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December, 2004 - Nr. 12


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Nutrition and Immunity

by Dr. Paul Jaconello
Doctor Jaconello is the Medical Director of the Jaconello Health Centre for Nutritional and Preventive Medicine

The way we eat and our lifestyle choices can play a key role in our ability to resist infection. Excessive intake of refined carbohydrates has been shown to inhibit the ability of our white blood cells to mobilize and to attack invading microorganisms. Also, high levels of stress can impact the ability of the immune system to respond to the invasion of bacteria and to ingest and destroy cancer cells lurking in the body.

Aging is associated with a decline in the vigour of the immune system to respond to and deal with invaders. This process begins in the 40 to 50 year age group and continues on a downward path until body death.

Parallel with this decline of immune status is the high prevalence of nutritional deficiencies. Several causes contribute to this phenomenon and these include the use of multiple drugs, physical disabilities, depression and maldigestion and malabsorption.

There are ways that we can help to reduce the risk of infections. The immune system depends on non-specific stimulation from bacterial antigens in the throat and upper gut. In fact, brushing teeth and eating clean food can be unphysiological. This dysregulation favours allergy and increased susceptibility to infection.

Correct dental hygiene should involve firstly, brushing the teeth with a wet brush and not toothpaste. The resulting saliva loaded with bacteria should be swallowed. Then the teeth should be brushed again using toothpaste and spat out. This is like using a bacterial vaccine to cause a non-specific stimulation of the white blood cells.

In fact several bacterial vaccines for oral consumption are available in Europe which have been tested for efficacy with many double blind trials showing a protective effect in influenza epidemics. These are not available in North America but the use of probiotics such as Lacotobacillus and Bifidobacteria can stimulate immunity non-specifically without colonization of the intestinal tract and endow some increased level of immunity.

The use of nutritional supplements with a mixture of vitamins and trace elements can show a marked reduction in the incidence of common infections and a consequent reduction in the use of antibiotics.

Since multiple nutritional deficiencies are common affecting at least one-third of persons 50 years and older, it is wise to consider the use on micronutrient supplements to improve immunity and reduce the incidence of many infections.

Paul Jaconello, M.D.

Dr. Jaconello is the Medical Director of the Jaconello Health Centre for Nutritional and Preventive Medicine.


The Jaconello Health Centre and other health letters


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