A review of the role of intermittent fasting in the management of inflammatory bowel disease

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2023 May 31;16:17562848231171756.doi: 10.1177/17562848231171756. eCollection 2023.


Celeste M Lavallee 1Andreina Bruno 2Christopher Ma 1 3Maitreyi Raman 4 1 3 5


Author information

1Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

2Institute of Translational Pharmacology, National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Palermo, Italy.

3Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

4Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 6D33 TRW Building, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada.

5Snyder Institute of Chronic Diseases, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.


Intermittent fasting (IF) may be a weight management strategy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of this short narrative review is to summarize the evidence related to IF in the management of IBD. A literature search of English publications related to IF or time-restricted feeding and IBD, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis was conducted in PubMed and Google Scholar. Four publications on studies of IF in IBD were found: three randomized controlled trials in animal models of colitis and one prospective observational study in patients with IBD. The results from animal studies suggest either moderate or no changes in weight but improvements in colitis with IF. These improvements may be mediated through changes in the gut microbiome, decreased oxidative stress and increased colonic short-chain fatty acids. The study in humans was small and uncontrolled, and it did not assess changes in weight, making it difficult to draw conclusions around the effects of IF on changes in weight or disease course. Given that preclinical evidence suggests intermittent fasting may play a beneficial role in IBD, randomized controlled trials in large patients with active disease are warranted to determine whether intermittent fasting could be an integrated therapy for patients with IBD management, either for weight or for disease management. These studies should also explore the potential mechanisms of action related to intermittent fasting.

© Copyright 2013-2024 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.