Standard Article

Starvation: Metabolic Changes

  1. John T Brosnan1,
  2. Malcom Watford2

Published Online: 3 MAY 2005

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0000642



How to Cite

Brosnan, J. T. and Watford, M. 2005. Starvation: Metabolic Changes. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada

  2. 2

    Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 MAY 2005

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (14 APR 2015)


Animals, including humans, invoke a comprehensive programme of hormonal and metabolic adaptations that enable them to withstand prolonged periods of starvation. The main goal of such adaptations is to provide glucose for the brain and fat-derived fuels for most of the other tissues of the body. This is achieved through a well orchestrated pattern of tissue-specific fuel metabolism.


  • glucose;
  • fatty acids;
  • ketones;
  • brain metabolism;
  • insulin;
  • amino acids