Immunobiology of mild micronutrient deficiencies

Br J Nutr. 2001 May:85 Suppl 2:S75-80. doi: 10.1079/bjn2000297.


Nutrition is a critical determinant of the outcome of host microbe interactions through a modulation of the immune response. Besides macronutrient malnutrition, deficiencies of several macronutrients also influence immune homeostasis and thus affect infection-related morbidity and mortality. Deficiencies of micronutrients like vitamin A, iron and zinc are widely prevalent among populations living in developing countries. Besides their severe deficiencies, subclinical deficiencies are known to impair biological functions in the host, immune function being one of them. The effects of these micronutrients on various immune mechanisms are briefly reviewed in this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / immunology
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / deficiency*
  • Micronutrients / immunology
  • Phagocytes / immunology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin A / immunology
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / immunology
  • Zinc / deficiency


  • Antioxidants
  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc