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Mechanism

Changing your CR diet when you get sick

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In other threads the apparent lessened susceptibility towards virus infections on CR ( ? innate immunity) yet greater vulnerability towards increased severity, duration and complications from said virus ( see https://www.crsociety.org/topic/11539-cr-immunity-and-under-nutrition-and-rhesus-ls/?hl=virus&do=findComment&comment=15367) have been described.

 

While one paper endorsed flu-season increases in caloric intake, a separate question is how to handle a cold if one is already practicing caloric restriction.  Do you deliberately eat more and / or intervene in a manner to direct personal biomarkers in a certain direction?

 

In another instance (for debate) Nutritional Yeast is one agent that has certain desireable immunological properties, reducing the incidence and severity of colds in at least one study - see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/nutritional-yeast-to-prevent-the-common-cold/for more.  While Michael attributes this desirable property - said to occur paradoxically without inducing increasing inflammation - to beta glucan fiber, I wonder whether its role increasing IGF-1 may play a roll as well?  I am not aware of any good studies showing administration of IGF-1 or enhancing it through dietary intervention can lessen the duration or severity of colds however I have not examined carefully and perhaps someone is aware of such research?  Notably while we try to have IGF-1 on the lower end of the spectrum to to it's inflammatory / again / cancer promotion properties, it is a two-edged sword ( see  http://www.livingthecrway.com/home/forum/cutting-edge-science/low-igf-1---good-or-bad- and https://www.crsociety.org/topic/11411-igf-1-tradeoff-performance-vs-longevity/ ).  Likewise I do see data that it at least modulates immune function ( http://pharmrev.aspetjournals.org/content/62/2/199.full) but the clinical consequences for the common cold intervening after one develops a cold is not clear.  If IGF-1 was beneficial post-hoc with flu infection, perhaps it would be adventageous to elevate it with cold virus infections occur through having more tofu along with the nutrition yeast, etc. ( this post clearly coming from a pseudo-vegetarian!).

 

Lastly, even if IGF-1 is not part of the mechanism, is it a good idea to eat more when you get sick, and what are your practices and/or research you use to rationalize the behavior?  The best  I have found for an overall balanced perspective on the studies has been http://www.precisionnutrition.com/what-to-eat-when-sick, however the evidence presented on efficacy of the specific suggestions (e.g - Stevia at the end of the article) in my estimation has been rather weak and speculative?  I would not be hasty to assume because CR rodents do poorly exposed to the cold virus relative to controls http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/the-truth-behind-moms-cold-and-flu-advice ), that AL feeding or heartier meals in humans is beneficial.  Digestion may take resources away from immunologic function, and many of us are familiar with the adverse outcomes.

 

Would be very curious regarding personal experiences and/or references on interventions when already sick, as well as whether any potential positive role for allowing for temporary spikes in IGF-1.

 

 

 

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Lastly, even if IGF-1 is not part of the mechanism, is it a good idea to eat more when you get sick, and what are your practices and/or research you use to rationalize the behavior?

 

Mechanism,

 

First, welcome. Second, thank you for being a model contributor: posting well-researched, and articulated questions.

 

Third, I'm going to be less of an exemplar of the good contributor by answering the last part of your question precisely, and thus, because of the answer itself, not too usefully.

 

I recently had surgery (three operations, no less).

 

Behavior, you ask? Eat much more protein (120 g / day on average, 15% or so from salmon, the rest mostly from nuts and pea protein powder), as well as 4-5 g glutamine spread out throughout the day.

 

Research, you ask? Not enough, probably (except for the glutamine, which I looked into and for which I found a bit of (weak) support behind it -- but also that it can maybe help with some gut problems I have). But a number of very smart doctors emphasized the need for extra protein when "remodelling" is taking place. (Some not so smart doctors also said "yeah, you know, surgery? Eat more 'n stuff. You know". I ignored that folksy thinking.) Don't know if their thinking is based on smart research, don't know whether any research it might be based on is related to IGF1. Was too stoned on oxycodone to care about the details, but later reflection made it seem like wise advice.

 

And don't know whether any of this would bear on the question of protein needs when ill with an infection of some kind, but I suspect it might, a bit (especially if "remodeling" is understood broadly -- mucous membrane turnover is increased, for ex., when ill with many normal colds and 'flus).

 

Zeta

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Thank you so much Zeta for sharing, and for the kind words.

 

A bit more protein with stressors has face validity as cortisol tends to promote catabolism.  In the hospital, other inflammatory cytokines, sometimes associated with tissue injury in the case of surgery also get mixed in with immobility which also tends to contribute to muscle atrophy.

 

I find it a bit harder to generalize getting more protein with viral illnesses as the stressor is a bit different in this case.  It would be interesting to have a sense of the range of practices in the CR community, but perhaps someone here has found a paper addressing this very issue ( optimal micronutrient / macronutrient / calorie adjustment either up or down by a % ).  

 

Notably the answer may be very different for bacterial infections ( vs viral) which require a very different cytokine / immunologic response to clear the infection.  In either case looking forward to more thoughts / responses!

Edited by Mechanism

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Do any other CRONies (there, still a newbie but at least I have the terminology right for this post! Please forgive the naive...) modify their diet with short-term upper respiratory infections ( URIs / common cold)? E.g.- Feed a cold, starve a fever, etc.

 

Or perhaps sauna use, which we have seen in another post has been demonstrated to not only induce heat shock proteins, but also temporarily bump up growth hormone dramatically and perhaps in doing so lessen the duration or peak of the cold by temporarily offsetting the side effects of long-term CR and/or intermittent fasting?

Edited by Mechanism

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Paul McGlothin over at www.livingthecrway.com was bitten by a tick at some point recently and mentioned that he consumed extra animal protein to help boost his immune system (I believe it was either kefir or salmon).  Paul follows a WFPB diet that is 98%+ vegan and sits with a BMI of about 18.  Actually he doesn't sit, he stands most of the day and vibrates with energy. :) Additionally he got some extra sunlight.  There were other things he included in his plan, but I can't recall and it's now behind a paywall. 

 

I wonder if extra mushroom consumption would be beneficial. 

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Thank you drewab, that is very interesting, I was not aware that Paul does this. In the case of Sauna use, only "two 20-minute sauna sessions at 80°C (176°F) separated by a 30-minute cooling period elevated growth hormone levels two-fold over baseline," which is both large in magnitude and rapid, and elevates IGF-1 via the IGF-GH axis.

 

[ http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/04/10/saunas-hyperthermic-conditioning-2/citing Hannuksela, M. L. & Ellahham, S. Benefits and risks of sauna bathing. The American journal of medicine 110, 118-126 (2001) & Kukkonen-Harjula, K. et al. Haemodynamic and hormonal responses to heat exposure in a Finnish sauna bath. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology 58, 543-550 (1989) ].

 

Protein intake ( esp. if rich in methionine) and other dietary interventions can also elevate IGF-1, however for them to be clinically relevant interventions to ameliorate short-term URIs, the IGF-1 elevation would similarly need to be sufficient in size as well as quick. There would be no point in having more protein if the elevation took several or more days to occur by which point a healthy subject should be well on his way clearing the cold anyway. Do you happen to know how long it takes for such dietary interventions to raise IGF-1, and how long it takes to arise?

 

Another interesting question is wheter one or two meals can adequately elevate IGF-1, and how long the IGF-1 would remain elevated above it's baseline in an otherwise protein-restricted diet. If it takes several weeks or longer for IGF-1 to settle down to it's baseline, it also may not be worth intervening by diet simply have a slightly milder or shorter nuisance URI. After all, a major targeted pathway in CR is mediated by IGF-1 with optimal health at the lower end of the normal range. I am not aware and could not find on first pass a good overview of the state of research defining this but would be delighted if someone had and could share a citation with this information.

Edited by Mechanism

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Al posted a reference to "Feed a virus, starve a bacterium".  I came across another reference to the article at 

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21707186-old-wives-tale-gets-some-support-medical-science-feed-virus-starve

 

Mice were infected with either murine influenza virus or Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.  The mice were then placed on different feeding regimes.  Those infected with the bacteria and fed rodent chow had a 100% fatality while those denied chow had only a 50% fatality rate.  This survival ratio was less stark but reversed for the virus infected mice - 78% of the fed mice survived but only 10% of the unfed mice did.

 

Bottom line seems to be opposing strategies are appropriate depending upon the type of infection.

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Very interesting corybroo, nice find. Best data would include RCT clinical data in humans for the most common infectious causes of late-life morbidity & mortality but of course that study would never be done in vulnerable ( e.g.- elderly/immunosupressed ) populations for ethical reasons, but surrogate variables such as flu exposure incidence/duration/severity in younger healthy trial populations, along with community based observational data in vulnerable populations, is the next best thing we have.

Edited by Mechanism

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