Fasting: A Medical Miracle-II
Movement and activity during fasting
Movement and activity during the Islamic fasting are something very positive and enhance the competence of the liver and the muscles, rid the body of fats, and protect it from the risky increase of harmful ketone bodies. Moreover, muscular movement reduces the manufacture of protein in the liver and muscles, and the degree of reduction is proportionate to the power and duration of movement. This, in turn, saves a great amount of energy that is used in manufacturing protein. Each chain of amino acids needs the stored energy of five particles of triphosphate adenosine and guanine. Since each particle of these two compounds contains energy as much as 5-10 kilo-calories, and each particle of the simplest kind of protein contains no less than 100 amino acids, what then is the amount of energy that is saved from manufacturing different kinds of protein?
During movement, glucose and amino acids are used to produce energy for muscular cells, which, in turn, stimulates the eating center. There is a reverse relation between these substances in the blood and satiety on the one hand, and the stimulation of the eating center in the brain on the other hand. For this reason, muscular movement stimulates the eating center in the brain and rouses the appetite for food. Excessive muscular movement and activity also dissolve the glycogen into glucose in the absence of oxygen, resulting from the assimilation of sugar resultant from lactic acid which comes into the blood and transforms in turn into glycogen and glucose via the liver. In the muscles, there is no way glycogen could decompose into glucose in the state of stillness, as is the case in the liver, due to the absence of the phosphatase glucose enzyme. Movement, then, is an important factor in activating the decomposition of stored muscular glycogen into glucose fit for the tissues which depend on it in the brain, nervous system, blood cells and the kidney lobe.
Muscular movement could also be responsible for renewing the cells which line the intestines; and this improves digestion and the absorption of food substances. These cells need glutamine acid, which is produced in abundance by the muscles during movement, in order to manufacture nucleic acids.
The intestine-lining cells are renewed every 2-6 days. About 17 billion cells are lost every day. Thus, muscular movement could be a successful remedy for digestive disorders and ill-absorption.
Philosophy of fasting from a scientific perspective
The philosophy of fasting is based on leaving food and drink, and motivating catabolic mechanisms and vital chemical processes which are essential to metabolism. It is the daytime during which metabolism increases, especially the catabolic processes, because it is the time of activity and movement and the consumption of energy in doing the work necessary for living. Allah The Almighty has endowed the body with a biological clock in order to organize the hormones of the endocrine glands. This may be one of the mysteries for which Allah has made fasting during the day, the time of activity, movement and seeking provision on the earth, rather than the night, the time of stillness and rest.
Thus, we can say - with full confidence - that movement and activity during fasting provide the body with the glucose that is stored or manufactured in the liver, being the ideal fuel to provide the brain, red blood cells, bone marrow and the nervous system with the energy necessary to make them more competent to perform their functions. Movement also provides the human body with the energy to use in its vital processes. It reduces the formation of protein from amino acids, and activates the catabolic mechanisms during the day, consuming stored energies, and cleansing the stores from the toxins which may be solid or dissolved in the fatty or amino compounds.
The effect of sleeping during the day and staying awake at night
To sleep during the day and stay awake at night throughout Ramadan causes dysfunction of the biological clock; and this has a negative effect on metabolism in the cells.
A study to prove this dysfunction on cortisol was conducted by Dr. Muhammad Al-Hadhraami at the Faculty of Medicine, King ‘Abdul-‘Azeez University. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The subjects were 10 healthy people residing outside the hospital. The study revealed that four of them developed dysfunction of the daily cycle of cortisol during the last two weeks of Ramadan, with the reversal of the normal levels in the morning and at midnight. A fall in the morning level versus a rise in the night level was noted, opposite to the normal daily condition. This change was attributed by the researcher to the change of the behavioral habits of these fasting people who slept during the day and stayed awake at night. The cortisol returned to its normal condition 4 weeks after the end of the month of fasting, with the stability of the system of sleeping at night and activity during the day.
For this reason, the Messenger of Allah and his glorious Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, differentiated in works between the days of fasting and the other days, and sometimes even fought their battles while being in the state of fasting and worship. Would the Muslims then liberate themselves from the illusions of fear of work and movement while they are fasting? Would they get up for the sake of Allah, working, producing and striving, in imitation of their Prophet and righteous predecessors, may Allah be pleased with them?
To be continued …
Fasting: A Medical Miracle-I
Fasting: A Medical Miracle-III