I have reviewed a small fraction of the vast literature on the influence of diet, food antigens, and environment on the immune response and would like to emphasize three points. Excess dietary lipid is thought to have a crucial role in inducing obesity and many age-related diseases including cardiovascular disease, malignancy and autoimmune diseases. Micronutrients are involved in protecting the functional integrity of the immune system, particularly to overcome the anti-oxidant deficiency present in refined diet components. Finally, environmental influences such as UV radiation or air pollutants may have an adverse effect in the modification of immune functions when combined with dietary and nutritional factors. It appears that future studies should be directed to understanding the overall interactions of diet and environmental factors, including those of food and viral antigens, and the impact that these have on the maintenance and gene expression of an active and vigorous immune system in healthy and diseased states.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy