Inflammatory Effects of Micronutrients

Inflammatory Effects of Micronutrients

Leyla Tevfikoğlu Pehlivan (University of Trakya, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3594-3.ch004
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Lifestyle and dietary habits are important factors in different levels of daily food intake and the occurrence of many chronic diseases. Consumption and composition of foods and nutrients, lifestyle, physical activity level, type of occupation, stress, and smoking and alcohol use can affect health in different ways and can trigger inflammation processes. Daily diet plays a major role in the formation of inflammatory responses. With the occurrence of inflammation diseases, the level of food intake changes and it is not possible to provide adequate and balanced nutrition. Especially in the case of inflammation, energy and nutrient intake levels are negatively affected, especially vitamins A, E, D, iron, and folate levels decreased. In studies, it was shown that vitamins A, E, D, K, C, iron, selenium, and zinc show anti-inflammatory properties. The intake of these nutrients in accordance with the requirements is an important step in the prevention and treatment of many diseases. Further research is needed to examine the relationship between different nutrients and energy intake levels.
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Inflammation is a complex and cellular response of living tissue to injury. Although defined holistically and histologically, it may have local and/or systemic effects. Factors such as age, gender, obesity, smoking, alcohol use, the level of physical activity, and mainly the diet affect the inflammatory response. Many authorities, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO), emphasize that nutrition has a considerable effect on the prevention of noncommunicable diseases. Unhealthy diets and negative behavior patterns in the lifestyle pave the way for the development of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. Consuming food that is rich in trans fats and poor in natural antioxidants and fibers, and which contains refined carbohydrates, simple sugars, saturated fats, and w-3 fatty acids activate innate immunity, decrease the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines while increasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (Casas & Estruch, 2016).

The complex, total and/or synergistic effect of nutrients and the components of nutrients can positively or negatively affect health and inflammatory process. It is difficult to predict the effects of nutrients on health, especially in the long term. While high consumption of certain nutrients such as whole-grain products, vegetables, fruit, fish, fiber, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and carotenoids are associated with low inflammation parameters, saturated and trans-fatty acids, and consumption of high levels of glucose and fatty meals increases postprandial inflammation and triggers the proinflammatory process (Tomkins, 2003).

The inflammatory process is complicated and takes place through the production of many chemical mediators and many cell types that provide immunity to prevent diseases. The inflammatory process consists of the synthesis and release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, inhibition of pro-inflammatory signaling steps, alteration of inflammatory mediators and receptors, and the activation phases of regulatory cells that provide the direct development of inflammatory diseases. In the acute phase response, metabolic changes occur through differences, taking place in many plasma protein concentrations in the short term. These proteins are divided into two groups: positive acute phase proteins, whose levels show an increase in the blood in case of inflammation, such as C-reactive proteins (CRP), haptoglobin, fibrinogen, and α-1 antitrypsin and negative acute-phase proteins, whose levels decrease in the blood, such as albumin, retinol-binding protein (RBP), transthyretin (TTY), and high-density lipoprotein apolipoprotein A1 (high-density lipoprotein apolipoprotein A1-HDL-apo A) (Tomkins, 2003). In addition, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 18 (IL-18), water-soluble adhesion molecules (E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1)), which are among pro-inflammatory cytokines, make up the fibrinogen proinflammatory response, while adiponectin is involved in the formation of anti-inflammatory response. These metabolic alterations lead to physiological differences through changes in pulse, fever, and blood pressure levels. In many diseases or disorders such as infection, trauma, type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity, the inflammatory response begins at an acute level, leading to chronic inflammation when this condition persists for weeks and months. The severity of systemic inflammation is associated with CRP level, and a CRP level that is less than 10 mg/L is considered as mild systemic inflammation, between 11 and 80 mg/L as moderate, and greater than 80 mg/L as high (McMillan, Maguire, & Talwar, 2018).

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