Health Questions and Answers

Question: What particular vitamin deficiency are associated with decreased immune response?


Vitamin A has been the most extensively studied. Its deficiency causes declines in cellular immunity, as measured by delayed hypersensitivity skin testing. As the deficiency progresses, humoral immunity, as measured by serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) responses to a protein antigen (hemocyanin), also decline. Vitamin A antagonizes some of the deleterious effects of steroids on immunity and wound healing.

Vitamin E also has gained much attention. Fritsche et al showed that feeding fish oil, which is high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), severely reduced tocopherol content in immune cells, which was followed by lowered immune response.

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