Micronutrients and malnutrition - The infection cycle

By Heruvim78 | The longevity gene | 19 Jan 2021

I do not know how much good i do with all my specialized posts. I try to make the information accessible, and i would really like to find out if you used any the information from my posts related to vitamins, minerals or any other health related stuff i wrote, and how it helped you. Thank you for sharing it!

So, today I will speak about the infection cycle. As you may know, if the nutrients falls short (and essential ones like Zinc or vitamin A too), then your immune status can be compromised, the intestine cells may be damaged, and this will make you more vulnerable to infections. Then pathogens like E.Coli and Salmonella can cause diarrhea , leading to malabsorption and large quantities of nutrients being excreted. If you have infection and fever, more micronutrients like Zn and Vitamin A lost via urine. Appetite can be reduced, and all of this together will deplete the body of nutrients and make them slower to replenish. 

Diarrhea is the main cause of mortality for under age of 5 in low income countries, as severe dehydration is the culprit leading to death. During diarrhea the children lose nutrients and have difficulty absorbing what they need. This can even slow growth. Instead of antibiotics wiping the microbiota even further, they should prevent dehydration and supplement diet with Zn tablets for 2 weeks. Oral dehydration solution (ORS) is needed to stop dehydration. Antibiotics work only if the infection is bacterial, if it is viral or fungal is useless. Having Zn supplements as a mother will make babies have less diarrhea episodes, even when babies had Zn supplements in the first 6 months of life, this prevented diarrhea.  

As far as we know, diarrhea and pneumonia are the leading causes of death for children under 5. Three or more stools per day means diarrhea, and there are few kinds of it:

- acute watery diarrhea, lasting several hours or day (cholera),

- acute bloody diarrhea (dysentery),

- persistent diarrhea, 14 days or longer.

Oral rehydration solutions and Zn supplements can reduce severity and duration by 25%. Safe water, adequate sanitation and good hygiene can prevent diarrhea, but not everyone has access to clean water, toilet or soap (if you have all three, time to count your blessings). 

Next on the list, malaria, transmitted by a mosquito, is an infection with Plasmodium, a parasite. Micronutrients deficiency (especially Zn and vitamin A) and general undernutrition render the child more susceptible to malaria, weakening the immune system and reducing the number of T lymphocytes. Being an acute febrile illness, malaria can lead to Iron deficiency and anaemia (red blood cells production decreases and red blood cell destruction - haemolysis - increases). Pregnancy also reduces immunity, so being a pregnant women you are more susceptible to malaria. Even asymptomatic, it can affect the iron absorption so iron/folic acid supplements during pregnancy and iron for children are some methods used now in malaria endemic areas. 

Next post will be about the food fortification. 

Yours truly,

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Disclaimer: This text is also re-published on my personal blogs, such as this one.

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The longevity gene
The longevity gene

And when i say longevity i mean a bigger health span, as opposed to the well known life span. It is not enough to live longer, if you are not healthy, so do not forget what our immortal James Dean said: 'It is important to die young, but as late as possible!'. I will explore many unorthodox ways, ranging from gut microbiota manipulation to ancient Ayurveda ritual, trying to combine them in an ample resource, from which you can get and apply whatever is better for you at the present moment.

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