The immune system comprises a complex group of processes that provide defense against diverse pathogens. These defenses can be divided into innate and adaptive immunity, in which specific immune components converge to limit infections. In addition to genetic factors, aging, lifestyle, and environmental factors can influence immune function, potentially affecting the susceptibility of the host to disease-causing agents. Chemical compounds in certain foods have been shown to regulate signal transduction and cell phenotypes, ultimately impacting pathophysiology. Research has shown that the consumption of specific functional foods can stimulate the activity of immune cells, providing protection against cancer, viruses, and bacteria. Here, we review a number of functional foods reported to strengthen immunity, including ginseng, mushrooms, chlorella, and probiotics (Lactobacillus plantarum). We also discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating the activity of various types of immune cells. Identifying immune-enhancing functional foods and understanding their mechanisms of action will support new approaches to maintain proper health and combat immunological diseases.
|Journal||Experimental and Molecular Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2022 Jan|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (NRF-2020R1A2C1010703). This research was also supported in part by the Brain Korea 21 (BK21) program.
© 2022, The Author(s).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry