Immune system and nutrition: interactions

When analyzing immune parameters, it is necessary to keep in mind the complex and articulated series of interactions and mutual control between the immune system, the endocrine system and the central nervous system.
A number of variables fall into this mix including stress, time and quality of sleep, level of physical activity, as well as physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol abuse, age, body composition and, last but not least, nutrition.
It has been known for a long time that an adequate diet is an important factor for the normal development of the immune system (in the growth phase) and its proper function throughout life. [1]
Malnutrition, on the other hand, is a condition that occurs when a person’s diet does not include the right amount and quality of nutrients, and this applies both to undernutrition and to overnutrition.
As reported, all immune functions rely on a proper qualitative nutrient supply. [2] Human studies have shown that supplementation with individual nutrients, as well as qualitative changes in certain macronutrients, affect specific immune functions even in well-nourished individuals. [3-5]
An individual’s overall nutritional status modulates subjective immune functions. Overeating, which causes obesity, and similarly undernutrition, negatively affect the functions of both innate and acquired immunity. In fact, let us not forget that obesity (especially if combined with a loss of muscle mass at the same time) is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation. [6]
The lack of some specific micronutrients is associated with an impaired immune response and an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases. Many human studies have shown that the supplementation of deficient micronutrients in the diet modulates immune function and resistance to infection. [7]
A balanced supplementation and the use of correct practices to help us modulate the variables that interact with the immune system can be very useful.
It is important to carry out regular physical activity (possibly in the morning), sleep at least 6 hours at night uninterruptedly, avoid cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse, in combination with the synergistic action of substances that help support the interactions and control of the immune system.
On the one hand, you should use a dietary supplement rich in important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc and vitamin E – substances that are key in a large number of biological functions related to the immune system [8-13]. 
On the other hand, taking a food supplement that covers the daily requirement of Vitamin D is useful not only for bone health, but also to support numerous actions of both the immune and the endocrine systems [14-19].

Authors: M. Lucafò, D. Boschiero

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