"Feed a cold, starve a fever" may be sound advice for the immune system, according to scientists from the Netherlands. Researchers from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam measured immune cell production of IFN-gamma (a measure of virus-fighting prowess) and IL-4 (a marker of bacteria-killing power) during fasting and after a liquid meal containing as many calories as a Big Mac and fries.
Six hours after the meal, anti-virus IFN-gamma production rose 4.5-fold, the researchers reported. After overnight fasting, though, IFN-gamma production fell to 83% of its usual level. In contrast, food intake resulted in only a 42% increase in IL-4 production, the results indicated, whereas fasting brought nearly a fourfold rise in bacteria-fighting IL-4 levels.
The authors concluded that significant calorie intake favored the type of immune response needed to fight cold viruses, whereas fasting boosted the kind of immune response required for fever-causing bacterial infections.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.