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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?




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).



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  • 2 weeks later...

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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  • 5 months later...

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



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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