Talking Nutrition Editors
Discover everything you need to know about how nutrition can help enhance the immune system! Downlaod DSM’s new whitepaper ‘Nutritional solutions to optimize immunity’.
The immune system is the body’s natural defense against harmful bacteria, viruses and allergens. An effective, fully functioning immune system is essential in protecting the body. As populations grow, life expectancy increases and new environmental factors, such as air pollution, place increased stress on our bodies, it’s more important than ever to ensure optimal immune health for all individuals.
There is increasing evidence that nutrition can help enhance the immune system and DSM’s new whitepaper, ‘Nutritional solutions to optimize immunity’, explores the role nutrition can play in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Here we share the 5 key facts you need to know about the importance of nutrition in optimizing immune responses for populations worldwide:
In a recent consumer survey, 61% of respondents said they were worried about the health of their immune system2. As a result, consumers are exploring ways to boost their immunity through diet (36%) and dietary supplements (24%). With 71% of consumers implementing measures to improve their diet and nutrition, increase levels of physical exercise or consume dietary supplements, consumers are more aware than ever before of factors that can help improve their immunity.
Comprised of two lines of defense: the innate immune system, providing a rapid, non-specific response; and the adaptive immune system, generating a strong, long-lasting, specific response, the immune system evolves throughout life. Infants and the elderly are particularly susceptible to infections and diseases that can occur as a result of a weak or under-developed immune system. Solutions, therefore, need to be developed that support the body’s defense mechanism throughout life.
Nutritional interventions have shown to strengthen immunity in communities where nutrient gaps and deficiencies are high. Specifically, vitamins A, B6, C, D3 and E, alongside other micronutrients such as selenium and zinc, have been key in developing effective solutions, representing a clear opportunity for dietary supplement manufacturers to close the nutrient gap.
The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, which play a critical role in the development of a robust and balanced immune system. Specific alterations to the composition of the gut microbiota are often associated with gastrointestinal and systemic disease and there is also evidence to show that malnutrition can have a negative impact on gut microbial composition. Prebiotics and probiotics have, therefore, been explored as a potential solution to support optimal gut and immune health.
There is an increasing demand for ingredients that are well-known in supporting the immune system, such as vitamin C and D3, to help defend against infection and neutralize harmful free radicals, pollutants and toxins. While many essential nutrients may be consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle, getting optimal nutrition from diet alone can be difficult. Dietary supplements and fortification of on-the-go food and beverages, such as juices, tea and yogurts, make it easier for consumers to support their immune system3.
To learn more about the role nutrition can play in maintaining a healthy immune system and nutritional solutions to optimize immune responses for population groups around the world, download the new whitepaper from DSM, ‘Nutritional solutions to optimize your immunity’.