Feed a cold, starve a fever?

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2002 Jan;9(1):182-3. doi: 10.1128/cdli.9.1.182-183.2002.


An English old wives' tale advises us to "feed a cold and starve a fever." Here we report that the nutritional status modulates the T helper 1 (Th1)-Th2 balance of activated T cells in human volunteers. Food intake resulted in increased levels of gamma interferon production, whereas food deprivation stimulated interleukin-4 release.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eating
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Th1 Cells / physiology*
  • Th2 Cells / physiology*


  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma