Sep 15, 2017 in Informative

Introduction

Immunity is extremely important nowadays. Different infections are major reasons of diverse diseases. It has also been estimated that 1.8 million deaths occur annually during the 1st year of life from infections, predominantly in developing countries (Luebke, 2004: 16). In fact, nutrition is closely related to immune susceptibility. Along with undernutrition, infection is a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world (Cadler, 2000:4). Thus, human diet and nutrition significantly influence immune responses of the body.

Human infections are caused by microorganisms (viruses, fungi, and bacteria) that do not normally produce disease in healthy individuals but can cause disease in individuals who are immunosuppressed (Luebke, 2004: 16).That is why it is necessary to define how to avoid diverse infections and analyze their impact on human health. The knowledge of the immune system has always been increasing. Nevertheless, it is difficult to study immune system, because immune cells are completely invisible to the naked eye.

The state of our digestion is extremely important to the health of our immune system, as the gastrointestinal mucosa is the major contact area between the human body and the external world of micro flora (Phelps, 2011: 13). Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to define the impact of infections, caused by malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency on human health.

Immune System

To start with, it is necessary to define immune system. The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by "foreign" invaders (Kelly, 2007:1). Therefore, it is protecting our body from diverse microbes. The immune system is made up of an integrated network of organs, tissues, cells, and molecules which work together to resist infection while maintaining tolerance to harmless factors such as "self" antigens and allergens (Cadler, 2007: 17).

Therefore, immune system has a complicated structure. The organs of the immune system are called lymphoid organs because they are home to lymphocytes, small white blood cells that are the key players in the immune system (Kelly, 2007:3). They are located in different parts of our body, such as digestive tract or lungs. Lymphocytes can travel throughout the body using the blood vessels ort through a system of lymphatic vessels that closely parallels the body's veins and arteries (Kelly, 2007:4).

Immune suppression, immune deficiency, and immune compromised are somewhat redundant, non quantitative terms that reflect a reduced capacity of the immune system, and are often used interchangeably in immune toxicology (Luebke, 2004: 16). It is extremely important to preserve immune system in good condition. The reason is that immune suppression is a serious health issue, because it usually leads to development of some diseases. For example, the respiratory system is the most vulnerable target for pathogenic infectious agents since it is directly exposed to the external environment (Luebke, 2004: 16). That is why it is necessary to consider diverse factors, which can cause immune deficiency.

Biological Roles of Nutrients in the Processes of Infection and Immunity

Many different studies proved that there are particular groups of nutrients, which are required for sustaining optimal level of immune system. Therefore, the lack of these nutrients provides a room for new infections. For example, it is not surprising that protein deficiency diminishes immune responses and increases susceptibility to infection because immune defenses are dependent upon cell replication and the production of proteins with biological activities (Cadler, 2000:14).

Various degrees of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are also contribute to decreased resistance. For instance, undernutrition exacerbates the severity of oral infections and may eventually lead to their evolution into life threatening diseases such as noma, a dehumanizing or facial gangrene (World Health Organization, 2007). Therefore, malnutrition can impact many organs.

Although there are many immunization programs, malnutrition still plays an important role in causation of diseases. Undernutrition compromises barrier function, allowing easier access of the host to eliminate pathogens once they enter the body (Cadler, 2000:3). Dietary intake with the lack of essential nutrients is a major cause of malnutrition. Malnutrition also takes several forms that often appear in combination, such as protein energy malnutrition and deficiencies in micronutrients such as vitamin A, Fe, Zn and I (Cadler, 2000:4).

There are many reasons of undernutrition. First of all, environment has a significant impact on human diet. For example, poverty or poor healthcare services make people easily exposed to the infections. It is important to stress that water pollution as well as food are usually the most important agents of infections. Thus, developing countries always have the higher proportion of people, who suffer from malnutrition and water pollution. For example, it is estimated that 168 million children under 5 years for age are malnourished (as measured by weight-for-age); 76% of these children live in Asia, 21% in Africa and 3% in Latin America (World Health Organization, 1998).

In order to protect our bodies from different infections we need to have a healthy diet. In fact, effective protection against invasion of the host by micro-organisms requires an intact skin surface and intact linings of the naso-oesphageal, gastrointestinal and genitor-urinary tracts, since these provide a barrier to invasion (Cadler, 2000:8). That is why in order to improve our immune system certain nutrients are need to be increased in our diet.

For example, it is necessary to consume wide range of vitamins, because the lack of vitamins has many negative health implications. Vitamin A deficiency increases diverse human vulnerability to different life threatening infections. Thus, diarrhea, respiratory infections, measles, chickenpox and HIV infection are all associated with the development of vitamin A deficiency (Cadler, 2000:9). The lack of iron in human organism also has serious health implications. In fact, Fe deficiency is the most common nutritional deficient worldwide, affecting 1 billion people, particularly women of reproductive age and young children (Cadler, 2000:9). The lack of these vital vitamins makes our body predisposed to different infections.

Adequate protein intake is also vital for protecting the body from infections. The reason is that inadequate protein intake leads to suboptimal tissue repair and reduced resistance to infection (Cadler, 2007: 17). In addition, despite the fact that protein helps fighting different bacteria, it can also help to cure different diseases. For example, team of researchers led by scientists at Rockefeller University have discovered that a protein could provide new mechanisms for treating diseases like tuberculosis, which is increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotic medication. Therefore, the lack of such vital components as protein can have a serious impact on our health (Bogunovic, 2012: 2).

Digestion and Nutrient Metabolism

Immune and infective pathologies, usually caused by poor diet have many health implications. For example, infections are causing diverse problems with digestion. Therefore, it is also necessary to explore different metabolic responses to infections. Healthy metabolic rate is extremely important for absorption of all necessary nutrients. Thus, one of the indicators of problems with metabolism is gut dysfunction, such as diarrhea, which can be caused by the lack of necessary nutrients.

For example, one metabolic consequence of infection is a decrease in serum Fe, Zn, and vitamin A (Cadler, 2000:12). There are contrasting views as to the role of this. One position is that the nutrients are preferentially moved to tissue sites to promote host defense and the other is that they are cleared from the circulation in order to deprive pathogens of nutrient that they need (Cadler, 2000:12). As a result, it is quite hard to restore normal circulation. Metabolic rate always has a serious impact on weight loss or gain. Thus, diminished weight gain, is also an indicator of infection and it has been associated with increased rates of diarrheal and respiratory diseases in a number of studies (Cadler, 2000:12).

Different eating disorder illnesses, such as anorexia also change metabolic rate and contribute to infections. Thus, lack of appetite and weight loss in inflammatory diseases are common components of a set of nonspecific symptoms called sickness behavior that occurs under conditions of almost any infection or inflammation (Stofkova, 2000). In such cases it is important to define this important metabolic syndrome as cachaxia. In this condition, inflammation, anorexia, insulin resistance and increased muscle protein break down are present and result in depletion of skeletal muscle with or without a loss of fat mass (Evans, 2008).

Recovery and Prevention

When immune system malfunctions, it can unleash a torrent of diseases, from allergy to arthritis to cancer to AIDS (Woods, 1991). That is why it is necessary to prevent immune deficits. Therefore, nutrients are essential for providing the body with energy, building and repairing tissues, protecting the body against infections and regulating body processes (Disele, 2001:4). These are some the basic components, which should be included in the diet. For example, key nutrients required for an efficient immune response include vitamin A, Fe, Zn and Cu (Cadler, 2000:3).

It is also extremely important for parents to include all nutritional components in their children's diet. For example, some evidence that provision of the vitamin A, Fe and Zn does improve immune function in undernourished children and can reduce the morbidity and mortality of some infectious diseases (Cadler, 2000:3). That is why it is necessary to understand your dietary intake.

It is also important to be careful while choosing a diet for weight loss. The reason is that starvation brings serious physical consequences such as loss of brain tissue, impaired immune response, anemia, and a loss of digestive function that worsens malnutrition (Rolfes, 2008: 54).The diet should always be well balanced and do not cause extreme starvation. Well-balanced diet comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, nuts and seeds, beans and whole grain products, and low-fat dairy products will ensure a variety of nutrient intake (Tenney, 2011: 7).

Conclusion

Nowadays, human diet and nutrition are extremely important. They significantly influence immune responses of the body. In fact, infection is a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world (Cadler, 2000:4). Therefore, the state of our digestion is extremely important to the health of our immune system. Immune system is protecting our body from diverse microbes. It is also a complex system, which is a network of cells, tissues, and organs.

It is extremely important to preserve immune system in good condition. The reason is that immune suppression is a serious health issue, because it usually leads to development of some diseases. There are many factors, which can cause immune deficiency. For example, the lack of these nutrients provides a room for new infections. Many studies proved that there are particular groups of nutrients, which are required for sustaining optimal level of immune system.

Various degrees of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are also contribute to decreased resistance. Undernutrition compromises barrier function, allowing easier access of the host to eliminate pathogens once they enter the body (Cadler, 2000:3). Some of the reasons of malnutrition are environment as well as unhealthy diet. For example, poverty, water contamination or poor healthcare services make people easily exposed to the infections. In addition, in order to protect our bodies from different infections we need to have a healthy diet.

For example, it is necessary to consume wide range of vitamins. For example, the lack of iron in human organism is already affecting 1 billion people, particularly women of reproductive age and young children (Cadler, 2000:9). Adequate protein intake is also vital for protecting the body from infections. The reason is that inadequate protein intake leads to suboptimal tissue repair and reduced resistance to infection (Cadler, 2007: 17).

Infections also cause diverse problems with digestion. Healthy metabolic rate is extremely important for absorption of all necessary nutrients. Metabolic rate always has a serious impact on weight loss or gain. Therefore, different eating disorder illnesses, such as anorexia also change metabolic rate and contribute to infections. One of the most important metabolic syndromes is cachaxia. In this condition, inflammation, anorexia, insulin resistance and increased muscle protein break down and result in depletion of skeletal muscle (Evans, 2008).

All in all, immune system malfunctions has serious health implications. That is why it is necessary to prevent immune deficits. For example, there are certain nutrients, which are essential for providing the body with energy as well as building and repairing tissues. It is also extremely important for parents to include all nutritional components in their children's diet. It is always necessary to understand your dietary intake. Therefore, daily or weight loss diet should always be well balanced and do not cause extreme starvation. Well-balanced diet can be solution to many malnutrition and immune deficit problems.

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