Why Fasting Could Help You When You're Sick

Being sick is a drag. That is why most of us have cultivated tried and true methods to help ourselves feel better as quickly as possible. There is the honey and lemon blend for a sore throat, chicken noodle soup for muscle aches, and there are those wholehearted believers who feel sleep cures all. 

There are so many ways to help soothe and treat our illnesses, but we are particularly interested in a method to overcome sickness that remains controversial. Enter fasting. It's surprising because most would assume that our bodies would need extra nutrients to help us combat an illness. It's logical to believe that fasting is an unsettling, even dangerous, consideration. But believe it or not, there is some science behind this unexpected method. Here's what you need to know about fasting while you're sick.

According to Healthline, abstaining from food for a period of time drives the body to become dependent on its own energy sources. After both glycogen and amino acids have been depleted for energy, the body starts to burn fat which manufactures by-products called ketones. In this state, one specific ketone — beta-hydroxybutyrate — becomes present, and has been found to help the body's immune system fight against infection.

Yes fasting can help, but not for all illnesses

One of the main symptoms of common illnesses is a lack of appetite, and according to research shown via Healthline, an analysis done on different studies suggests that your temporary aversion to food is your body's way of showing how to best fight an infection. 

But before you consider abstaining from nutrients for a stint of time the next time you are sick, it is important to understand that fasting may not be magic for all types of sicknesses. In a study done at Yale and reported by Yale News, researchers found that nutrition can either aid or disrupt the body's ability to handle the inflammation that stems from an infection. So it's necessary to have a proper diagnosis of your illness and find out if it is viral or bacterial before you start to fast. This is crucial because the effects of fasting greatly depend on what type of infection you are fighting.

So, is fasting a good remedy to treat sickness? There is evidence leaning towards the answer "yes." Just make sure and consult with your doctor first, and get an accurate diagnosis before you make the choice to skip out on nutrients.