Avoid fasting: Doc's advice to high-risk Covid candidates

New Delhi, October 19

As the festive season begins with the coronavirus pandemic still lingering, doctors have advised people to avoid fasting during Navratri or Karwa Chauth and make necessary changes to safeguard their health, especially if they are recovering from a Covid infection or belong to the high-risk group.

Doctors believe that fasting could reduce the innate defence mechanism, as well as adaptive immune responses of the body.

“People who are Covid positive or are recovering from Covid infection should avoid fasting during Navratri or Karwa Chauth. Those who are considered highly susceptible to the virus — elderly, people with diabetes, hypertension or other comorbidities, and pregnant and lactating women — should in no way fast during the pandemic,” said Col Vijay Dutta, senior consultant, internal and respiratory medicine at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.

“Intermittent fasting shifts the primary energy source of the body from glucose to free fatty acid (FFA) which helps burn fat. However, fasting may reduce the body’s innate defence mechanisms as well as adaptive immune responses as immune cells which rely on glucose to sustain their function and proliferation. Reduced glucose availability and hypoinsulinemia during fasting may have negative effects on immune mechanisms,” he explained.

Hypoinsulinemia is a condition in which the body doesn’t respond well to the effects of insulin. The pancreas tries to compensate by making more insulin. Insulin resistance may eventually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

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