Christian Orthodox fasting in practice: A comparative evaluation between Greek Orthodox general population fasters and Athonian monks.
Nutrition. 2018 Jul 24;59:69-76. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2018.07.003
Karras SN1, Koufakis T2, Petróczi A3, Folkerts D4, Kypraiou M2, Mulrooney H3, Naughton DP3, Persynaki A5, Zebekakis P2, Skoutas D6, Kotsa K2.
Orthodox monks get about the same amount of Vitamin D in their food as the Greek Orthodox general population
But monks get far less vitamin D from the sun. Monks = 9 ng, Greek Orthodox = 28 ng
- Concealing clothing resulted in only 8 ng vitamin D – Feb 2011
- Ultra-orthodox Jews also suffer from 10 ng vitamin D levels – Nov 2010
- People who get little noon-day sun must supplement with Vitamin D – systematic review June 2017
- The only supplement NASA gives crews is vitamin D - Sept 2015
- Shiftworkers and Indoor Workers have lower Vitamin D levels – review of 10 studies Sept 2018
- Excessive clothes and being indoors results in very low vitamin D levels – Nov 2011
Christian Orthodox fasting (COF), a periodical vegetarian subset of the Mediterranean diet, has been proven to exert beneficial effects on human health. Athonian fasting is a pescetarian COF variation, where red meat is strictly restricted throughout the year. Previous studies have examined the COF nutritional synthesis and health effects in general population fasters (GF) and Athonian monks (AM), separately. The aim of this study is to comparatively evaluate the characteristics and effects of this nutritional advocacy between the two populations.
The study included 43 male GFs (20-45 y of age) and 57 age-matched male AMs following COF. Dietary intake data were collected in both groups during a restrictive (RD) and a nonrestrictive (NRD) day. Nutritional, cardiometabolic, and anthropometric parameters were compared between the two cohorts.
AM presented lower daily total caloric intake for both RD (1362.42 ± 84.52 versus 1575.47 ± 285.96 kcal, P < 0.001) and NRD (1571.55 ± 81.07 versus 2137.80 ± 470.84 kcal, P < 0.001) than GF.They also demonstrated lower body mass index (23.77 ± 3.91 versus 28.92 ± 4.50 kg/m2, P <0.001), body fat mass (14.57 ± 8.98 versus 24.61 ± 11.18 kg, P = 0.001), and homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance values (0.98 ± 0.72 versus 2.67 ± 2.19 mmol/L, P < .001) than GF. Secondary hyperparathyroidism (parathyroid hormone concentrations: 116.08 ± 49.74 pg/mL), as a result of profound hypovitaminosis D [25(OH)D: 9.27 ± 5.81 ng/mL], was evident in the AM group.
The results of the present study highlight the unique characteristics of Athonian fasting and its value as a health-promoting diet. The effects of limitation of specific vitamins and minerals during fasting warrants further investigation.