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Feed a cold, feed a fever: Research shows calorie cut makes it harder to fight flu
Date:11/25/2008

the four months of flu season they need to bump it up to be ready. You need the reserves so your body is ready for any additional stress, including fighting a virus."

Calorically restricted diets in general have been shown to increase lifespan in everything from yeast to primates, according to Gardner. But the model used in Gardner's research can be extended to more vulnerable groups including children and the elderly, who don't eat as much but often take vitamin supplements.

Flu shots can't guarantee protection, in any case, since they are formulated months in advance and only can target a small handful of the many flu virus strains that might infect the population.

"If the strain of flu a person is infected with is different from the strain included in the flu vaccination, then your body sees this as a primary infection and must produce the antibodies to fight it off. A calorically restricted body is not as well prepared to do this and cannot control early infection, which impedes recovery," Gardner added.

Gardner, an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, now is investigating the mechanisms responsible for decreased immune function during caloric restriction. Her research in nutritional immunology will lead to a better understanding of how a diet affects the immune system and the best conditions for a body to quickly and successfully fight infections.


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Contact: Mark Fellows
mark.fellows@ur.msu.edu
517-884-0166
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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