In the second part of the study, 515 patients (average age 64) who underwent coronary angiography between 2004 and 2006, completed a survey that included religious preference as well as several specific practices encouraged by the LDS church: not smoking; fasting (abstaining from food and drink for two consecutive meals); not drinking tea, coffee or alcohol; observing a weekly day of rest; attending worship services; and donating time, goods or money to charity.
Of this group, those who fasted were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with CAD (59 percent had 70 percent or greater blockage) than those who did not fast (67 percent had 70 percent or greater blockage).
Fasting was the strongest predictor of lower heart disease risk in the people we surveyed. About 8 percent of the people who fasted did not express an LDS religious preference, and they also had less coronary disease, Horne said.
Patients who did not drink tea were also less likely to be diagnosed with CAD, but once fasting was considered the finding wasnt significant, Horne noted.
Fasting was associated with lower odds of being diagnosed with CAD by 39 percent. When the researchers compared only those diagnosed with CAD with those who had minimal or no coronary disease (less than 10 percent blockage), the impact of fasting was even more striking, with the odds of a CAD diagnosis being lower by 45 percent.
While this doesnt prove that fasting is the cause of having healthier arteries, it does suggest that it is an important, and new, hypothesis.
Horne said this association between fasting and healthy arteries could be due to timing.
When you abstain from food for 24 hours or so, it reduces the constant exposure of the body to foods and glucose, he said. One of the major problems in the development of the metabolic syndr
|Contact: Karen Astle|
American Heart Association