The question researchers are trying to answer: Can weekly fasting reduce a person's risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease?
Researchers are now seeking participants for the study, people who have pre-diabetes, or those with diabetes who control the disease by diet alone.
New research suggests that routine periodic water-only fasting could reduce the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease by reducing metabolic problems. Researchers want to build on that understanding. "Based on previous studies, our working hypothesis is that the potential benefit that we'll see from fasting is that it may renew the metabolism, or re-sensitize the body to insulin," said Benjamin Horne, PhD, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center.
Participants in the five-week long study will engage in a 24-hour water-only fast, consuming nothing more than water and appropriate medications, six times over a five-week period. They will fast once at the beginning of the study and then a fast once per week at the end of each of the remaining five weeks.
Researchers will measure and record changes in their weight, blood pressure, and biomarkers of metabolic, cardiovascular, and general health over the course of the study to see how fasting affects the different variables.
"We expect people that are likely to being diagnosed with diabetes would benefit most by this study," said Dr. Horne. "We're looking for people who are willing to try fasting to see if it is something that will benefit their health and the health of others like them, that are on the verge of having diabetes."
People eligible to participate must also meet the following conditions:
-Are between 30 and 69 years old.
-Have at least three of the following metabolic challenges: moderate to high blood sugar, high blood pressure, obesity, high triglycerides, and low "good" HDL cholesterol.
-Don't suffer from coronary disease, heart attack, stroke, clots, or heart failure.
-Aren't taking medications to control diabetes.
To participate or get more details about the study, please call the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in at 801-507-4769.