Health News: Breakthrough in Diet as New Study Suggests “Fasting May Help With Infection”
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular ways to lose weight. Its rise to stardom these days – fasting has a long history – has made health experts question its effectiveness and safety. There are a myriad of fasting diets: 5: 2, 16: 8, Eat, Stop, Eat.
Proponents of the diet claim that it provides all kinds of benefits, including weight loss, significant drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was one of the hottest names in recent years to announce that he only ate one meal a day.
Many critics have called it an extreme diet.
Yet scientists at the University of British Columbia in Canada recently conducted an experiment that suggests fasting may have another feather to add to its hat.
BBC Science Focus magazine described the results as showing that fasting “may help protect against infection”.
When humans or animals develop an infection, they often lose their appetite.
However, until now, it has remained unclear whether fasting could protect a host from infection or increase its susceptibility to it.
To test this, the researchers fasted a group of mice for 48 hours and infected them orally with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, a bacterium responsible for a high proportion of gastroenteritis cases in humans.
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These were mice raised without a normal microbiome.
He suggested that part of the effect was due to changes in the animals’ gut microbiomes.
The microbiome appears to sequester nutrients that are left over when food is limited.
This prevents pathogens from acquiring the energy they need to infect the host, according to the team.
Dr Bruce Vallance, co-author of the study, said: “We have seen an overall change in the makeup of the microbiome, which means an increase in some bacteria and a decrease in other bacteria.
“However, we did not show in our study which bacteria are specifically responsible for the protective effect, just that the microbiome as a whole mediates most of the protective effect of fasting, because mice lacking the microbiome – mice germ-free – not as protected from infection. “
The team now plans to study the effect of fasting on the microbiome over time to establish whether the absence or presence of specific bacteria is responsible for the protective effect.
Fasting is not a new practice.
It has been practiced throughout history for religious, cultural and spiritual reasons.
But as a way of eating it goes back much further.
Our ancestors had periods of forced fasting.
Hunter-gatherers only had food when they killed or picked it up, so fasting was part of their daily reality.
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