Micronutrients and Immunity

Nutrition, immunity and infection are inter-related.1 Malnourished persons show immune dysfunction, which predisposes them to infections. Conversely, micronutrient supplementation can enhance immune function and suppress infection. read more...

Malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies are common in infectious diseases and are the leading underlying cause of immune deficiency.2 Of the 13-14 million children dying annually in developing countries, most are malnourished and 70% die of infectious diseases. Immune deficiency as a consequence of malnutrition is the leading cause of death of children, the elderly, and adults, with more severe consequences than HIV-related causes.

Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies disrupt the function of various immune system components, weakening immune defenses and increasing vulnerability to various diseases. The illness in turn is accompanied by the loss of bodily nutrients, which further aggravate pre-existing nutrient deficiencies. If the latter are not addressed, the vulnerability to other diseases increases, triggering a spiral of diseases often impossible to control. Many of these infectious diseases can be prevented and controlled by simple and affordable measures, such as nutrient supplementation. ...read less

Nutrients support all the critical steps of our immunity for an effective immune response. These include:

  • Non-specific defense components such as the synthesis of interferon and function of phagocytic cells.
  • Protective anti-microbial barriers created by the skin, mucus membranes, tears, saliva, gastric juice, etc.
  • Production of antibodies and optimization of cell-mediated immunity. It is well established that micronutrients such as vitamin C, A, B-5, B-6, B-12, and folic acid as well as certain trace elements such as iron, zinc, selenium, copper and others are essential for optimizing white blood cell production and immune function.3,4

It is also known that a single nutrient does not ensure optimum health and a complete spectrum of micronutrients is needed to support the immune system to function at full capacity. This is the approach promoted by Cellular Medicine, which focuses on nutrient synergy to optimizing cellular metabolism and restoring its balance, which is essential for health. Our research has shown that nutrient synergy is more effective than single nutrients, or their random combination, in addressing specific physiological tasks. Nutrient synergy can improve the synthesis and function of infection-fighting blood cells as well as stop infectious agents from spreading.2 Thus, nutrient synergy can provide effective health solutions through improving the general immunity of the body and supporting its physiological functioning.

Information on how micronutrients can affect the course of AIDS and tuberculosis can be found here. Information on how nutrients affect avian flu and human influenza virus is summarized here.

References Cited

  1. Bhaskaram P Nutritional Review 2002; 60(5): S40-5.
  2. A. Niedzwiecki, M. Rath, Malnutrition: The Leading Cause of Immune Deficiency Diseases Worldwide, DRRI Brochure, 2005.
  3. Beisel WR Am J. Clin Nutr 1982; 35: 415
  4. Watson RR Nutrition, disease resistance, and immunity. New York, Marcel Dekker, 1984.