According to an article published in the Hindustan Times, a recent study made at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, fasting makes it more difficult for the body to prevent infections and also increases the chances of having heart disease. This study which focused on mouse models is a first of a kind in demonstrating that when meals get skipped, it makes the brain react in a manner that tends to be harmful to the cells.
Filip Swirski, who happens to be a Ph.D. and the Director of the research institute in Mount Sinai says that there is an increasing awareness that it is healthy to fast. And there indeed are multiple pieces of evidence of benefits that happen from fasting. But according to research made in his institute, there goes a caution too. Fasting leads to various health risks too. According to research, when a person fasts, a conversation occurs between the immune systems and the nervous systems.
To understand how a severe fast of twenty-four hours and a short fast affects immunity, researchers experimented with two groups of mice. One group was fed breakfast in the morning while the other group had not been given any breakfast. The researchers also collected the blood samples of both groups in the morning before feeding one group, and then consecutively after four and eight-hour later too.
They observed a difference in the monocytes which are created inside the bone marrow. Although all the mice had the same number of white blood cells in the mice that were kept in a fast after four hours major changes in the cells began to occur. Ninety percent of their white blood cells disappeared. And it disappeared further after eight hours. Whereas the white blood cells in the mice that were not fasting remained the same.
The monocytes in the bone marrow have a shorter lifespan. When it diminishes, it heightens the level of inflammation in the body. So, instead of protecting against viruses, the body becomes vulnerable to being affected by them. In this study, it has also been found that there establishes a connection between the immune cells and the brain cells while fasting. The study states that while fasting specific parts of the brain control the response of white blood cells. This is why it makes the mood both hungry and angry. As soon as the fast is broken it triggers the white blood cells and thus the hunger dies and the mood becomes normal again.
Dr. Swirski further stated that there is no proof of the metabolic benefits that people say they have when they fast. Due to fasting only the number of circulating monocytes gets reduced which people think is a benefit. But these monocytes get further increased when you break the fast, leading to more problems. This is why fasting always does not help to depend on your body type because it decreases the body’s immunity levels against diseases. White blood cells need to be higher in the bone marrow because it protects against cancer and heart disease.