There are many reasons and risk factors for a decrease in immunity
There are many reasons and risk factors for a decrease in immunity. A transient decrease in immunity is caused by insufficient protein and energy nutrition, a deficiency in the consumption of micronutrients, especially vitamins A, C, E, D, β-carotene, essential trace elements (zinc, iron, selenium, iodine), polyunsaturated fatty acids, the presence of chronic digestive diseases history of infectious diseases, taking antibiotics, exposure to environmental pathological factors, impaired intestinal microflora. Inadequate protein and energy intake are known to reduce antibody synthesis. Deficiency in the diet of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins A, C, β-carotene, zinc is accompanied by disorders in all parts of the immune response. Iodine deficiency reduces the activity of the phagocytic link, components of antioxidant protection (vitamins A, E, zinc, selenium, etc.), adversely affects the functional activity and vital activity of immunocompetent cells. Many acute and chronic diseases negatively affect immunity, which significantly reduces the child’s resistance to infection and other damaging factors. Therefore, in some cases, in order to increase the effectiveness of treatment, prevent serious complications and reduce the risk of an adverse outcome of the disease, drugs are prescribed that increase the functional activity of organs and tissues of the immune system (immunotropic drugs). Priority among them should be occupied by drugs of endogenous origin, possessing maximum immunomodulating activity and safety. First of all, these are interferon preparations. In order to maintain the age-related maturation of the immune system and its full functioning in the following years, it is necessary to daily receive immuno-nutrients (trace elements and vitamins) with food and take measures to preserve and restore normal intestinal microflora.
As can be seen from the above, in newborns all the basic mechanisms of nonspecific protection of the body against pathogenic bacteria and viruses are sharply weakened, which explains the high sensitivity of newborns and children of the first year of life to bacterial and viral infections. The described manifestations of immunodeficiency in children of the first years of life are usually evaluated as “physiological”, i.e. not going beyond age limits. However, the increased sensitivity to infections caused by these age-related immunological defects makes us look for ways of immunocorrection. The immunocorrecting effect of a balanced child nutrition, measures for hardening the body, and dosed physical activity has been repeatedly proven. Reserve opportunities for protecting the body of a newborn are associated with breastfeeding. Ready-made antibacterial and antiviral antibodies, secretory immunoglobulins A and G, get into the baby’s milk with the mother’s milk. The secretory antibodies go directly to the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and protect the baby’s mucous membranes from infections. Due to the presence of special receptors on the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract of the newborn, immunoglobulins G penetrate from the baby’s gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream, where they replenish the supply of maternal antibodies previously received through the placenta. Increasing the reserves of the immune system and preventing infections in newborns is achieved by breastfeeding.
Breast milk contains not only the complex of food components necessary for the child, but also the most important non-specific protection factors and products of a specific immune response in the form of class A secretory immunoglobulins. Secretory IgA delivered to breast milk improves local protection of the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal, respiratory and even urinary tract of the child. Breastfeeding through the introduction of ready-made antibacterial and antiviral antibodies of class SIgA significantly increases the resistance of children to intestinal infections, respiratory infections, otitis media. Immunoglobulins and maternal lymphocytes received from breast milk stimulate the baby’s immune system, providing long-term antibacterial and antiviral immunity. One of the components of breast milk, lactoferrin, is involved in the stimulation of immunological functions, being able to penetrate immunocompetent cells, bind to DNA, inducing transcription of cytokine genes. Direct antibacterial activity is possessed by such components of breast milk as specific antibodies, bacteriocidins, inhibitors of bacterial adhesion. All of the above requires great attention in the preventive work with pregnant women to clarify the benefits of breastfeeding. Useful are special educational programs that involve not only women, but also their husbands, parents and other persons who can influence the woman’s decision to breastfeed her baby.