Why do we lose the desire to eat while we are sick? (Ex. when having a cold, I lose the desire to eat)

Matthew Brown Matthew Brown Aug 05, 2018 · 1 min read
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When we are sick, our bodies go through a period of stress, and our immune systems work on overdrive to fight off the illness. It is common to feel fatigued, weak, and lose our appetite when fighting a cold or other illness. Despite not feeling hungry, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy diet to help our bodies recover and strengthen our immune system to fight off infections.

Chemicals called cytokines are largely responsible for causing a lack of appetite when we are sick. These chemicals are produced by our immune system in response to infections, and they trigger various responses in our body, including a reduction in appetite. When cytokines are released due to infection, they circulate in the body and signal the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates hunger and appetite, to decrease our hunger and increase feelings of fullness.

Our bodies also release stress hormones such as cortisol in response to sickness, which can impact our appetite. Cortisol is known to raise blood sugar levels and suppress hunger, which is why you may feel less hungry when feeling stressed or dysregulated.

Moreover, when we are sick, our digestive system slows down as our body directs its energy towards fighting off infections. This can cause discomfort when eating, making it less desirable to consume food.

It’s essential to maintain a healthy diet even when feeling unwell. Eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of fluids can help provide essential nutrients and minerals that our body needs for healing. Sticking to foods that are easy to digest, such as soups or broths, can help soothe the digestive system and provide essential nutrients to the body.

In conclusion, losing appetite while sick is a natural response to infection, and it is important to listen to our bodies while recovering. While it may be challenging to consume food, keeping our bodies fed and hydrated can aid in recovery, strengthen our immune system and feeling better much more quickly.

Matthew Brown
Written by Matthew Brown
Living life to the fullest, one adventure at a time.