Nutritional Deficiencies & Chronic Infections
picture source: Dance Informa written by Jennifer Coomes CN, E-RYT
It’s time to dig into new topics in the nutrition world, and today, we’re going to learn more about nutritional deficiencies in how they are related to chronic infections. What a perfect time and season to dig in as we shift from the heat of the summer into the cooler temperatures, wind, and increased susceptibility to viruses, germs, and chronic inflammation due to less activity. Before talking about those nutritional deficiencies, it’s important to understand some fundamentals of chronic infection.
Most disease and infection is driven by inflammation. Chronic infections like respiratory diseases or viruses that hang out in your system and flare up due to stress, pathogens, or lifestyle factors can make us feel more fatigued, sick, and depressed. Inflammation is a response in the body that is activated due to injury, infection, and stress. This response is natural in acute situations and turns off naturally when you don’t need it. Chronic inflammation is caused by an inflammatory response that doesn’t shut off when it should because of factors like stress, lifestyle, diet, or infection load that keeps this response turned on.
This entire load on the inflammatory and immune response is called the allostatic load (Guidi et al, 2021). Your ability to come out of a chronic infection has a lot to do with the ability for your body to manage a chronic inflammatory response. If this is not managed well, the body progresses further into a disease process, unwelcome symptoms increase and persist, and infections have trouble resolving (Guidi et al, 2021). This is why it’s important to look into why these infections persist like this, and sometimes, the root cause of these problems lie in nutritional deficiencies.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies like zinc can affect neutrophils and natural killer cell functions of the immune system (Katona and Katona-Apte, 2008). Vitamin A deficiency can affect how the digestive system works and lung health while Vitamin E affects the ability of the immune system to make T-cells to ward off the flu (Katona and Katona-Apte, 2008). Selenium is a major immune system booster and this mineral deficiency can affect immune cell function and the function of the humoral immune system, which affects the body’s defenses against pathogens (Oz, 2017). Below, you’ll see some common deficiencies associated with chronic infections and what kinds of foods you can use to help you make sure you’re ready this season to keep your immune system healthy.
While these are only general recommendations, I definitely encourage you to make an appointment for a Clinical Nutrition Evaluation at Essence Health and Research (EH&R) to learn more about your specific nutritional deficiencies and how best to resolve them. Look below for ways to learn more and I’ll catch up with you again soon!
Please look at the Clinical Nutrition services below for more information on Essence Health and Research services and reach out to Jennifer Coomes CN, E-RYT for an appointment here!
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Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis (FBCA)
An FBCA helps to let you know more about vitamin, mineral, and macronutrient deficiencies based on your most recent blood labs from an annual physical or doctor's appointment. It will also tell you more about organ function and possible health conditions that can be reversed if addressed early. This is an excellent place to start for learning more about brain health! This service can be done virtually, by phone, or in person.
Clinical Nutrition Evaluation and Follow Up Visits
A Clinical Nutrition initial evaluation will include your FBCA and if you buy a package, it will also include follow up visits depending on the package you buy. This is the best option for someone who really needs a full Clinical Nutrition assessment that includes a functional nutrition approach along with vitals, biometrics/body composition assessment, diet assessment, stress assessment, nutritional planning and more. This service can be done in some parts virtually, but it is highly recommended to come in person for the initial evaluation for the full service.
Trauma Nutrition 12 Week Unlimited Visit Program
This Clinical Nutrition program is for anyone who has a history of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual trauma or mood disorder (anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc) along with medical conditions and food concerns. This is an unlimited visit 12 week program with Jennifer Coomes CN, E-RYT to help fully evaluate medical conditions and trauma with an established nutrition program and in depth Clinical Nutrition mentorship to ensure results. The FBCA, Clinical Nutrition evaluation, Clinical Nutrition follow up visits, and Restorative Yoga is included in this package/program.
Oz, H. S. (2017). Nutrients, Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases. Nutrients, 9(10), 1085. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9101085
Wang, M. X., Koh, J., & Pang, J. (2019). Association between micronutrient deficiency and acute respiratory infections in healthy adults: A systematic review of observational studies. Nutrition Journal, 18(1), 80. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-019-0507-6
Millward, D. J. (2017). Nutrition, infection and stunting: The roles of deficiencies of individual nutrients and foods, and of inflammation, as determinants of reduced linear growth of children. Nutrition Research Reviews, 30(1), 50–72. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954422416000238
Office of Dietary Supplements—Zinc. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements—Copper. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements—Selenium. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements—Vitamin D. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements—Vitamin C. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements—Vitamin E. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements—Vitamin A. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements—Iron. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
Im, J. H., Je, Y. S., Baek, J., Chung, M.-H., Kwon, H. Y., & Lee, J.-S. (2020). Nutritional status of patients with COVID-19. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 100, 390–393. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.08.018
Katona, P., & Katona-Apte, J. (2008). The Interaction between Nutrition and Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 46(10), 1582–1588. https://doi.org/10.1086/587658
Guidi, J., Lucente, M., Sonino, N., Fava, G.A., (2021). Allostatic Load and Its Impact on Health: A Systematic Review. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 2021, Vol. 90, No. 1—Karger Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1159/000510696