cytokines and chemoattractant molecules under metabolic stress, which activate and recruit immune cells. Dietary restriction for weight reduction is significant in reducing chronic inflammation in addition to pro-inflammatory gene expression. Intermittent fasting has change into a well-liked weight reduction regimen lately.

Study: Effect of intermittent fasting on circulating inflammatory markers in obesity: A review of human trials. Image Credit: Cozine / Shutterstock

Concerning the study

In the current study, researchers analyzed the consequences of alternate-day fasting (ADF) and time-restricted eating (TRE) on body weight and inflammatory markers, namely, CRP, TNF-alpha, and IL-6, in obese patients.

The study conducted a search on Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane Library using various keywords equivalent to fasting, intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating, alternate day fasting, weight reduction, inflammation, and inflammatory markers. The search aimed to seek out information on the consequences of intermittent fasting on inflammatory markers, obesity, and other related aspects.

The research articles were chosen based on specific inclusion criteria. The study required randomized trials with a control or comparator arm involving adult males and/or females with obese or obesity and measuring alterations in body weight and a related inflammatory marker. Six human trials of ADF and five trials of TRE were retrieved by the search.


Trials show that TRE results in a weight reduction of 1% to five% over a period of eight to 12 weeks compared to regulate groups. Fat mass was decreased by 3% to 9% within the trials in comparison with the control group. In each trial, the controls were able to keep up their lean mass. Only a limited variety of studies assessed visceral fat mass. Studies showed that a weight reduction of 4% to five% can result in a decrease in visceral fat mass by 11% to 13%. Nevertheless, a weight reduction of three% didn’t end in any changes in visceral fat mass. Moreover, 5% to 12% of body weight reduction was observed relative to baseline after eight to 24 weeks of ADF. The difference in body weight reduction between the intervention and calorie restriction (CR) groups was not statistically significant. ADF resulted in a decrease of 12% to 18% in fat mass, while lean mass was not affected.

After eight weeks of TRE, there was no change in high-sensitivity (hs)-CRP levels in each the early and late TRE groups in comparison with the control group, regardless that there was a 4% to five% reduction in weight. In one other study, resistance training was performed 3 times per week along with an eight-hour TRE. At the top of the eight-week study, hs-CRP levels were found to be just like the control group. One other study found no significant difference in CRP concentrations between those that underwent 12 weeks of eight-hour TRE and the control group, despite a 4% weight reduction. A 6% to 10% weight reduction resulted in a decrease in hs-CRP or CRP in just about all studies.

Individuals undergoing four-hour and six-hour TRE experienced a 3% decrease in body weight after eight weeks. Nevertheless, there was no change in TNF-alpha concentrations in comparison with the control group. In one other study, participants with obesity were assigned to follow either early six-hour or late six-hour TRE for a duration of eight weeks. They found that each the early and late TRE groups experienced a decrease in body weight, with the early TRE group showing a rather more significant reduction by 5%. Nevertheless, there was no change in TNF-alpha levels in comparison with the control group. One study discovered that each ADF and CR for twenty-four weeks resulted in a 7% reduction in body weight amongst obese or obese adults. Nevertheless, this level of weight reduction didn’t impact TNF-alpha levels.

Each four-hour and six-hour TRE didn’t end in any changes in circulating IL-6 in comparison with controls in men and girls with obesity. Each groups experienced minimal weight reduction, and there have been no observed alterations in visceral fat mass. Each ADF and CR groups achieved clinically remarkable weight reduction after 16 weeks, but there was no change in IL-6 levels. Two studies found that ADF and CR didn’t affect plasma IL-6 levels after 24 weeks, despite significant weight reduction and reduction in visceral fat mass.


The study findings showed that intermittent fasting doesn’t significantly impact vital pro-inflammatory cytokines within the bloodstream. While ADF was found to scale back plasma CRP levels after achieving a weight reduction of greater than 6%, no significant effect was observed on TNF-alpha or IL-6. No significant changes in inflammatory parameters were detected in relation to TRE, even with a 5% reduction in weight. Further research is required to verify the impact of intermittent fasting on inflammatory markers, as current data on this area is restricted.


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