Egypt J Pediatr Allergy Immunol, (April 2011), Volume No. 9, Issue 01  
Egypt J Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2011 ; 9 ( 01 ) : 3-13 -
, ESP - 33  
Review article
Immunomodulatory effects of food
Yehia M. El-Gamal   Ola A. Elmasry   Dalia H. El-Ghoneimy   Islam M. Soliman      
There is a strong consensus that nutrition plays a role in modulating immune function and that the immune system needs adequate supply of nutrients to function properly. The complexity of the immune system supports this idea because its optimal functioning involves a variety of biological activities including cell division and proliferation, energy metabolism, and production of proteins. The micronutrients most often cited as being important to immune function include vitamins A, C, E, and B6, folate, iron, zinc, and selenium. Other nutrients mentioned as playing a role in immune function include beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), vitamin B12, and vitamin D. On the other hand, over-activation of the immune system can lead to detrimental effects such as chronic inflammation or autoimmune diseases. In persons with allergies, a normally harmless material can be mistaken as an antigen. Some individuals develop an exaggerated immune response to food through developing food allergy which may be IgE mediated, non-IgE mediated, or mixed. This review will highlight the interaction between the immune system and some foods and food components in terms of modulation of immune functions by a variety of mechanisms.