Intermittent Fasting While Sick - Is It A Good Idea? [Science-Backed Tips]
Updated: Oct 8
Catch a cold and caught wondering if you should skip your Intermittent Fasting protocol for the day? Is it ok to fast while you're sick? Think about this: if you've ever had a pet that gets sick, it tends to quickly lose it's appetite and interest in food. There has to be a reason for this, right? It turns out the human (and animal!) body is pretty clever by reducing the urge to eat when you don't feel well.
Today I'm sharing 4 science-backed reasons you may want to consider continuing your Intermittent Fasting protocol while feeling under the weather.
1. Increased Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Production
That's certainly a mouthful! While following Intermittent Fasting, your body begins using fat as fuel. One major benefit of this process is the increased production of ketones in your body. One ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate has even been found to reduce the inflammatory response. (1)
2. Faster Turnover of Immune Cells
Your immune system, like every part of your body, requires a process of regeneration. This regeneration can help to boost your immune system by removing damaged immune cells and replacing them with healthy ones. (2) It turns out that fasting may actually help with this process. (2)
3. Discarding Sick Cells
Remember that thing called autophagy? Autophagy is the process of removing waste products and damaged organelles from your cell.(3) This process includes getting rid of dysfunctional mitochondria (your energy powerhouse) in order to make way for new, higher functioning mitochondria.(3) This means that your body may be more efficient at producing the energy needed to help fight the infection.
4. Turns on "Power Saving" Mode
You know when you're at 20% battery and your phone switches over to power saving mode? This process is meant to save energy for only the most crucial apps (like YouTube so that you can go and watch my videos... right?!). Breaking down food in your GI tract requires a ton of energy. Considering we all have fat stores that we can tap into, using energy to break down food while you're also fighting an infection isn't the best utilization of fuel. Instead, focusing energy on getting your body healthy should take priority.
Make Sure You're Also Doing This
If you choose to take advantage of Intermittent Fasting while you're sick, it's also important to keep a few key aspects in mind: hydration, minerals and natural remedies. When you're sick, you become more easily dehydrated, so sipping on extra water throughout the day (especially during your fast) is crucial.
With hydration in mind, you know that you also need to be balancing your electrolytes with minerals too. Add a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt to your morning water to get those minerals in.
Lastly, nature has given us a plethora of natural remedies to fight infections. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, anti fungal and antiviral that has been used for centuries as a safe way to control infection.(4)
Remember to always listen to your body and what it needs. If you feel the need to eat, by all means eat! If extra water and rest is on your mind, then stick with what feels right. And of course, always be sure to check with your doctor on what route is best for you and your health history.