Nutrition affects the development of the immune system, both in the growing fetus and in the early months of life. Nutrients are also necessary for the immune response to pathogens, so that cells can divide and produce antibodies and cytokines. Many enzymes in immune cells require the presence of micronutrients, and critical roles have been defined for zinc, iron, copper, selenium, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E in the maintenance of optimum immune function. Carbohydrate intake can influence immunity positively before, during, and after exercise or an athletic event.

Expanding Area of Scientific Study

Nutritional immunology is a rapidly growing area of scientific scrutiny, and a few key principles have emerged:

  • Almost all nutrients in the diet play a crucial role in maintaining an “optimal” immune response. ...
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