Immunity and Nutrition

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary. If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual. You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.

Jump to:    Immunity Articles         Supplements That Support Immunity

            Carotenoids            Co-Q10           Echinacea       Omega-3 Fatty Acids

                      Pre/Probiotics       Selenium       Vitamin C        Vitamin E         Zinc

Immunity and Nutrition Articles

The Chiropractic And Immune Function Page
This page contains research describing the impact of chiropractic care on immune function.

Cancer Prevention by Dietary Bioactive Components That Target
the Immune Response

Curr Cancer Drug Targets 2007 (Aug); 7 (5): 459–464

Dietary bioactive food components that interact with the immune response have considerable potential to reduce the risk of cancer. Reduction of chronic inflammation or its downstream consequences may represent a key mechanism that can be reduced through targeting signal transduction or through antioxidant effects. Major classes of macronutrients provide numerous examples, including amino acids such as glutamine or arginine, lipids such as the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, DHA or EPA, or novel carbohydrates such as various sources of beta-glucans.

Early Life Infections Improve the Function of the Immune System
American J Clinical Chiropractic 2006 (Apr); 16 (2): 22–25

This collection of medical citations presented by Dan Murphy, DC demonstrates that early exposure to antibiotic use and Pertussis vaccination contribute to the development of atopic disorders such as asthma, and hay fever, and may also be associated with the onset of pediatric lymphoblastic leukemia. Our thanks to the American Journal of Clinical Chiropractic for releasing this article exclusively at Chiro.Org!

Modulation of Cytokine Expression by Traditional Medicines:
A Review of Herbal Immunomodulators

Alternative Medicine Review 2006 (Jun); 11 (2): 128–150 ~ FULL TEXT

Modulation of cytokine secretion may offer novel approaches in the treatment of a variety of diseases. One strategy in the modulation of cytokine expression may be through the use of herbal medicines. A class of herbal medicines, known as immunomodulators, alters the activity of immune function through the dynamic regulation of informational molecules such as cytokines. This may offer an explanation of the effects of herbs on the immune system and other tissues. For this informal review, the authors surveyed the primary literature on medicinal plants and their effects on cytokine expression, taking special care to analyze research that utilized the multi-component extracts equivalent to or similar to what are used in traditional medicine, clinical phytotherapy, or in the marketplace.

Portal to the Interior: Viral Pathogenesis and Natural Compounds
that Restore Mucosal Immunity and Modulate Inflammation

Alternative Medicine Review 2003 (Nov); 8 (4): 395–409 ~ FULL TEXT

Since mucosal immunity forms the first line of defense against many commonly transmitted pathogens, restoring and maintaining mucosal immunity is critical for disease prevention and intervention. This article discusses the nature of mucosal immunity and its relationship to viral infections and other conditions, and reviews natural compounds that help restore mucosal immunity.

Nutritional Strategies to Boost Immunity and Prevent Infection
in Elderly Individuals

Clin Infect Dis 2001 (Dec 1); 33 (11): 1892–1900

Older adults are at risk for malnutrition, which may contribute to their increased risk of infection. Nutritional supplementation strategies can reduce this risk and reverse some of the immune dysfunction associated with advanced age.

Military Strategies for Sustainment of Nutrition
and Immune Function in the Field

Committee on Military Nutrition Research Food and Nutrition Board
Institute of Medicine (1999)

This IOM document mentions that more military work days are lost from immune-related illness than are lost from casualties in the field. It then goes on to review the benefits of supplementation to support the immune system. Review the chapters on Vitamins C & E (page 229),   Essential Fatty Acids and Trace Minerals like zinc, copper, and selenium.

Plant Sterols and Sterolins:
A Review of Their Immune-Modulating Properties

Alternative Medicine Review 1999 (Jun); 4 (3): 170–177 ~ FULL TEXT

Beta-sitosterol (BSS) and its glycoside (BSSG) are sterol molecules which are synthesized by plants. In animals, BSS and BSSG have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, anti-pyretic, and immune-modulating activity. You also might enjoy this more recent 2001 Monograph.

Effects of Long Term Vitamin-Mineral Supplementation
on Immune Response in Older Adults

J American College of Nutrition 1998; 17: 511

Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a complete vitamin and mineral supplement, or a placebo consisting of calcium and vitamin D only. Compared to placebo, those taking the supplement experienced a significant 65% fewer days of infection-related illness over the study period compared to placebo. These results confirm that adding a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement to the typical diets of healthy older individuals may lesson infection related illness and enhance immune function.

Nutrients and HIV

   Part I: Beta Carotene and Selenium
Alternative Medicine Review 1999 (Dec); 4 (6): 403–413 – FULL TEXT

HIV infection involves a progressive immune dysfunction and loss of CD4 T cells leading to opportunistic infection, wasting syndrome, malignancies, or CD4 depletion significant enough to qualify as CDC-defined AIDS. Several research studies have indicated that the apoptosis of CD4 cells contributing to HIV progression does not result solely from HIV infection, but largely from antioxidant imbalances in the host. [1-3]

   Part II: Vitamins A and E, Zinc, B-Vitamins, and Magnesium
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Feb); 5 (1): 39–51 – FULL TEXT

Vitamin A deficiency is a common occurrence in HIV infection, and serum levels appear to decrease as the disease progresses. [1] Low serum levels of vitamin A were found in 12-19 percent of HIV-positive, asymptomatic subjects in the United States. [1, 2] Vitamin A deficiency was found in an increasingly higher proportion of women than men (p< .01) in an HIV-infected, intravenous drug-using population. [3]

   Part III: N-Acetylcysteine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, L-Glutamine, and L-Carnitine
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Aug); 5 (4): 290–305 – FULL TEXT

HIV infection and the progression to AIDS involves a long period of latent infection characterized by low levels of viral replication that slowly increase to the point of immunosuppression. [1] This progression is accelerated if the latent (non-reproducing) provirus in the nuclei of the lymphocyte is activated. [2] Oxidative stress induces both viral activation of HIV and DNA damage, leading to immunosuppression. [3-5] It is now generally accepted that a central pathologic feature of HIV disease involves oxidative stress, leading to programmed cell death (apoptosis) and depletion of CD4 cells. [6, 7]

Life in the Balance - The Critical Need
for Omega-3 Supplementation

Natural Medicine Online 2000 (Jul)

Imagine the impact of a shift in dietary patterns so rapid and radical that it adversely effects thousands of bodily metabolic functions simultaneously. Perhaps a world-wide famine, global water or atmospheric pollution and/or radiation could pose such a threat by contaminating or robbing our food of nutrients. The fact of the matter is the scenario given here is not hypothetical but exists here and now. Though not as obvious as a global catastrophe, the true cause is much more insidious and began with the industrial revolution and the processing of food stuffs to facilitate national and global transportation, packaging and stability.

Solving Sinusitis Naturally
Nutrition Science News (Apr 2000)

The therapeutic goal for acute sinusitis is to clear the URI and reestablish proper sinus drainage. Most doctors prescribe antibiotics. This practice, however, is being scrutinized because most cases of acute sinusitis are viral and therefore not responsive to antibiotics. There is also growing concern among doctors that antibiotic overuse is causing a proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. [2, 3] A better strategy is to strengthen the immune system so it can counteract the underlying respiratory infection. Several nutrients can help your customers with acute sinusitis.

Aging Gracefully With Antioxidants
Nutrition Science News

Living well includes getting enough relaxation, exercise, community spirit and nutritious foods. It may also include taking vitamins. An avalanche of research data suggests that high intakes of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and supplements lowers the risk of old-age diseases. [1]

Becoming Supplement Savvy
Nutrition Science News

No one practice cures or prevents all illness and degeneration, though any one of them will help to some degree. Nutrients work in complex synergies. A look at the literature suggests that almost any one nutrient helps with almost any health problem. For example, vitamins C and E help with heart disease, but so do essential fatty acids, selenium and magnesium, the B complex vitamins, some flavonoids, as well as the amino acids carnitine, lysine and proline and the accessory nutrient Co-Q10. [18-20]

Defeating Free Radicals: The Key to Longevity
Renewal: The Anti-Aging Revolution

Great moments in human history often begin inauspiciously. Such was the case in December 1945, when the wife of Denham Harmon handed him the latest issue of the Ladies' Home Journal. It was opened to an article titled "Tomorrow You May Be Younger," written by William L. Laurence, science editor of the New York Times. This article, heralding the work of a Russian gerontologist on an "anti-reticular cytotoxic serum," sparked Dr. Harmon's interest in finding an answer to the riddle of aging--a subject that scientists of the time knew absolutely nothing about.

The Free Radical Theory of Aging
Nutrition Science News (Dec 1999)

Free radicals disrupt the normal production of DNA and RNA and alter the lipids, or fats, in cell membranes. They also damage cells lining blood vessels and interfere with the production of prostaglandins, which are derived from essential fatty acids and regulate many physiological functions. Partly as a result of free radical damage, aging leads to alteration of proteins (cross-linking).

A Nutritional Approach to Immunity
Nutrition Science News (September 1999)

The human body is continually protecting itself from the outside world. To shield itself from harmful environmental stimuli, the body employs its cells, biochemicals, organs and tissues. The complex interaction of these physiological systems produces immunity. Some of these systems have dual roles: The digestive system, for example, not only extracts and absorbs nutrients from foods but also destroys pathogenic organisms that may be present in foods. Other immune system components are more focused: White blood cells are specifically designed to destroy invading organisms.

Immune Enhancers
Nutrition Science News (February 1999)

The immune system is the body's ultimate defense against infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. It also protects against genetic mistakes made in cellular replication that result in tumor or cancer growth. The immune system is complex, containing many interacting blood cells, proteins and chemicals. A healthy immune system contains elements that are in balance with one another. In a compromised immune system, the components are unbalanced and unable to protect the body against harmful agents or processes.


Supplements That Support Immunity

Carotenoids and Immunity

Co–Q10 and Immunity

Echinacea and Immunity

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Immunity

Pre/Probiotics and Immunity

Selenium and Immunity

Vitamin C and Immunity

Vitamin E and Immunity

Zinc and Immunity

Thanks to Pub Med for their
excellent MEDLINE search tool!


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