Mouse Study: Fasting May Help Neutralize Some Infections

A new study, recently published in PLOS Pathogens, finds that fasting prevents Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, a leading cause of gastroenteritis in humans, from causing inflammation or tissue damage.

For the study, the researchers fed Salmonella Typhimurium to a group of mice that had been fasting for 24 hours, and also to a group that they fed normally. After the indicated period of time, the scientists found almost no Salmonella Typhimurium in 40% of the fasted mice. In the remaining 60%, the bacteria had expanded through the intestine, although it had done little damage.

The authors hypothesize that when nutrients are in short supply during fasting, the gut’s normal bacteria consume what is available, starving Salmonella Typhimurium of the nutrients it needs to expand and cause damage.

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