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Revista Cubana de Medicina General Integral

versión impresa ISSN 0864-2125versión On-line ISSN 1561-3038


CASTELLANOS PUERTO, Edelis. Immunonutrition in the older adult. Rev Cubana Med Gen Integr [online]. 2007, vol.23, n.4. ISSN 0864-2125.

The objective of this paper is to make a bibliographic review on nutrition and immunity in the older adult to investigate the current state of this topic in the last years so as to develop a research project that contributes to establish useful therapeutic conducts that facilitate a full life to these people, and to prevent a series of disorders derived from the alterations in the immunity and nutrition of this age group. Many of these alterations cause the appearance in the older adult of tumoral processes, allergic diseases, severe infections and autoimmune diseases, leading to  longer hospital stays and making difficult, many times, an adequate recovery. Both the topic of nutrition and that of immunity have been widely studied by numerous authors. As to immunity, it has been proved by diverse studies that at advanced ages of life the counts of lymphocytary subpopulations are reduced, as well as the quality in their function. Moreover, those factors having to do with the survival of cells B, antibody producers, can be appreciated in experimental works. Other immunity studies refer to the repercussion of chronic malnutrition on the thymus, primary organ of the lymphoid system. Nervous anorexia and bulimia are mentioned as examples of malnutrition and immunity disorder models. As regards the topic of nutritional deficit at advanced ages, in a general way, we can say that the most significant studies deal with the reduction in the ingestion of antioxidant agents (vitamins E and C are stressed), of olygoelements (zinc, selenium, iron, other minerals, fermented olygosaccharides and  triacylglycerol, among others), and with the great importance of probiotics in the recovery of these persons’ malnutrition, as well as with the association of physical exercises with treatments.

Palabras clave : Nutrition; immunity; immunosenescence.

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