Feed Or Starve A Sickness? It Depends On The Infection...

in steemstem •  2 years ago  (edited)

During a lifetime, we get various infections of several organs.The upper respiratory tract is the top infected part and viral infections are the most common type of infections.Bacterial infections are generally more severe than viral infections, the mortality rate has changed a lot with antibiotics.For instance, plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis which caused the Black Death in the 14th century resulted in greater than 100 million dead about half the population of Europe.Yersinia is very vulnerable to actual antibiotics and can be eliminated with almost any type.Measles, a well known viral disease, killed 2.6 million people in 1980.

So as you can see without a good care, infections are the enemy number one to human life, thus with good care comes good regimen so let's get to it...

The Experiment:

The study was published on 7 September 2016 in Cell Press(1).Researchers study the effects of fasting metabolism on tissue tolerance in bacterial and viral inflammation.

They infected some mice with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes which commonly causes food poisoning, and others with the influenza virus. 

Mice with bacterial infections that were fed died and the ones that didn't eat survived, while those with viral infections who were fed lived and who starved died.

The essential nutrient was glucose and animals who received food were force fed.


Glucose deprivation is protective in bacterial infections and reduces tissue damage, while it can be lethal in viral infection.

Ketone bodies are fat molecules used for energy purposes released generally after a long period of fasting.In this case, the study has concluded that a reduced Ketogenic state in bacterial inflammation results in mortality but not in viral inflammation.


We now know for sure that fasting has a direct link with recovery but we don't know exactly why.What we know for sure is that each type infection has its own immune response, the humoral response to bacterial infections and cell-mediated generally in viral infections.

A study published in 2002, compared the different immune responses with food intake and found that calorie ingestion favors cell-mediated immunity mainly by increasing IFN-? production, whereas starvation drives the immune system toward a humoral immune response by increasing the interleukin 4, a major cytokine in humoral responses(2).

Another theory suggests that as bacteria consume glucose as a main source of energy, a reduced glucose intake can alter their growth, scientists think that Ketosis also plays a major role by increasing humoral response, therefore, accelerating the healing process.

Caloric intake affects indeed the immune response depending on infection type,so maybe after all the myth 'Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever' is true after all.

References :  





Picture Credit: 

Thumbnail - pxhere.com

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Nice information....am looking at it from my addiction perspective...

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