Fluctuations of serum fibroblast growth factor-21 levels in prolonged fasting in male adults


Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, vol.57, pp.144-150, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 57
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2023.06.024
  • Journal Name: Clinical Nutrition ESPEN
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.144-150
  • Keywords: Adaptation to fasting, Body composition, Fibroblast growth factor-21, Nutritional status, Prolonged fasting
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background & aims: Fibroblast Growth Factor-21 (FGF21) is a significant protein in the process of adaptation to fasting. The aim of this cross-sectional study to examine the effects of fasting on serum FGF21 levels, nutritional status, and anthropometric measurements of adult males during prolonged Ramadan fasting. Methods: This study included a total of 12 healthy individuals with normal body mass index, between the ages of 18–35. All individuals fasted for 16 h each day for 29 days of Ramadan. A questionnaire was administered to determine individuals’ general characteristics and nutritional habits. Anthropometric measurements, 24-h dietary recall, and physical activities were recorded, and blood samples were collected four times in the following periods: before Ramadan, 1st week of Ramadan, 3rd week of Ramadan and 4 weeks after Ramadan. Results: It was observed that serum FGF21 levels increased until the 1st week of fasting. Remarkably, FGF21 levels declined in most subjects during the late phase of fasting and continued to decrease until 4 weeks after fasting. There was a positive correlation between serum FGF21 levels and protein intake at the 3rd week of fasting. Individuals’ PAL and energy expenditure increased during fasting and continued to increase until 4 weeks after fasting. Energy intake, on the other hand, decreased from baseline until 4 weeks after fasting. Conclusion: FGF21 serum levels may show an increase during fasting, however in long-term fasting periods like Ramadan it may decrease back to the beginning levels, therefore, FGF21 serum levels must be evaluated carefully.