Story Of Immuno-Nutrients | Unilever Horlicks
Story Of Immuno-Nutrients
Your child is now at that stage of his life where his nutritional requirements are at their peak. Apart from the nutrients that are needed to help your child grow, there arises the need for special nutrients to build the body’s defence mechanism.
We need to understand the need for specific nutrition that for crucial role in supporting a child’s immune system which in is the foundation of physical growth and mental development.
The human immune system needs specific nutrients to keep it healthy and functional. These immune nutrients are the building blocks of the immune system. Research studies have shown that poor nutrition leaves children underweight, weakened, and vulnerable to infections, mainly because of compromised epithelial integrity and inflammation2.
While macro nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are required for building body tissues and providing energy, good micronutrient status is the key to a strong immune system and healthy metabolism. Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B6, B12, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium, Iron and Copper play important roles in fortifying the body against infections1. Research has shown that micronutrients are linked to the formation of antibodies and development of the immune system2. Without adequate intake of these micronutrients, your child’s immune system stops producing antibodies that put up a fight when germs and infections attack, in turn causing your child to fall sick often.
Adding fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, dairy products and pulses to your child’s diet is the right way to achieve optimal micronutrient status. At the same time, it is also important to note that at times the requirement for nutrients such Selenium (Se) and Vitamin D may not get fulfilled due to factors, such as poor bioavailability and lack of food sources.
Role of Vitamin D and Selenium in helping your child’s immunity
Vitamin D has been shown to enhance the body’s immune system’s ability to withstand infections2. The main source of Vitamin D is sunlight. But, with lack of living space, greater air pollution and proliferation of indoor activities, children often suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. It is important therefore, to supplement your child’s diet with Vitamin D in order to help develop strong immune functions and skeletal growth4.
Selenium is another very important nutrient, which Indian diets often lack. The human immune system comprises T-cells and B-cells that fight infections. Selenium helps in the proliferation and growth of these immunity-building cells. Deficiency of Selenium leads to loss of functions in neutrophils, another type of immune cells that kill microbes3.
- The importance for growth of dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D-accessed on 23 February 2016 - http://www.scielo.br/pdf/jped/v84n5/en_v84n5a03.pdf