Infections’ varying reactions to foods

Many organisms experience a lack of appetite or avoid certain foods when they catch a virus or acquire harmful bacteria. A study led by Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., the David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology, published Sept. 8 in Cell, suggests that nutrition has different effects on viral versus bacterial infections.

“When animals are infected, they stop eating and switch to a fasting metabolic mode,” Medzhitov says. “The question was whether fasting metabolism is protective or detrimental.”

Fasting proved helpful for recovery from fevers brought on by, for example, bacterial sepsis. However, eating food, which provides glucose, aided the mice’s ability to recuperate from a viral infection. The findings suggest that various diet preferences may correlate with different types of infections. Still, the authors note, the old adage, “Starve a fever, feed a cold,” might not apply because the effect likely depends on specific infections.

The findings of this study may inform clinicians’ decisions on nutrition for intensive care patients who suffer from acute infections.


Other Advances


Copycat proteins may trigger type 1 diabetes

Despite the fact that it appears in childhood and has several genetic risk factors, autoimmune type...

Read more...


Durable immune cells may protect for years

Yale researchers have discovered a population of cells that may help explain how the human immune...

Read more...


New type 2 diabetes protein target named

Insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes is linked to defects in the insulin receptor in numerous...

Read more...