Half a century after the conceptualization of immunonutrition, the aim of this special issue is to shed some light on the mechanisms underlying the relationship between nutrition and immunity, especially in early life, when diet may play an important role in the immune development of the infant. This issue comprises two research articles and four review papers describing this complex relationship in humans and also in animal models, either in health or in disease.
Diet and nutrition can affect the functioning of various immune parameters. Immune modulation through dietary strategies maintains immune homeostasis in the healthy population. The functioning of immunoreactive cells (T-cell and B-cell subsets) and functions of innate immunity are strongly related to protein nutritional status.
The dietary protein: carbohydrate ratio appears to be important in maintaining immune responsiveness. Immune function is the target for the development of functional foods. The functional foods that contain vitamins such as A, C, D and E, minerals as zinc and selenium and PUFAs such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) enhance immunity.
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