San Diego, CA—Fasting from dawn to sunset for 30 days increased levels of proteins that help improve insulin resistance and protect against risks brought about from a high-fat, high-sugar diet, according to a new study presented at Digestive Disease Week 2019.

A press releaseon the study notes that it was based on the fasting practices of Ramadan, a religious practice for Muslims. This study included 14 healthy individuals who ingested no food or drink for around 15 hours a day throughout Ramadan. Researchers collected blood samples from the individuals before the fast, at the fourth week of fasting, and one week after fasting.

Resulting blood samples showed increased levels of tropomyosin (TPM) 1, 3, and 4, three proteins that play a role in maintaining healthy cells and cell repairs important to the body’s response to insulin. TPM3, specifically, the release notes, plays a key role in increasing insulin sensitivity.

Ayse Leyla Mindikoglu, M.D., MPH, lead author of the study and associate professor of medicine and surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, said in the release: “Feeding and fasting can significantly impact how the body makes and uses proteins that are critical to decreasing insulin resistance and maintaining a healthy body weight. Therefore, the timing of and duration between meals could be important factors to consider for people struggling with obesity-related conditions.”

Dr. Mindikoglu added that she and her fellow researchers are looking for individuals with metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to determine whether or not results are consistent with those of the healthy participants.