Intermittent-fasting diets may help prevent infections in those who practice them, a study published Thursday by the journal PLOS Pathogens found. Mice orally infected with a bacteria responsible for most stomach viruses that were put on a fast for 48 hours before exposure had fewer signs of bacterial infection compared with those that were fed, the researchers said.
The mice in the study were infected with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, which causes gastroenteritis, an infection humans experience as abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, researchers said. However, when fasted mice were infected with Salmonella intravenously, they did not have similar protection from illness, nor did those mice bred to lack a normal gut microbiome.
This indicates that any protective effect from fasting was due to changes in the gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria and other micro-organisms that live in the digestive tract and help the body process what it consumes, the researchers said.
Excerpted from UPI