Nutrition Supports Immune Health
Quality nutrition is critical to support a healthy immune system. There is a strong relationship between poor nutritional status and compromised immunity. Patients who are at the highest risk for compromised immune health are those who do not get adequate amounts of food in their diets, do not have access to foods with key nutrients, are malnourished, or have certain health conditions that may require additional nutrition support.
Abbott, a trusted nutrition partner of AAPA, provides resources and science-based nutrition products with nutrients to help support patients’ immune health. Oral nutrition supplementation provides protein and essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system.
According to Abbott Nutrition, there are 6 key nutrients to support immune health:
- Protein is needed for the building of antibodies and immune system cells. In addition, some of the amino acids that make up proteins are important fuels for cells in the immune system.
- Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect the body by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy.
- Vitamin C helps the body build healthy skin and connective tissue, which help to block the entry of foreign microbes. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells (e.g., cells of the immune system) from damage caused by free radicals.
- Vitamin D helps to activate immune cells and properly regulate function.
- Zinc is needed for wound healing and for cellular production, which is important in the synthesis of new immune system cells.
- Fluids and Electrolytes: Consuming adequate fluids (water) and electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride help regulate the body’s temperature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that sick people need to drink extra fluids to keep from dehydrating.