Malnutrition and infection: an update

Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98 Suppl 1:S5-10. doi: 10.1017/S0007114507832879.


The original Scrimshaw, Taylor and Gordon conceptual framework for the interaction of nutrition and infection has well served the scientific community for almost half a century. At its core is the notion of synergistic (mutually reinforcing) and antagonistic (mutually nullifying) influences of the malnourished state on infectious conditions and vice versa. Research on a series of advancing fronts, however, has allowed the incorporation of both relevant public health issues (parasitosis, emerging infectious diseases, obesity and overweight, etc.) and advancing science (molecular immunology, oxidation biology, multiple micronutrient deficiencies, etc.). The present review is an interpretative update on close to 50 years of demographic and epidemiological evolution in the field of human nutrition and the implications for the interaction in the context of microbiological and immunological developments on the infectious side of the dialectic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / complications*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / complications*
  • Malnutrition / immunology
  • Micronutrients / therapeutic use
  • Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / immunology


  • Micronutrients