The increase of the elderly population is a world-wide common phenomenon. According to some projections, in the year 2050, older people will constitute about 22% of the world population. Immune system deregulation in aging individuals is mainly a result of changes in cell mediated immunity, characterized by an increased number of immature T lymphocytes (CD2+CD3-), a decrease of T virgin lymphocytes (CD45RA), an increase of memory T lymphocytes (CD45RO), and by an increase in T helper 2 cells associated with a decrease in T helper 1 subset. Although changes in humoral immunity are less accentuated in the aging process, lower affinity for antigens and a narrower spectrum of the antibodies were observed in older people, as a dysfunction of immune response. Recent studies show that, in the aging, the supplementation of specific micronutrients is effective in restoring the normal immune response.
aging; nutritional status; micronutrients; immune system