Scientists have been talking about the benefits of medical fasting for a long time. And more recently, new evidence has emerged that dietary restrictions may indirectly benefit the course of COVID-19.
The authors of an international study, the results of which are published on the website www.ncbi.com, concluded that regular fasting strengthens the immune system and reduces the chances of contracting a new coronavirus infection.
Scientists have analyzed several reviews in the field of autophagy. Autophagy is the process of “self-eating” of waste material that occurs in each cell: toxins, dead parts and other waste. And it accelerates sharply under the influence of hunger. Certain biostimulants, such as green tea and chocolate, can also enhance autophagy.
So, the study says that intermittent fasting, as well as restricting calorie intake, may act as a protective agent against SARS-CoV-2 SARS. First of all, this is important for the elderly, as well as for patients with chronic diseases and weakened immunity who have a high risk of contracting this disease and its severe course.
Scientists also note that fasts, practiced in many cultures, which involve deliberately abstaining from food for a certain period of time, have many health benefits, including increased immunity, resistance to stress, slowing down the aging process, and increasing life expectancy. In addition, there is scientific research confirming that autophagy processes are activated during fasting. In addition to fueling the host’s immune system, fasting-accelerated autophagy can increase the cells’ resistance to stress. Another point: during fasting, fat mass decreases, which leads to a decrease in the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This means that approaches designed to promote fat loss can help overcome pro-inflammatory conditions.
“Since COVID-19 has no specific therapy, preventive measures that contribute to the body’s primary defenses could help contain the disease. Given the regulatory role of fasting in autophagy and immunity, we hypothesize that fasting may be a possible preventive strategy against this disease. A better understanding of the physiological effects of fasting is critical to disseminating further research into this dietary practice as an innovative preventive approach to fighting SARS-CoV-2 infection, ”the authors note.
Experimental data that would describe the effects of fasting against SARS-CoV-2 infection are not yet available. None of the reviews suggested fasting as a strategy for preventing this disease. And yet there is something to think about. For patients with covid, doctors still strongly advise against fasting during illness, as dietary restrictions can put them at risk of nutritional deficiencies necessary for the immune system.
In addition, the researchers remind that exercise and meditation, as well as a healthy diet enriched with healthy foods with antioxidants, are also suitable for strengthening the immune system. During dietary restrictions, it is necessary to monitor the intake of a sufficient amount of essential trace elements such as vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc, which help to strengthen the immune system.
As for autophagy, it is also accelerated by the use of certain foods containing polyphenols (for example, coffee, legumes and vegetables), as well as taking dietary supplements from the category of “autophagy inducers” that can reduce biological age.
Studies have already been conducted that have proven that regular coffee consumption slows down the course of a number of metabolic diseases, and is also indirectly associated with a decrease in overall mortality. In addition, studies in mice have demonstrated the ability of coffee to accelerate autophagy in all cells of the body, including the liver, muscles and heart. Scientists have come to the conclusion that the polyphenols contained in coffee help to strengthen the immune system and overall health by stimulating autophagy.