If you often skip breakfast, you may reduce your immunity.

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Breakfast is widely regarded as the most important meal of the day. However, a new study published recently revealed that there are potential downsides to skipping breakfast.

According to Medicalnewstoday, the results of this study were published in Immunity, a journal specializing in immunology, and were conducted in mice.

The research team compared mice that were able to eat whenever they wanted to mice that were unable to eat for several hours after becoming active. In just four hours, the scientists confirmed that the number of monocytes, a type of immune cell, in the bloodstream of the fast mice was reduced by 90%.

Bone marrow normally produces monocytes that patrol the body in search of pathogens. These cells also play an important role in inflammation and tissue repair. In further experiments, the team confirmed that immune cells return from the bloodstream to the bone marrow during the fasting period.

However, once the monocytes were able to feed again, they flooded back into the bloodstream, leading to an abnormally high concentration of immune cells known as mononucleosis.

The team then discovered how feeding and then fasting affected the mice’s ability to fight infections. After a 24-hour fast and 4-hour feeding, the rats were infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common cause of pneumonia, in the hospital. Compared to mice that continued to eat, the fasted mice died faster and more often due to increased inflammation in the lungs.

Monocytes play an important role in diseases such as heart disease and cancer, so it’s important to understand exactly how fasting affects monocytes, Svirsky said. In additional experiments, the team also showed that fasting causes changes in the brains of the mice that trigger the release of the stress hormone corticosterone.

Immunity responded to this stress signal by summoning immune cells to the bone marrow. This can help animals conserve resources in times of scarce resources. “This study shows that there is a connection between the nervous and immune systems,” said Dr. Svirsky.

However, in several experiments in this study, mice were fasted for 24 hours. In this regard, Dr Sachidananda Panda says the study may not reflect what happens in dietary plans in people who fast for much shorter periods of time. In addition, Dr. Panda noted that “human metabolism and immunity are not the same as those of mice.”