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Ramadan fasting model exerts hepatoprotective, anti-obesity, and anti-hyperlipidemic effects in an experimentally-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver in rats.

BACKGROUND: The epidemic of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its metabolic effects present a serious public health concern. We hypothesized that the Ramadan fasting model (RFM), which involves fasting from dawn to dusk for a month, could provide potential therapeutic benefits and mitigate NAFLD. Accordingly, we aimed to validate this hypothesis using obese male rats.

METHODS: Rats were split into two groups (n = 24 per group), and they were given either a standard (S) or high-fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks. During the last four weeks of the study period, both S- and HFD-fed rats were subdivided into eight groups to assess the effect of RFM with/without training (T) or glucose administration (G) on the lipid profile, liver enzymes, and liver structure (n = 6/group).

RESULTS: The HFD+RFM group exhibited a significantly lower final body weight than that in the HFDC group. Serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels were significantly lower in the HFD+RFM, HFD+RFM+T, and HFD+RFM+G groups than those in the HFDC group. Compared with the HFDC group, all groups had improved serum high-density lipoprotein levels. Furthermore, HFD groups subjected to RFM had reduced serum levels of aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase compared with those of the HFD-fed group. Moreover, the liver histology improved in rats subjected to RFM compared with that of HFD-fed rats, which exhibited macro- and micro-fat droplet accumulation.

CONCLUSION: RFM can induce positive metabolic changes and improve alterations associated with NAFLD, including weight gain, lipid profile, liver enzymes, and hepatic steatosis.

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