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Starve a cold feed a fever myth: Fact or Fiction?: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever

Fact or Fiction?: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever

Maxims typically date back many years, but “feed a cold, starve a fever” may beat them all. This saying has been traced to a 1574 dictionary by John Withals, which noted that “fasting is a great remedy of fever.” The belief is that eating food may help the body generate warmth during a “cold” and that avoiding food may help it cool down when overheated.

But recent medical science says the old saw is wrong. It should be “feed a cold, feed a fever.”

Let’s take colds first. When your body fights an illness it needs energy, so eating healthy food is helpful. Eating can also help the body generate heat—although wearing an extra layer of clothes or slipping into bed can keep you warm, too. There’s no need to overeat, however. The body is quick to turn recently digested food into energy, and it’s also efficient at converting stored energy in fat.

The reasons to eat for fever are more interesting. Fever is part of the immune system’s attempt to beat the bugs. It raises body temperature, which increases metabolism and results in more calories burned; for each degree of temperature rise, the energy demand increases further. So taking in calories becomes important.

Even more crucial is drinking. Fever dehydrates your system, in part through increased sweating from that elevated temperature. Replacing fluids is therefore critical to helping the body battle the infection. The same is true for combating colds. “You have to make yourself drink fluids, even though all you want to do is collapse,” says William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Dehydration also makes mucus in the nose, throat and lungs dry up, which can then clog sinuses and respiratory tubes. When mucus hardens it becomes more difficult to cough, Schaffner notes, which is our way of trying to expel mucus and the germs it contains. Staying hydrated helps keep the mucus running, which, even though it may be disgusting, is one of our natural defenses.

The challenge, of course, is that when you’re sick you may not feel much like drinking and even less like eating. Loss of appetite is common, and might be part of the body’s attempt to focus its energy on pounding the pathogens. Given the wisdom noted above, Schaffner says, don’t force yourself to eat if you don’t feel like it. “But drink,” he adds. “It’s the liquids that are important.” Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine enhances dehydration. So does alcohol, and it is also a depressant, holding us down.

What about some other common conceptions for beating colds and fevers, such as eating chicken soup? Chicken soup doesn’t possess any magic ingredients, but it has calories as well as the all-important liquids again. The warm vapor rising from the bowl can also moisten and loosen dried mucus. The same goes for vapor from hot tea, with or without lemon or honey. Taking a hot shower can soften mucus, too—and if you dare, you can get rid of it by gently blowing your nose one nostril at a time while you’re in there.

Supplements are dubious at best. The data from studies about taking vitamin C are inconclusive, as they are for zinc. Solid studies of echinacea show no benefit. If there’s any positive effect at all from any of these compounds, it is very small, Schaffner concludes.

Over-the-counter remedies may or may not help, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. They can relieve symptoms but they do not kill off viruses or bacteria. Cold and fever germs usually run their course, and the immune system eventually gets the upper hand. In the meantime, drink drink drink. And sleep as much as you can, to give your body the rest it needs to fight the good fight.

The Truth About Feeding a Cold and Starving a Fever

“Feed a cold, starve a fever” is an adage that’s been around for centuries. The idea most likely originated during the Middle Ages when people believed there were two kinds of illnesses. The illnesses caused by low temperatures, such as a cold, needed to be fueled, so eating was recommended. Illnesses caused by high temperatures, such as a fever, needed to be cooled down, so refraining from eating was thought to deprive the furnace of energy.

Nowadays, most doctors and years of research into the cold and flu say there’s only one tried-and-true treatment for colds and flu — plenty of rest and fluids. That’s because colds and flu are caused by viruses, for which there is no cure. But you can support your immune system as it struggles to prevail through proper nutrition and, even more importantly, proper hydration­.

If anything, the adage should be, “feed a cold, feed a fever,” because bodies fighting illness need energy, so eating healthy food helps. Eating food when you have a cold can also help the body generate heat, although other methods of keeping warm, like wearing an extra layer of clothes or wrapping yourself in a blanket, do the trick as well.

There are many reasons you shouldn’t try to starve a fever. Fever is part of the immune system’s attempt to combat the virus. Fever raises body temperature, which increases metabolism and burns more calories. That’s one reason why taking in calories becomes important.

What’s far more crucial in combating both colds and the flu is staying hydrated. Fever dehydrates the body, in part through increased sweating from the elevated temperature. Vomiting and diarrhea, two common symptoms of the flu, also quickly dehydrate the body. Dehydration makes the mucus in the nose, throat, and lungs dry up, which can lead to clogged sinuses and respiratory tubes. When mucus hardens it becomes more difficult to cough, which is the body’s way of trying to expel mucus and the germs it contains.

Replacing fluids is critical to helping the body battle the virus. Water works just fine, as do fruit juices and electrolyte beverages. If you feel nauseated, try taking small sips of liquids, as gulps might cause you to throw up. You can be sure you’re getting enough fluids by looking at the color of your urine, which should be pale yellow, almost colorless.

Of course, when you’re sick, you may not feel much like drinking and even less like eating. Loss of appetite is common, and might be part of the body’s attempt to focus its energy on pounding the pathogens. Don’t force yourself to eat, but make sure to take in plenty of fluids. However, you should avoid coffee, caffeinated sodas, and alcohol, because caffeine and alcohol both contribute to dehydration.

Once you’ve contracted a cold or the flu, it should run its course in five to 10 days. And while nothing can cure a cold or the flu, some remedies can ease your symptoms and keep you from feeling so miserable.

Cold and Flu Remedies That Work

Wash your hands

For starters, frequent hand washing is one of the best things you can do to avoid catching whatever bugs might be going around. The key to making it count is using lots of soapy water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. If you’re in a public restroom, use a paper towel instead of your bare hand when you touch the door handle. At home, you should regularly disinfect doorknobs with Lysol spray or disinfectant wipes. And don’t forget about your germy computer keyboard and mobile phone. It’s a good idea to regularly run a disinfectant wipe over those keys and your phone.

Sip warm liquids

Taking in warm liquids such as chicken soup, hot tea (with lemon or honey), or warm apple juice can be soothing and the warm vapor rising from the bowl or cup can ease congestion by increasing mucus flow. Chicken soup is everyone’s favorite, but it’s not a miracle cure. It does provide needed calories and salt, as well as some nutritional benefits. Chicken soup is also generally easy on the stomach.

Soothe a sore throat

Gargling with salt water helps get rid of the thick mucus that can collect at the back of the throat, especially after you’ve been lying down. It can also help ease stuffy ears. Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an eight-ounce glass of warm water. Please note that children younger than 6 years old will be unlikely to be able to gargle properly.

You can also try ice chips, sore throat sprays, lozenges, or hard candy. Don’t give lozenges or hard candy to children younger than 3 to 4 years old because they can choke on them.

Combat a stuffy nose

Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays can help relieve stuffiness and congestion. In infants, experts recommend putting several saline drops into one nostril, then gently suctioning that nostril with a bulb syringe. Saline nasal sprays may be used in older children.

Another option to ease stuffiness is nasal irrigation with a neti pot, where you pour salt water into one nostril and let it run out the other, clearing out your nasal passages. You can buy pre-made saline solution or make it by mixing salt and lukewarm sterile or distilled water. Neti pots are available in health food stores and drugstores.

Add moisture to the air

Breathing moist air helps ease nasal congestion and sore throat pain. One good strategy is to indulge in a steamy shower several times a day — or just turn on the shower and sit in the bathroom for a few minutes, inhaling the steam. Another way to ease congestion is to use a steam vaporizer or a humidifier. Be sure to change the water daily and clean the unit often in order to be sure it’s free of mold and mildew.

Another quick way to open clogged airways is to make a “tent.” Bring a pot of water to a boil and remove it from the heat. Drape a towel over your head, close your eyes, and lean over the water under the “tent,” breathing deeply through your nose for 30 seconds. You may also want to add a drop or two of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the water for extra phlegm-busting power. Repeat this as often as necessary to ease congestion.

Relieve Pain

For adults and children older than 5, over-the-counter decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers might relieve some symptoms. As far as pain relievers go, children six months or younger should only be given acetaminophen. For children older than six months, either acetaminophen or ibuprofen are appropriate. Adults can take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. Please note that none of these over-the-counter medications will prevent a cold or shorten its duration, and most have some side-effects.

Another great way to relieve headache or sinus pain is to place a warm cloth over your forehead and nose.


Your body needs time to heal, so listen to it. If your body’s urging you to spend all day in bed, then do so. Don’t press on with daily chores in the face of severe cold or flu symptoms. And don’t skimp on nighttime sleep. Good sleep cycles help the immune system work well, so it’s important to get a full eight hours of sleep each night.

Feed a cold, starve a fever? Here’s what science says

“Feed a cold, starve a fever” is an adage that has been around for centuries. Now a new study in mice finds that it might actually have some truth — but it depends what exactly is the cause of your fever.

Why it matters:

Loss of appetite is common with sickness and Ruslan Medzhitov, an immunologist at Yale University, and his colleagues wanted to know why. Is it just a consequence of illness, or does it have some protective benefit we don’t fully understand?

The nitty gritty:

Researchers infected mice with either a bacteria that causes food poisoning or a flu virus.


All the mice began to eat less after falling ill, but some were force-fed food or given pure glucose. After 10 days all the bacteria-infected mice who had continued being fed had died, while more than half that had avoided food lived. But it was the opposite in those infected with the flu: More than 75 percent lived if they had been force-fed, while only about 10 percent lived if they hadn’t. Food was protective against the virus, but detrimental to the bacterial infection.

“To our complete surprise we found that force feeding was protective” in viral infections, Medzhitov said.


Intrigued, the team conducted more experiments, and found that glucose, but not proteins or fats, was the dangerous component of foods during a bacterial infection. The study was published Thursday in the journal Cell.

But keep in mind:

The work was done in mice, not people. But a 2002 study in humans found similar results: eating stimulates the kind of immune response needed to combat viral infections, while fasting might stimulate the immune response that takes down unfriendly bacteria.

What they’re saying:

“What it shows is that if we understand the infection, there might be simple ways that we can improve outcome,” said David Schneider, an immunomicrobiologist at Stanford University who wasn’t involved in the work.

But he noted more needs to be done before we know how far to generalize these findings, which used only one strain of mice and might not apply to every infection.

“We don’t want to say, ‘Ok, bacteria means we don’t feed patients.’ It’s not time for that yet,” he said. “There are always going to be exceptions.”

You’ll want to know:

The differences in nutrition seemed to influence survival not through a direct impact on the pathogen, but rather by changing the ability of the mice’s own tissue to withstand the metabolic stress that came with illnesses, said Janelle Ayres, an immunomicrobiologist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. , who was not involved in the study.

“Conventional wisdom among most scientists and the general public is you have an infection, you have to take an antibiotic or you have to take an antiviral and you just have to kill it,” she said. “This nicely demonstrates that we need to be able to deal with metabolic stresses, or we can compromise our ability to defend against infection.”

The bottom line:

Fevers can be caused by both bacteria and viruses — so the adage “Feed a cold, starve a fever” is an oversimplification. But knowing whether to feed patients based on the infection they have could be useful not just for chicken soup remedies but also for more serious infections like sepsis, which can be caused by both types of pathogens.

Do You Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever?

Does that mean you should force yourself to eat big meals when you’re sick? Again, the answer is no. There’s no need to eat more or less than usual, according to Harvard Health Publishing, but what you do eat should be rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and zinc.

The Age-Old Cold-and-Flu Adage That’s Actually True

Eating a bowl of chicken soup really can help you feel better when you’re battling an upper respiratory tract infection, research has shown. One classic University of Nebraska Medical Center study published in the journal Chest suggests that traditional chicken soup made with vegetables contains many beneficial substances that help ease inflammation and other cold and flu symptoms.

Another study, published in the journal Rhinology, showed that consuming warm liquids “provided immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness, and tiredness,” according to the researchers. And even earlier research in Chest found that eating hot chicken soup made it easier to blow germ-carrying mucus out of your nose.

More importantly, soup is hydrating, and taking in lots of water, juices, or broth is crucial for preventing dehydration when you have a fever, says Soma Mandal, MD, an internist with the Summit Medical Group in New Jersey. “If you’re dehydrated on top of feeling sick, that will make you feel worse,” she says.

One reason why is that during a fever, your body needs to use more fluids than usual to maintain different bodily functions, Dr. Mandal explains. For example, she says, “when you have an upper respiratory infection, the virus is replicating in the cells, which causes tissue damage. Hydration helps repair those cells.”

You also lose a lot of water as your body tries to release heat through sweat. So the higher the fever, the greater the risk of dehydration becomes. “If you have a high fever or a fever lasting more than two to three days, you will need even more fluids to keep from getting dehydrated,” notes family medicine physician Curt Gingrich, MD, chief operating officer of OhioHealth Marion General Hospital in Marion, Ohio.

“In addition to making sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids during an illness,” Dr. Gingrich adds, “be sure to also get plenty of rest.”

Should you really feed a cold, starve a fever?

The saying may have stemmed from antiquated thoughts on body temperature: If someone had a cold, the belief went, his or her body became literally colder, according to old wives’ tales. Therefore, to “warm up” someone ill with a cold, food was given. Conversely, if someone was burning with fever, not eating was believed to “cool” the patient down.

Thankfully, starving is no longer recommended for treating any sickness. Proper nutrition — and even more important, proper hydration — is crucial in preventing and recovering from both fevers and colds. We know that staying hydrated is a key factor in fighting infections. However, the amount of food we need when we’re sick may be different for children and adults.

Dr. Jon S. Abramson, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Wake Forest Medical School, has found no medical evidence to support feeding a cold and starving a fever. He is particularly offended by the latter part of the phrase.

As Abramson explained, when we are sick, whether we have a fever or not, our metabolic rates skyrocket, and our bodies need more calories to support that high metabolic rate. The hotter a fever becomes, the more energy the body uses, and not replenishing this energy with sugar and electrolytes is extremely dangerous, especially for children, who have less reserved energy than adults.

“Always feed both colds and fevers,” Abramson said. “Patients should eat chicken soup, juice, anything with calories. Most importantly, I want my patients to drink lots of liquids. Dehydration is our key concern when dealing with sicknesses, especially in children, and especially with fevers.”

Sickness dramatically elevates the amount of liquids our bodies require. Abramson sets guidelines of 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees F) and 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees F): If a child has a temperature at or colder than 96, he recommends upping fluid intake by 20 percent. If the thermometer reads 104 or greater, fluids should be increased by 30 percent.

Young children and babies must be closely monitored, he emphasized, because they can’t verbally express hunger or thirst like older patients. If a child hasn’t had anything to drink in a day, Abramson recommends seeing a doctor immediately. Any liquid is fine to drink, but drinking something with sugar and electrolytes, like Gatorade or soup broth, is better to replenish energy and lost sweat.

“Chicken soup is everyone’s favorite, but it’s not a miracle cure,” Abramson said. “What it has is calories and salt, which your body needs. There has also been evidence that hot vapors from the soup can help clear congested nasal passages. And it is generally easy to stomach.”

Nutrition is especially important because children don’t have the fat stores of adults, meaning they need to be fed much more regularly than adults do.

In adults: Feed, but don’t overfeed, colds and fevers

Fevers and colds are much less common in adults than in children, due to our stronger immune systems, built from years of exposure to infections. (Meanwhile, every day at preschool, children are introduced to new pathogens.) Though there are many causes of fevers in children, almost all cases of fevers in adults are caused by a type of flu, according to Abramson. As with kids, adults need to be conscious of staying hydrated. But as far as eating goes, adults may need less food than we think.

“Starving is never a good idea,” said Dr. Sharon Horesh Bergquist, an internist at Emory University. “However, we shouldn’t be fixated on ‘feeding a cold,’ either. You should never force-feed a cold but rather eat when you’re hungry.”

What if you aren’t hungry? Don’t fret, Bergquist says. Losing an appetite is a common sickness behavior, and not eating until hunger pangs hit (even if they are infrequent) is not a bad thing for adults. When sickness symptoms include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, it doesn’t make sense to continually force our bodies to ingest unwanted food, she said.

“Most of us have so much energy on reserve that we don’t need to replenish it for a while,” Bergquist said. “Hydrating is much more important for fevers and colds. You should be consuming electrolytes, especially if you have a fever, but you can get those through liquids like sports drinks.”

When the body is inflamed with a viral or bacterial infection, she explained, appetite is often suppressed in order to conserve energy. When less energy is needed to digest food, more energy can be used to fight the infection.

That said, some calories are still needed to support your body in its weakened state — and choosing what to eat is important. Bergquist says to avoid high-fat foods, especially those with saturated fat, because they may skew the body’s balance of good and bad bacteria. A diet rich in high-fiber foods, vitamins (particularly A and C) and antioxidants is best for preventing and recovering from colds and flus.

Good news: Chicken soup fits the bill for feeding both sick children and adults.

“Chicken soup has all the dietary components we want,” Bergquist said. “The warm liquid breaks down mucus, which is the first line of defense [of the infection]. Spices in soups can open up sinuses, while salty broth provides electrolytes. And vegetables in soups have antioxidants.”

The type of infection — viral or bacterial — may dictate how much food you need. “With a virus, you are entirely dependent on your body to fight the infection,” Bergquist said. “Without nutrients, your body can be severely debilitated.”

In contrast, a recent study on rats found that when they had a viral infection and didn’t eat, they all died. When the rats had a bacterial infection and didn’t eat, however, they all survived. These results have led Yale University immunobiology professor Ruslan Medzhitov to suggest that the phrase “feed a virus, starve a bacteria” may have validity.

Still, much more research has to be done on humans before doctors recommend “starving” bacterial infections.

The bottom line

How should we rethink the phrase “feed a cold, starve a fever”? Abramson and Bergquist have some ideas.

“Feed a cold, feed a fever,” Abramson said.

“Nurture your body, and never starve it,” Bergquist agreed. “When you’re sick, drink more than you think you need.”

‘Feed a cold, starve a fever’ could be right, scientists find | Medical research

The traditional advice to “feed a cold and starve a fever” might have an element of truth, say scientists.

Research shows that the old adage appears to be based on sound science when a fever is caused by bacterial infection.

Scientists put the folk wisdom to the test using laboratory mice with bacterial and viral infections. They found that mice with flu – like the common cold, caused by a virus – were helped to recover and survive when they were fed. In contrast, feeding animals infected by bacteria only hastened their death.

The lead researcher Prof Ruslan Medzhitov, of the Yale School of Medicine in the US, said: “We were surprised at how profound the effects of feeding were, both positive and negative.

“Anorexia – not eating – is a common behaviour during sickness that is seen in people and all kinds of animals. Our findings show that it has a strong protective effect with certain infections, but not with others.”

In the first of a series of experiments, mice were infected with listeria bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning. The animals stopped eating naturally, and eventually recovered. However, when they were made to eat, they died.

Sugary food was the culprit, the researchers discovered – the mice survived when they were fed protein and fats but no glucose.

A similar study of mice infected with the flu virus showed an opposite effect. In this case, the mice lived when they were force-fed glucose, but died when they were denied food.

Giving the animals a drug called 2-DG, which prevents glucose metabolism, saved the listeria-infected mice but proved fatal to those with flu.

Further research indicated that the different outcomes related to an interplay between metabolism and the immune system.

“Almost everything we know about infection is based on immune response studies and looking at how the immune system eliminates pathogens (harmful agents),” said Medzhitov. “But that’s not the only way we defend ourselves. There are also cases where we change and adapt so that microbes don’t cause harm.

“Our study manipulated the ability of these mice to tolerate and survive infection without doing anything that had an effect on the pathogens themselves.

His team is now looking at how changes in sleep behaviour during illness influence the way the immune system fights infection.

The researchers also want to investigate why people sometimes display food cravings when they are sick.

The findings, published in the journal Cell, have implications for the design of clinical trials evaluating the benefits of nutrition to patients with sepsis, say the scientists.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by a response to infection that damages the body’s tissues and organs.

Medzhitov said: “Sepsis is a critical problem in hospital ICUs [intensive care units] that defies most modern medical approaches. A number of studies have looked at nutrition in patients with sepsis, and the results have been mixed. But these studies didn’t segregate patients based on whether their sepsis was bacterial or viral.

“The implication is that patients should be stratified by the cause of their sepsis, and trials should be designed based on that.

True or False: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

Is the old adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” true? NorthShore’s Robert Mitchell Figura, D.O., puts to rest the truth of this ancient wisdom.

The reason people say “feed a cold” is because the body needs energy when it’s fighting illness. This applies to both colds and flu, but for different reasons. For a cold, eating healthy food will provide the body the extra energy it needs to fight illness, but can also help the body generate heat. The cold virus replicates faster in a cold environment so raising your body’s temperature along with bundling up can stop cold germs in their tracks, said Dr. Figura.

Fevers have a totally different reason for needing to be “fed.” When you have a fever, it’s your body’s attempt to overcome the virus. This increased heat causes an increase in metabolism, which in turn increases calories burned. You want to take in calories to counteract this. Of course, fevers often come with a loss of appetite. Don’t force yourself to eat if you don’t feel like it.

So it seems that in either case, calories are key in helping the body recover, but that’s not actually the most important part of the equation. Fluids, while not technically “feeding” anything, are more important than calories. Fevers dehydrate your system, and colds require mucus to expel all the germs. Dried up mucus can clog up its exit routes and keep those germs inside you. Juice and water are your best go-to fluids. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as these can further dehydrate the body, Dr. Figura said.

This is what makes chicken soup a healthy choice for colds and fevers. It provides both calories and fluids to keep the body fighting illness. There is nothing magical about soup, it’s just a combination of the best things for a cold or a fever.

Next time you are trying to remember if it’s “starve a cold and feed a fever” or “feed a cold and starve a fever,” remember this new adage: Feed them both to keep the body fighting.

90,000 Alexei Navalny has been on hunger strike for two weeks. Is it already dangerous? Will he be force-fed? How exactly?

Two weeks have passed since Alexei Navalny went on a hunger strike because the qualified neurologist Alexei Barinov from the Sechenov University was not allowed to visit him: the oppositionist began to have severe pains in his back and leg. The day before, the administration of the colony in Pokrov transferred the politician from the medical unit back to the detachment, considering his state of health to be satisfactory.The colony leadership threatens to start force-feeding, but so far it is limited to only roasting chicken and tossing sweets into his pockets in order to “tease” the obstinate inmate.

Open Media decided to figure out how dangerous it is to starve in the colony, what the colony administration can do, and how legal it is at all.

Is two weeks not too dangerous?

Prisoners persecuted for political reasons managed to keep hunger strikes for several months: for example, the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced to 20 years for terrorism in 2018, went on hunger strike for 145 days. True, during the hunger strike, he was injected into the blood with a large amount of glucose, amino acids and vitamins through a dropper, he drank 3.5 liters of water every day, said Dmitry Dinze, Sentsov’s lawyer. Because of this, he lost weight rather slowly – 100-200 grams per day – and ended his hunger strike only under the threat of forced feeding, Dinze said.

Cases of prolonged fasting are known even without the supportive therapy that Sentsov had. For example, the person involved in the “swamp case” Sergei Krivov in 2012-2013 went on hunger strike twice: he abstained from food for 42 and 64 days.All this time he did not receive any food, only during the exit from the second hunger strike did he agree to a dropper with saline and glucose, Krivov himself told Novaya Gazeta. It is not known whether Navalny is given a drip with nutrients: his lawyers did not report anything about this.

Short and fragile people endure refusal to eat best, Soviet dissident and human rights activist Sergei Grigoryants shared his experience. On a “dry” (without even consuming water) hunger strike, a person can live for 7-10 days, and on a regular (with water consumption, and in some cases in combination with droppers) – 40-60 days.Navalny immediately abandoned the dry hunger strike, his colleague Leonid Volkov told OM.

What happens to the body when you refuse to eat?

Fasting for several days is not dangerous for the body: at this time, it consumes natural reserves of nutrients – glycogen in the liver, as well as adipose tissue, the BBC Russian Service wrote with reference to scientific sources. But already at this time, the starving person begins to feel weak, the skin begins to lose color, and bad breath appears.

Later, the body, in search of energy sources, begins to use the internal organs, primarily the muscles, and then the vital organs, including the heart and liver. The starving person begins to lose weight very quickly.

Serious problems, as a rule, begin after two weeks of hunger strike: during this time hungry fainting is possible, muscle atrophy sets in, vision and consciousness problems appear. The defendant in the “swamp case” Sergei Krivov, due to a hunger strike without pharmaceutical support, according to Mediazona, suffered a heart attack.

Navalny, who survived the poisoning followed by a coma in August-September last year, can again plunge into a coma, neurologist Alexei Barinov told Open Media – the very one whom the oppositionist demands to be admitted to his colony.

How do colony administrations react to hunger strikes?

According to the internal rules of the penitentiary system, Navalny was supposed to have a separate medical card – the so-called starving card, a doctor who had worked in the FSIN colonies for many years told Open Media.Prison doctors begin daily medical supervision of the prisoner and enter information on the body weight and state of health of such a prisoner on the starving card.

Also, when declaring a hunger strike, the colony employees must immediately make a note about this in the incident register, draw up a report, make an entry in the medical card, notify the physician working in the colony and the colony administration, said OM’s interlocutor. This was confirmed by retired lieutenant colonel Sergei Ovchinnikov.

Navalny can really start to force-feed?

Yes – if the doctors working in the colony decide that his health is really in danger, says a former prison doctor to OM. In this case, the prisoner is force-fed through a tube.

There are no strict criteria for this, the right moment is determined by the doctor himself. But force-feeding in the penal system is not so widespread: more often the inmate is frightened with such a procedure so that he himself ends the hunger strike, says the source of Open Media.As happened, for example, with Sentsov, who went without food for almost six months.

Are there really no rules on this subject?

Article 101 of the Penal Enforcement Code, which regulates the work of colonies, only states that in the event of a threat to life, forced feeding of a convict for medical reasons is allowed. But how exactly and in what cases this should be done is not indicated there.

Moreover, there are no such rules in the internal documents of the FSIN itself.At least two teachers of the Academy of the Federal Penitentiary Service in their recent scientific work indicate that there is no such regulation in the Internal Regulations of Correctional Institutions and the Internal Regulations of Educational Colonies of the Penitentiary System. The procedure for the actions of the jailers in the pre-trial detention center is described in slightly more detail – this is stated in article 42 of the law regulating the work of pre-trial detention centers. But these rules do not directly apply to prisoners who have already received a real sentence and transferred to the colony.

Surprisingly, in the Soviet correctional system there were such rules: this issue was regulated by a whole block of departmental regulations, says Mikhail Sorokin, a teacher at the Vladimir Law Institute of the Federal Penitentiary Service, in his scientific work.

What are the hungry people fed with?

And this, too, is now not regulated in any way, say the teachers of the Academy of the Federal Penitentiary Service. In fact, the norms introduced back in the days of Khrushchev, in 1958, are now used. Formally, they were canceled long ago, but no other replacement rules have appeared.

According to the “Khrushchev” standards, the forced meal consists of 200 ml of meat broth, 30 grams of cow oil, 100 grams of sugar, 800 ml of milk, two eggs, 50 grams of cereals, salt and vitamin C.

Who is force feeding?

This is not specifically indicated either in the laws or in the rules of the Federal Penitentiary Service. As the already mentioned teachers of the Academy of the Federal Penitentiary Service claim in their scientific article, it is now unclear whether only doctors working in colonies should do this or other employees of correctional institutions should also help them.

And what does this procedure look like?

The FSIN itself prefers not to talk about this: the service did not respond to the corresponding request from Open Media. As mentioned above, this process itself is not regulated by departmental instructions. In the same article by the teachers of the Academy of the Federal Penitentiary Service, it is only noted that in the process the employees of the colonies have the right to use physical pressure if the prisoner resists this procedure.

According to the opinions of the convicts themselves and human rights activists, from the outside it looks like torture with handcuffing to a bed and inserting a tube of a tube for feeding through the mouth, intravenously or even through the anus – the last method is mentioned in a 2018 article by Yegor Novikov, a teacher at the Kuzbass Institute of the Federal Penitentiary Service.Inmates are told about these methods – and in order to avoid this, they often refuse to hunger, he notes.

Isn’t this torture?

Forced food in itself is not torture. For example, the European Court of Human Rights, considering a complaint by a Swiss citizen against the authorities of this country, in 2013 decided that the local jailers did the right thing by starting to force-feed him in response to his hunger strike. Moreover, the ECHR indicated that the deterioration of a prisoner’s health as a result of a hunger strike does not in itself violate the Convention on Human Rights if the authorities “took the necessary measures” – including force-feeding.

Another thing is the exact methods by which forced feeding is carried out. This procedure should be as humane as possible, the same ECHR pointed out in 2005, when considering a complaint by a Ukrainian citizen Yevgeny Nevmerzhitsky against the Ukrainian authorities. Then he considered the force-feeding of Nevmerzhitsky, who had declared a hunger strike, as torture: he was handcuffed and a tube was inserted through the mouth dilator, through which the prisoner was fed. In deciding that such a procedure was torture, the court noted that the Ukrainian authorities had never proved that they had been forced to feed the starving man for precisely medical reasons.

Fast, do not starve – you’re gonna die anyway / Habr

On the uselessness of calorie restriction for prolonging the life of primates

In the early 90s, an interesting two-year experiment called Biosphere-2 was conducted in America. Eight people were isolated from the outside world in a kind of Martian colony. As part of this experiment, scientists were going to study a number of things, but I personally find it interesting because one of the researchers there was the famous evangelist of therapeutic fasting, Roy Walford.Who persuaded to starve (by consuming ~ 70% of calories from the daily value for almost two years) and the rest of the “crew members” for almost all 2 years. Here is Roy himself at the end of the experiment (left):

By the way, at that time he was 69 years old, and thanks to starvation, Roy was going to live up to 120. Alas, he did not succeed – he died at 79. But this does not stop the adherents of fasting … Recent debates with them led me to once again shovel various studies on calorie restriction, intermittent fasting, and other hormesis.

There is no doubt that both calorie restriction and intermittent fasting prolong the life of many short-lived animals – worms, flies, mice, rats, hamsters, etc. And it prolongs significantly – it comes to 50% increase in lifespan:

A if you start from early childhood and feed only every other day, then you can extend life in general by 83% (most likely due to a slowdown in sexual development, which usually triggers the aging process):

Effects of intermittent feeding upon growth and life span in rats.- PubMed – NCBI
Gerontology. 1982; 28 (4): 233-41.

However, no similar effects have yet been observed on long-lived animals. It would be unethical to starve people from infancy, but there were experiments on primates. I will analyze them in detail.

A total of three different long-term experiments have been conducted in history to evaluate the effect of calorie restriction on rhesus monkeys. The weakest study was conducted by the University of Maryland and published in 2004; it contained only 8 starving macaques, and only three of them died.Which did not stop the researchers from fantasizing about how might look like the survival curve in their study. Yes, yes, they took and drew:

The fantasy curve predicted a good increase in the median life expectancy (lifespan) by 20%, but, as further studies showed, fantasies were not destined to come true.

But the other two studies were quite large – several dozen monkeys in each.

The first study, known as the NIA study , was conducted at the American Science Agency’s nursery ( NIH Animal Center ) under the auspices of the American National Institute on Aging ( National Institute on Aging, NIA ).It started in 1987.

The second, known as the UW study , was conducted by the University of Wisconsin at Wisconsin National Primate Research Center . It started in 1989.

The most important thing to know about these studies is that caloric restriction in them did not extend the lifespan of primates by more than 5% (on average, for all groups). Five percent. And in some groups, macaques began to starve at the age of five, that is, quite early.

The best review article on of both studies was published in January 2017:

Caloric restriction improves health and survival of rhesus monkeys
Caloric restriction (CR) delays aging of model organisms, but whether it works in nonhuman primates has been …

Although it is rather promisingly titled, the results in it, as I said, are very modest:

As can be seen from the survival curves, there is no significant difference in lifespan between starving and starving groups.Moreover, in the NIA study, hungry macaques often lived fewer than who did not starve. (By fasting, I mean 30% long-term calorie restriction, if this point is not clear to someone).

By the way, there is one oddity – three years earlier, the same group of authors (mainly from Wisconsin) published much more optimistic results on the Wisconsin study (UW study):

Caloric restriction reduces age-related and all-cause mortality in rhesus monkeys
Caloric restriction extends the lifespan of various organisms but whether it works in monkeys is controversial.

True, in that study, the authors decided to separate “age-dependent” mortality and mortality from all causes (they do not disclose the criteria for age-dependent causes of death in the article), but even mortality from all causes in their starving group was slightly lower than in their article from 2017. Here are the survival curves:

And if we compare the curves of 2014 and 2017, they differ slightly:

For example, control individuals over 30 years old disappeared from the 2014 graph in 2017.But when dividing into males and females, it becomes noticeable that females have greater volatility in the effect of calorie restriction (they die faster, sometimes slower than control), and males have practically no effect.

By the way, it is worth noting that between the studies there was a slight difference in the diets of the control groups – in the NIA study the monkeys were not allowed to overeat, and in the UW study they were given food “from the belly”:

But in any case, the fact, that starving macaques, who for many years received 30% below the daily calorie intake, lived only slightly longer than their counterparts on various diets (or even less), I personally think that there is no point in “fasting” for the purpose of prolonging life …Not in long-term malnutrition, or in periodic multi-day “water” or “dry” hunger strikes, or in imitation of the effect of the latter with the help of FMD (fasting mimicking diet) or something similar.

At the same time, overeating, of course, is not worth it, since this life can already shorten (sugar in general is evil, diabetes and Alzheimer’s from it!), But you don’t need to torment yourself for the sake of the mythical 5 years of life either.

And in order to prolong life, you need to radically turn off the aging program. Without this, starve, do not starve, HEALTHY, not HEALTHY, but you will die anyway.Roy Walford and Savely Kramarov are witnesses of this.

UPD: Continuation of the banquet here.

Fight Hunger Patch

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    Autophagy: How Does Science Destroy Nutrition Myths?

    After the Japanese scientist Yoshinori Osumi received the Nobel Prize in Medicine, everyone started talking about autophagy! And a new trend has emerged in the wellness industry – the 16/8 fasting diet, also known as intermittent fasting.Fitness trainers, Hollywood stars and even top physicians are already using the principles of autophagy in their diet. After all, the temptation to be not only slim, but also healthy is too great! How does autophagy relate to natural weight loss and healthier body health?

    Yoshinori Osumi’s Experiments

    In the words of science, autophagy is the process of the cell processing its own constituents. First described by the Belgian biochemist Christian De Duve in 1963. But then the scientist did not know whether this ability of cells is innate, which genes are responsible for this and how to start the process.Only recently, in 2016, the Japanese scientist Yoshinori Osumi was able to experimentally prove this process, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Working with yeast cells, the scientist kept them without additional feeding – in an environment with low glucose levels.

    Observing the cells under a light microscope, he found that with low-calorie nutrition, the cytoplasm of the cells begins to activate, a large number of bubbles appear in it. As it turned out, when there is a lack of food, the cell begins to digest itself.In this case, the cell first “eats” old and damaged structures – accumulations of oxidized proteins, defective mitochondria. As a result, the cell is renewed and rejuvenated. However, Osumi also proved that if fasting continues for a long time, autophagy can destroy the cell.

    How to start the autophagy process ?

    Although the human body is not like yeast, our cells are also capable of autophagy at the genetic level. In humans, it is triggered by a lack of certain amino acids: leucine, arginine, lysine and methionine, which are rich in animal products.That is, we can safely say that even sometimes replacing animal proteins with vegetable ones, we contribute to the autophagy process, slow down the aging process and reduce the risks of tumor and cardiovascular diseases.

    With the help of starvation, cells can be made to starve, as a result of which they begin to “eat” themselves, throwing out the waste. But if you are constantly undernourished, then autophagy will not stop at the right stage, which will lead to the process of degeneration. Therefore, the fasting process is unthinkable without intermittent fasting.The most popular and affordable intermittent fasting scheme is 16/8, which implies 16 hours of fasting and 8 for meals. For example, a person can eat between 10 and 18 o’clock in the afternoon, drink water or herbal tea the rest of the time.

    University of Southern California Researcher Walter Longo has been studying fasting for many years. The scientist proved that intermittent fasting improves cognitive functions, increases tissue sensitivity to insulin, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, delays the appearance of tumors, prevents inflammatory diseases, promotes the regeneration of blood cells, and stimulates the immune system.Experiments on mice have confirmed that intermittent fasting is the prevention of diabetes mellitus, as well as tumor, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

    Fasting – a new approach to nutrition

    New knowledge about autophagy contradicts the principles of frequent fractional feeding. Scientific studies in mice have shown that for equal daily calories, mice fed 12 hours apart outperformed those who ate frequent and fractional meals. They improved their sleep and did not develop metabolic diseases.

    Therefore, if you do not have time to eat at work, and sit down at the table only in the morning and / or in the evening, this is great news, according to scientists. Eating 12-hour breaks or more also triggers autophagy. With this diet, body fat is reduced, but muscle is not lost, cholesterol and blood glucose levels are reduced.

    According to scientists, there are a number of biologically active substances that contribute to autophagy:

    • Spermidine (mushrooms, cheese, grapefruit)
    • Cucurbitacin I (bitter cucumbers)
    • Physalin A (physalis)
    • Dioscin (soy)
    • Resveratrol (red grape)
    • Curcumin (curry seasoning)
    • Catechin, epicatechin (green tea, cocoa)
    • 20 (S) -protopanoxatriol, magnoflorin (ginseng root)
    • Gamma-tocotrienol (brown rice)
    • Vitamin B3 (white meat, bread, oats, legumes, barley, mushrooms, peanuts, walnuts)
    • Vitamin D (fish, fermented milk products)

    Speaking of fasting, one of the latest medical innovations in the field of natural healing, weight loss and body cleansing should be noted – intravenous vitamin cocktails .Doctors recommend to carry out a detox program 1-2 times a year to maintain the normal functioning of the liver, biliary system, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys. Vitamin cocktails “Detox” and “Slim” is included in the top of the most popular IVTherapy clinic IV drips. The droppers contain a range of highly active vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote autophagy.

    As you can see, new scientific discoveries are not combined with the generally accepted norm in modern dietetics “to eat often and a little”.Be that as it may, but even the classic fasting diet cannot be practiced without a doctor’s recommendation. Therefore, dear readers, if you decide to experience intermittent fasting on yourself, do it under the strict supervision of your doctor and be healthy!