Scientists at Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Icahn School of Medicine found that skipping breakfast causes a reaction in the brain that leads to a decrease in immune function. The study is published in the journal Immunity .
Scientists conducted an experiment on two groups of mice. One group ate breakfast immediately after waking up, while the other group did not eat breakfast. The researchers collected blood samples from both groups immediately after waking up, then four hours later, and eight hours later.
The researchers noticed a distinct difference in the samples taken after waking up. In particular, the scientists saw a difference in the number of monocytes: after four hours, their number decreased by 90% in the blood of mice that skipped breakfast. These immune cells are a type of white blood cell that is produced in the bone marrow. They play many important roles in the body, from fighting infections to heart disease and cancer.
The scientists found that in starving mice, monocytes returned to the bone marrow to hibernate. At the same time, the production of new cells in the bone marrow decreased. At the same time, monocytes began to age incorrectly, although they lived longer due to hibernation. Instead of protecting against infection, these altered monocytes caused inflammation, making the body less resistant to infection.
Biologists have also identified specific areas of the brain that controlled the response of monocytes during fasting. In recent years, numerous studies have shown the benefits of fasting (limiting food intake to a few hours a day) for weight loss, controlling diabetes and other diseases. The discovery of scientists will help to better understand the side effects of such nutrition.