When people or animals have an infection, they often lose their appetite. Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular ways to lose weight. Its rise to fame these days-fasting has a long history-has led health experts to question its effectiveness and safety. There are many diets: 5:2, 16:8, and others.
Proponents of the diet claim that it brings all sorts of benefits, including weight loss, and significant reductions in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, was one of the most high-profile names in recent years who said he ate just one meal a day
Many critics have called this an extreme diet. However, scientists at the University of British Columbia in Canada recently conducted an experiment that suggests fasting may have another benefit.
The BBC Science focus magazine described the results as showing that fasting “may help protect against infection.” When people or animals get an infection, they often lose their appetite.
However, it is still unclear whether starvation can protect the host from infection or increase its susceptibility to infection.
To test this, the researchers fasted a group of mice for 48 hours and orally infected them with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, a bacterium responsible for a high proportion of gastroenteritis cases in humans.
The second group of mice received regular access to their normal diet before and during the infection. The researchers found that the starved mice had fewer signs of bacterial infection and very little damage to their intestinal tissue compared to the chow-fed mice.
But, when they repeated the experiment with starved mice infected with Salmonella intravenously, no protective effect was seen. The effect was also not seen when they repeated the experiment on sterile mice.
These mice were bred to lack a normal microbiome. It has been suggested that part of the effect was caused by changes in the animals’ gut microbiome. It seems that the microbiome catches the nutrients that are left over when food is limited.
According to the team, this prevents pathogens from acquiring the energy they need to infect the host.