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Nutrition and Exercise Immunology

March 29, 2000

Complete Document

Detail Summary

Active, Most Current

Additional Comments:
ISBN: 978-0-8493-0741-6
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Product Details:

  • Revision: March 29, 2000
  • Published Date: March 29, 2000
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 204
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


The immune system is a remarkably adaptive defense entity that is able to generate an enormous variety of cells and molecules capable of recognizing and eliminating a limitless variety of foreign invaders. Nutrition impacts 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 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, vitamins A, B-6, C, and E in the maintenance of optimum immune function.

The earliest research on nutrition and immune function focused on malnutrition. It has long been known that malnourished children have a high risk of severe and life-threatening infections. Protein-energy malnutrition adversely affects virtually all components of the immune system. Current investigation has centered on the role of specific nutrient deficiencies and nutrient supplements on immune function in a wide variety of human subjects including the elderly, children and adults from developing countries, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, eating-disorder patients, and healthy adults.

A burgeoning area of scientific endeavor is the influence of nutrition on the immune changes that occur with acute and chronic exercise. Many components of the immune system exhibit change after prolonged heavy exertion, indicating that the immune system is stressed, albeit transiently, following prolonged endurance exercise. There is evidence that risk of respiratory infection may be increased when the endurance athlete goes through repeated cycles of heavy exertion, has been exposed to novel pathogens, or experienced other stressors to the immune system including lack of sleep, severe mental stress, malnutrition, or weight loss. Although endurance athletes can lower infection risk through various hygienic practices, they must undergo intense training cycles to compete successfully. As a result of this data, interest in nutrition and various nutrient supplements with the potential to influence exercise-induced alterations in immunosurveillance has grown. In this volume, leading investigators from around the world review the link between nutrition and immune function, with special application to athletic endeavor.