Nutrition and Immunity: Balancing Diet and Immune Function : Nutrition Today

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Nutrition and Immunity

Balancing Diet and Immune Function

Percival, Susan S. PhD

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Nutrition Today 46(1):p 12-17, January 2011. | DOI: 10.1097/NT.0b013e3182076fc8

Immunity is a complex and redundant system that requires all nutrients for proper functioning. An immune response can be broken into 3 phases: surveillance, the response, and ending the response. Nutrient needs are greater during the response because of the need for cell proliferation and mediator synthesis. Chronic inflammation is the result of not ending the response and can lead to disease. A specific T cell, known as the gamma delta (γδ) T cell, is important as a first line of defense for eradicating pathogen and plays a critical role in ending the immune response when it is no longer needed. Dietary components of plant origin have the ability to prime γδ T cells, making them more effective for pathogen eradication. Some studies have shown that the cells have a greater ability to proliferate after people consume these plant compounds, and in addition, a reduction in the severity of cold and flu symptoms follows. Priming these cells may also help reduce chronic inflammation supporting dual roles for the γδ T cell. The immune system is supported by the classic essential nutrients as well as beneficial, nonessential phytochemicals

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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