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Nutrition, immunosenescence and infectious disease: an overview of the scientific evidence on micronutrients and on modulation of the gut microbiota

Nutrition, immunosenescence and infectious disease: an overview of the scientific evidence on micronutrients and on modulation of the gut microbiota
Nutrition, immunosenescence and infectious disease: an overview of the scientific evidence on micronutrients and on modulation of the gut microbiota
The immune system is key to host defence against pathogenic organisms. Aging is associated with changes in the immune system, with a decline in protective components (immunosenescence), increasing susceptibility to infectious disease, and a chronic elevation in low grade inflammation (inflammaging), increasing risk of multiple non-communicable diseases. Nutrition is a determinant of immune cell function and of the gut microbiota. In turn, the gut microbiota shapes and controls the immune and inflammatory responses. Many older people show changes in the gut microbiota. Age-related changes in immune competence, low grade inflammation and gut dysbiosis may be interlinked and may relate, at least in part, to age-related changes in nutrition. A number of micronutrients (vitamins C, D and E and zinc and selenium) play roles in supporting the function of many immune cell types. Some trials report that providing these micronutrients as individual supplements can reverse immune deficits in older people and/or in those with insufficient intakes. There is inconsistent evidence that this will reduce risk or severity of infections including respiratory infections. Probiotic, prebiotic or synbiotic strategies that modulate the gut microbiota, especially by promoting the colonization of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, have been demonstrated to modulate some immune and inflammatory biomarkers in older people and in some cases to reduce risk and severity of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, although again the evidence is inconsistent. Further research with well-designed and well-powered trials in at-risk older populations is required to be more certain about the role of micronutrients and of strategies that modify the gut microbiota-host relationship in protecting against infection, especially respiratory infection.
2156-5376
Calder, Philip
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6
Ortega, Edwin Frank
74b047e7-db93-400e-993a-46ac0546d5f8
Meydani, Simin N.
353e3b0e-c15a-482d-873a-ea33e0d4878c
Adkins, Yuriko
754e77b8-4a4f-42f9-bc0f-fd9032ac284b
Stephensen, Charles B.
da652784-bbdc-493c-9a04-ff566cd01543
Thompson, Brice
02b6b88e-c1a8-43df-9c1c-3277c2d3b237
Zwickey, Heather
6fe73175-6272-455c-a2b3-0463065095ee
Calder, Philip
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6
Ortega, Edwin Frank
74b047e7-db93-400e-993a-46ac0546d5f8
Meydani, Simin N.
353e3b0e-c15a-482d-873a-ea33e0d4878c
Adkins, Yuriko
754e77b8-4a4f-42f9-bc0f-fd9032ac284b
Stephensen, Charles B.
da652784-bbdc-493c-9a04-ff566cd01543
Thompson, Brice
02b6b88e-c1a8-43df-9c1c-3277c2d3b237
Zwickey, Heather
6fe73175-6272-455c-a2b3-0463065095ee

Calder, Philip, Ortega, Edwin Frank, Meydani, Simin N., Adkins, Yuriko, Stephensen, Charles B., Thompson, Brice and Zwickey, Heather (2022) Nutrition, immunosenescence and infectious disease: an overview of the scientific evidence on micronutrients and on modulation of the gut microbiota. Advances in Nutrition. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

The immune system is key to host defence against pathogenic organisms. Aging is associated with changes in the immune system, with a decline in protective components (immunosenescence), increasing susceptibility to infectious disease, and a chronic elevation in low grade inflammation (inflammaging), increasing risk of multiple non-communicable diseases. Nutrition is a determinant of immune cell function and of the gut microbiota. In turn, the gut microbiota shapes and controls the immune and inflammatory responses. Many older people show changes in the gut microbiota. Age-related changes in immune competence, low grade inflammation and gut dysbiosis may be interlinked and may relate, at least in part, to age-related changes in nutrition. A number of micronutrients (vitamins C, D and E and zinc and selenium) play roles in supporting the function of many immune cell types. Some trials report that providing these micronutrients as individual supplements can reverse immune deficits in older people and/or in those with insufficient intakes. There is inconsistent evidence that this will reduce risk or severity of infections including respiratory infections. Probiotic, prebiotic or synbiotic strategies that modulate the gut microbiota, especially by promoting the colonization of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, have been demonstrated to modulate some immune and inflammatory biomarkers in older people and in some cases to reduce risk and severity of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, although again the evidence is inconsistent. Further research with well-designed and well-powered trials in at-risk older populations is required to be more certain about the role of micronutrients and of strategies that modify the gut microbiota-host relationship in protecting against infection, especially respiratory infection.

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Accepted/In Press date: 4 May 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 457368
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/457368
ISSN: 2156-5376
PURE UUID: 6e74240c-1eb7-4593-82b8-eaeca1636e00
ORCID for Philip Calder: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6038-710X

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Date deposited: 06 Jun 2022 16:34
Last modified: 24 Jul 2022 01:34

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Contributors

Author: Philip Calder ORCID iD
Author: Edwin Frank Ortega
Author: Simin N. Meydani
Author: Yuriko Adkins
Author: Charles B. Stephensen
Author: Brice Thompson
Author: Heather Zwickey

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