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Nutrition for Better Immunity

 

Maria Katrina Florcruz, MD, DPPS

Monday, April 27th, 2020

The body’s immune system is designed to safely and effectively defend the body against toxins and infections. It has also various functions for the body’s overall well-being and maintaining balance against allergic disease.

Nutrition plays an important role for a healthy immune response. Immune system development is influenced by the mom’s nutritional status during pregnancy, as well as the nutrients acquired during early childhood. Macronutrients, like carbohydrates, and micronutrients, such as iron, zinc, folic acid, and vitamins, are necessary for an efficient immune system.1

Research Advancements in Nutrition

Recent science breakthroughs have shown that probiotics and human milk oligosaccharides have benefits in the immune system and allergy prevention.

1) Probiotics and allergy prevention

Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when given in adequate amounts, confer a positive influence on health. Bifidobacterium lactis is a probiotic which has shown beneficial effects in allergy prevention, particularly in atopic dermatitis. B. lactis also helps in stabilizing the gut barrier function and influences the regulation of the allergic process.2

2) Human Milk Oligosaccharides

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) are the third largest solid component in human breastmilk. HMOs enhance the growth of Bifidobacteria in the gut of breastfed infants. Bifidobacteria helps in the maturation of the gut’s immune system.3

Healthy diet plays a key role in the child’s immune system. Giving a balanced diet with the right amount of macro- and micro-nutrients helps build and strengthen immunity. At the same time, new studies show that probiotics and HMOs have benefits in allergy and infection prevention.

 


 References:

1. Uday A, et al. The role of nutrition in immunity in infants and toddlers: An expert panel opinion. Clin Epidemiol Glob Health 2018;6:155-159.

2. Isolauri E, et al. Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema. Clin Exp Allergy 2000;30:1604-1610.

3. Bode L. Human milk oligosaccharides: Every baby needs a sugar mama. Glycobiology 2012;22:1147-1162.

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