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Research At The Salk Institute Suggests Simple Nutrient Support May Help Cure Infections

Study: 'Starve A Fever, Feed A Cold' Might Be Bad Advice


Janelle Ayres, assistant professor in the Nomis Foundation Laboratories for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Salk Institute


Photo credit: Salk Institute

The bacteria salmonella-typhimurium is pictured in this photo.

Not being hungry when you're sick is a common physical response to not feeling well, it's even been medical advice at times like the old admonition to starve a cold. But a newly published study by researchers at the Salk Institute seems to indicate that not eating could actually make you sicker, could make infectious disease more virulent and could actually decrease your chance of survival.

Janelle Ayres, assistant professor in the Nomis Foundation Laboratories for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis at the Salk Institute led the study. She said her study findings have the potential to translate to treatment of infection in humans.

"We are accustomed to providing and giving the patients many types of antibiotics when they have an infection but of course antibiotics drive antibiotic resistance in microbial populations and we are certainly in a scary time with antibiotic resistance in human medicine right now," Ayres said. "So if we can understand how nutritional interventions can tame virulence of the ability of the different infectious diseases to actually cause disease in humans, then perhaps we can intervene and treat infections with nutrition rather than antibiotics."

Ayers joins Midday Edition Monday to discuss the implications of her research for human health.


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