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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Aug;66(2):460S-463S.

Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

Abstract

Nutrition is a critical determinant of immune responses and malnutrition the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide. Protein-energy malnutrition is associated with a significant impairment of cell-mediated immunity, phagocyte function, complement system, secretory immunoglobulin A antibody concentrations, and cytokine production. Deficiency of single nutrients also results in altered immune responses: this is observed even when the deficiency state is relatively mild. Of the micronutrients, zinc; selenium; iron; copper; vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; and folic acid have important influences on immune responses. Overnutrition and obesity also reduce immunity. Low-birth-weight infants have a prolonged impairment of cell-mediated immunity that can be partly restored by providing extra amounts of dietary zinc. In the elderly, impaired immunity can be enhanced by modest amounts of a combination of micronutrients. These findings have considerable practical and public health significance.

PMID:
9250133
DOI:
10.1093/ajcn/66.2.460S
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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