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Researchers Discover Direct Link Between Nutrition And The Immune System

January 20, 2010: 08:59 AM EST
German researchers have discovered a nutrition-based mechanism that regulates vital immune functions in healthy people who are hungry or exercising. Low energy and insulin levels place great stress on the body's cells, making them vulnerable to harmful pathogens. But the newly discovered defense mechanism invokes a transcription factor that switches on genes for immune defense proteins when energy is needed. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are released and dissolve pathogen cell walls. The mechanism “directly depends on how much and what we eat,” a researcher says, adding that “the barrier between body and outside world is fortified in a potentially dangerous situation.”
Prof. Joachim Schultze, et al. , "Study shows nutrition has a direct influence on the immune system", EurekAlert (future publication in Nature), January 20, 2010, © Nature Publishing Group
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