Could fasting lower the amount of spike protein produced after vaccination?
A simple hypothesis
Spike protein levels post-vaccination
Why it is that some people suffer really obvious adverse effects after vaccination with one of the Covid vaccines, while others seem fine?
To back up for a moment, the Covid-19 vaccines that are available in the U.S. work by getting the body to produce a slightly modified version of the spike protein, which is a type of protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 that helps the virus infect cells. In a previous article I showed the evidence that the spike protein is cytotoxic.
Recently a paper came out in the journal Cell, which showed that both spike protein and vaccine mRNA could be found in the body as late as 60 days post vaccination. This was actually the maximum amount of time the researchers looked at, so spike protein and vaccine mRNA could conceivably last even longer.
It’s especially shocking to find out that the vaccine mRNA could last so long in the body. Normally mRNA lasts on the order of minutes or hours. I’ve heard some say it could last for a few days, although I haven’t found any references for that. But even if that were true, it’s unheard of for mRNA to last for two months or more.
This is because the mRNA in the Covid vaccines is not like “normal” mRNA; several tweaks were made to protect the mRNA from degradation, including replacing uridine with N1-Methylpseudouridine. It was also codon-optimized, which can affect stability.
In the third bullet point:
“Our cells break down mRNA and get rid of it within a few days after vaccination.”
They had no way of knowing that.
There is a lot we don’t know about the spike protein post-vaccination. We don’t know how much gets produced in the body, or for how long, or how much it varies across individuals, or where exactly it goes in the body, etc.
All of this would have been important information to have to understand the potential adverse effects someone could undergo post-vaccination.
That’s not to say that the quantity of spike protein is the only relevant factor when it comes to adverse effects.
For example, some people might have particularly bad reactions to the vaccines if they have been injected intravenously instead of intramuscularly. Other possible mechanisms of action behind the adverse effects are discussed here, here, here, and here.
However, my guess is that there is huge variability in the amount of spike protein that gets produced, and that this is highly relevant to the severity of adverse effects post-vaccination.
I’m also going to guess that fasting could help lower the amount of spike protein that gets produced.
Fasting: Quick Intro
What is fasting?
Fasting is the act of not eating for a certain stretch of time. The exact definition of what counts as a “fast” varies depending on who you ask, but let’s say that it can range from not eating for 12 hours to multiple days or weeks or more. Some people will say that not eating for only 12 hours should, strictly speaking, be called “time-restricted eating,” but for the purposes of this article we don’t need to be strict about the exact definition of fasting. In fact some of what gets said about fasting here could possibly be applied to time-restricted eating or calorie restriction in general.
Now, nutrition advice can be of varying quality. Lots of people on the internet have an opinion on nutrition or the best kinds of diets, and a good chunk of it could be described as sort of “woo woo.” By that I mean there isn’t much data behind it- you know, like the stuff you might see on the goop website. Apologies if you like goop but… I hate goop.
But fasting is not one of those things. There is a vast body of literature suggesting that it could help reduce inflammation, obesity, hypertension, and even extend longevity. The literature on fasting, or calorie restriction in general, is overwhelming, but you can start with these reviews on fasting and longevity here or here, or for a more casual review see here.
Fasting promotes autophagy
Fasting leads to profound changes in metabolic pathways and cellular processes that, among other things, promote stress resistance and induce autophagy. Autophagy, which means “self eating,” is when a cell digests components of itself. It’s a cleanup process that removes and recycles misfolded proteins and damaged cell components. For more on autophagy and fasting, see here.
More generally, autophagy could be filed under “catabolism,” which is a set of metabolic pathways that breaks molecules down into its constituents. For example, proteins are made of amino acids, and breaking proteins down into its constituent amino acids is an example of a catabolic process.
This in contrast to “anabolism,” which is going from smaller building blocks to making larger macromolecules. It’s a “building-up” process. Creating proteins from amino acids is an anabolic process.
Organisms need to constantly do both catabolism and anabolism in order to survive, but depending on the conditions, one may dominate over the other for periods of time.
From a practical standpoint, it makes sense that catabolic processes like autophagy would increase under fasting or nutrient deprivation. If an organism is starving, it would make sense for it to go into self-preservation mode and recycle nutrients scavenged from bits of old cells or non-essential proteins, since new nutrients aren’t coming in.
By the way, remember the finding discussed earlier from the journal Cell, where some people still had spike protein after two months post-vaccination. Is it possible that fasting could help clear out lingering spike protein, or cells that contain spike protein? It would be great if someone could test that out.
How fasting affects protein synthesis
It would also make sense that overall protein production would decrease, especially when amino acids, which are what proteins are made of, are in short supply.
Here’s just one example of a study that found this. Men who were fasted for at least 15 hours were compared to men who were fed hourly with a liquid food that provided some protein. Researchers found that the fed men had markedly increased rates of whole-body protein synthesis, including skeletal muscle synthesis, compared to the fasted men.
They also found that “Muscle RNA activity (g of protein synthesized/g of RNA) in the fed state was double the value in the fasted state, the difference being entirely due to alterations in the protein synthesis rate.”
Translation: the way proteins get produced in the body first starts with RNA, specifically mRNA. The mRNA encodes for a specific string of amino acids. The mRNA gets “translated” by ribosomes, which are responsible for “reading” the mRNA code and stringing together the right amino acids from it. Then when this string of amino acids are folded a certain way, it makes a specific kind of protein.
What the study found was that for a given amount of mRNA, more protein was produced from it in fed men, compared to fasted men.
I hope you’re starting to see the connection with mRNA vaccines. If someone were given one of these vaccines, and they wanted to make sure they didn’t produce too much spike protein, isn’t it plausible that fasting would lower the overall protein synthesis rate, including protein synthesis from the vaccine mRNA, all other things being equal?
Remember also that the mRNA vaccines are supposed to be given intramuscularly and it’s supposed to get taken up by muscle cells. Under fasting conditions, we’d expect that the muscle cells would lower the rate of protein synthesis, if we are to believe the study just cited.
Also, being on a low protein diet for an extended period of time might also do the trick. Again, it would be great if someone could test this out.
How fasting affects ribosomes and translation
How does fasting lower protein synthesis?
One of the ways in which protein synthesis is modulated, is through a protein complex called mTORC1, which senses and responds to environmental cues, including nutrient and growth factor availability.
When mTORC1 is active, such as under nutrient-rich conditions, it represses catabolic (“breaking down”) processes like autophagy, and promotes anabolic (“building up”) processes such as protein synthesis, as well as lipid and nucleotide synthesis.
Among other things, it acts on other proteins like ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6K). S6Ks promote ribosome production and thereby increase translational capacity.
Recall that ribosomes are responsible for mRNA translation, or the process of decoding the mRNA and stringing together amino acids from it, to ultimately make a protein.
So activating mTORC1 ultimately leads to more ribosomes, which means cells can “translate” more mRNA and produce more protein. The opposite happens when mTORC1 senses that there are not enough nutrients.
There’s a lot more that could be said about mTORC1, as well as other proteins that are involved in regulating protein synthesis, but we don’t need to turn this into a dissertation (or ten).
Why do we see a higher rate of adverse effects in younger people?
It seems like severe adverse effects are seen at a higher frequency in younger people compared to older people, particularly when it comes to heart issues like myocarditis.
It’s unclear whether this is just because it’s easier to detect adverse events in younger people compared to older people.
But assuming younger people are more susceptible to adverse reactions from these vaccines, what could be the reason behind this?
This is pure speculation of course, but could it be that in the balance between catabolism and anabolism, or “breaking down” vs “building up,” in young people who are still growing, there’s something that tips the balance towards anabolism, at least in certain tissues, and when those tissues take up mRNA vaccine, they produce more spike protein?
Also, mTORC1 responds to growth factors, resistance exercise like body building, and even sports supplements like creatine. And there’s evidence that androgens like testosterone can activate mTOR and other pathways that lead to increased protein synthesis (see here).
It seems like all these things could affect the dynamics of protein production from mRNA vaccines, especially in young athletes.
Other things to control the amount of spike protein
Controlling the rate of protein synthesis through fasting would not be the only way to modulate how much spike protein gets produced from the vaccines.
DISCLAIMER: Please do not take any of this as medical advice.
We might achieve similar results to fasting by inhibiting mTORC1 with drugs. An example is rapamycin, otherwise known as sirolimus. In fact, “mTORC1” is short for “mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1.” It is so named because the protein is a “target” of rapamycin.
Another way to modulate the amount of spike protein produced from mRNA vaccines would be to have better control over the degradation of mRNA. Why do some people still have mRNA from the vaccines in their bodies after two months? Is there anything that could be done to accelerate the process of vaccine mRNA degradation?
Then there are considerations of timing. When is the most dangerous time for someone who has just gotten vaccinated? Does this correspond with the time when they are producing spike protein at the highest rate? Or is the most dangerous time when spike protein has built up over a certain threshold in certain tissues?
Does circadian rhythm have anything to do with this? Circadian rhythm is the natural, internal process by which we regulate sleep-wake cycles. It’s part of the reason our bodies know to get sleepy at night, at least when it’s not dysregulated. All kinds of processes go up or down according to time of day. Could vaccination earlier in the day lead to a higher (or lower) “spike” in spike protein, compared to getting vaccinated later in the day?
As a side note, I find it sad that a lot of medical doctors don’t seem to know anything about fasting. It seems like the doctors that do promote it tend to be practitioners of “functional medicine,” which gets lumped in with “alternative medicine.” Read how Wikipedia describes “functional medicine” here. It starts by saying that it is:
a form of alternative medicine that encompasses a number of unproven and disproven methods and treatments.
I’m not saying that everything in functional medicine is legit, or that even the science on fasting is settled. But it’s undeniable that fasting leads to profound changes in the body, and there’s very strong evidence that a lot of those changes are beneficial. It cannot be ignored as a factor in health.
And since I’ve started to notice all the seriously messed up things about how medicine is done these days (for more on that see parts 7 and 8 here), and especially how our health institutions are incentivized to sell pharmaceuticals, I can’t help but think that the benefits of fasting and other cheap health interventions, have been purposely deemphasized. I’m not necessarily saying that the science on it has been suppressed, but I am surprised that I don’t hear about it more from medical doctors (outside of the “quirky” kind) or from our health institutions.
By the way, if you weren’t already familiar with fasting and wanted to look into it more, there are some great resources out there. You can start with podcasts or articles from Peter Attia, Rhonda Patrick, Jason Fung, and Ben Greenfield. And if you do decide to try fasting, start gradually (like with time-restricted eating) and don’t end up deficient on important vitamins and minerals (Chris Masterjohn is a great resource on that).
Again DISCLAIMER: Please do not take any of this as medical advice.
But if you wanted to look up more on fasting I can’t stop you.
It’s sad that so little is known about the dynamics of spike protein production from the Covid vaccines. And it’s sad that we have to guess at ways to modulate the amount of spike protein produced, or lower the rate of adverse reactions.
As Robert Malone said on his Substack, this technology is “immature.”
My guess is that if anyone has any data about what affects protein production from mRNA products, it’s the folks who were working on mRNA technology before they were applied to Covid vaccines. This would include work on mRNA cancer therapeutics. I’m guessing that the companies that have worked on this would want to know what causes degradation of their products, or what sorts of conditions could lead to their mRNA being used more efficiently, aka produce more protein per mRNA.
I don’t know whether that data is out there, but I’ll write more on this if I find anything interesting.
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