Marilyn's Column | January/2017
Topic: The Liver and Nutritional Immunity?
Today's Question: What is Nutritional Immunity - Did you know that our body even has such a mechanism?
Answer: Yes, and the Liver is a first line
The Body's Nutrition Immunity is an important function of the immune system response that actively kills pathogens. This mechanisms limits nutrient availability to the pathogen. New research shows interleukin-22 (IL-22) plays an essential role in resolution of infections at epithelial barrier sites, including skin, lungs, and intestines. [Sakamoto et al.] (1)
The cytokine interleukin-22 (IL-22) limits the availability of iron to the pathogens by promoting increased production of heme scavengers from the liver. Point here is -
Keep your liver healthy and your skin will love it.
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.
Immunocompetence, without adequate nutrition, the immune system is clearly deprived of the components needed to generate an effective immune response. Human malnutrition is usually a complex syndrome of multiple nutrient deficiencies.
Antioxidant nutrients, for example, play a pivotal role in maintaining the antioxidant/oxidant balance in immune cells and in protecting them from oxidative stress and preserving their adequate function [Victor & de la Fuente, 2002]. The addition of the deficient nutrient back to the diet can restore immune function and resistance to infection. However, excessive amounts of some nutrients also impair immune function [Calder and Kew, 2002].
Undernutrition, essential malnutrition, is e to insufficient intake of energy and macronutrients and/or due to deficiencies in specific micronutrients impairs the immune system, suppressing immune functions that are fundamental to host protection. The most consistent abnormalities are seen in cell-mediated immunity, complement system, phagocyte function, cytokine production, mucosal secretory antibody response, and antibody affinity. [Marcos A, et al. ECJN 2003]