The immune system is a line of defense that protects us from the effects of everything that it identifies as alien. In some cases, "alien" are the cells of our body, which due to certain changes have lost the status of "their" and need disposal. The immune system works constantly, and never stops. Our livelihoods are completely dependent on immunity, and if malfunctions occur in its functioning, this leads to the development of diseases, and in severe cases leads to a lethal outcome. In the light of all of the above, it is absolutely clear that human health depends on the work of the immune system.


A deficiency in dietary protein can lead to a weakened immune system. Protein is necessary for the body to build new tissues and maintain the immune system. Every day you should consume at least 1.1 g of high-grade proteins per 1 kg of body weight, which is devoid of fat and water. There are special programs for calculating this indicator. We suggest you use an approximate method for estimating your fat free weight.

Male Slender
Moderately full
80 - 85
60 - 65

* VBT - fat free body weight; BT is body weight.

Set the category to which you relate your body constitution, determine the weight of the body without fat. For this, you need to multiply the selected indicator by your real weight. For example, the constitution of a man corresponds to moderately full (70%), and body weight is 80 kg, we get 80 * 0.7 = 56 kg. If for every kilogram of fat-free weight a man has to eat 1.1 g of protein, it turns out that his daily need is 62 g.

Food sources. Protein is widely available in products of animal origin: poultry, fish, red meat (preferably lean), eggs, dairy products. However, today's conclusion of the doctors suggests that the consumption of meat products should be limited. This is due primarily to the quality of meat sold in stores.

Read more "Meat for a man - what's the benefit, and what's the harm?" .

Essential Fatty Acids

(omega-3 and omega-6)

The unsaturated fatty acids include linoleic (omega-3) and linolenic (omega-6) acid. The term "vitamin F" is also referred to unsaturated fatty acids.

From the fatty acids, the body receives “good” and “bad” eicosanoids. The action of "good" eicosanoids is aimed at stimulating immune function, but it is much more important to maintain a balance between them. In order to maintain a positive balance and shift the synthesis towards “good” eicosanoids, some food restrictions should be adhered to (see below).

In addition to the synthesis of eicosanoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids have a complex effect on the cardiovascular system. Fatty acids are one of the main food components recommended for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases . For the first time, such a positive effect was found among the peoples of the northern countries, whose diet is rich in oily fish with a high content of omega-3 and omega-6. Other health indicators were also high.

Daily rate and sources. The daily need for essential fatty acids is 10 g, and at least half of this dosage should be in omega-3 acids [4].

A rich source of vitamin F are vegetable oils (mainly flaxseed), fish oil , and nuts.

The content of omega-3 in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)

Омега-3 в продуктах

Vitamin A

With vitamin A deficiency, the differentiation of lymphocytes is disturbed, which leads to the development of immunodeficiency and increased susceptibility to infections [2]. The most early and specific symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include chicken (night) blindness (hemelopia). It is expressed in the loss of the ability to distinguish objects at dusk.

In adult males, vitamin A deficiency leads to impaired spermatogenesis [2].

Daily rate and sources. The daily vitamin A requirement for men is 1 mg. Since vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, its reserves are deposited in the liver, and therefore it has potential toxicity and is not recommended for long-term administration of high doses. This does not apply to carotenoids found in plant foods, such as beta-carotene [1].

Vitamin A can be obtained from animal food (liver, fish oil, butter, egg yolk, etc.). Herbal products, such as carrots, contain vitamin A precursors (provitamins), the most active of which is beta-carotene.

Vitamin A content in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)

Витамин A в продуктах

To effectively use vitamin A, your body needs a sufficient amount of vitamin E and zinc.

B vitamins

In an unfavorable period for the body (physical and emotional stress, injuries, surgeries, etc.), the B vitamins help to cope with negative factors by activating the immune system.

Daily rate and sources.

Folic acid 50 - 200 mcg Nuts, meat, liver, kidneys, yeast, eggs, legumes, cereals, greens, green vegetables, cabbage
Pantothenic acid 3 to 12 mg
Riboflavin 1.8 - 2.6 mg
Vitamin B 6 2 - 3 mg
Vitamin B 12 3 mcg

Vitamin C

Vitamin C deficiency depresses immunity by several factors:

  1. Reduction in the rate of antibody production: the weakening and complete loss of the ability of the immune system to destroy foreign factors;
  2. Reducing the speed of the reaction of the body's defenses to a signal about the introduction of alien factors, and the delivery of protective factors to the site of the introduction of the "enemy".

Daily rate and sources. Sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits, vegetables, greens. Ascorbic acid is exposed to temperature, and during active cultivation, some of the vitamin is destroyed.

Vitamin C content in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)

Витамин C в продуктах

The daily need for vitamin C for an adult is 50-75 mg [2]. However, this dosage indicates the minimum daily intake. During diseases, infections, increased physical and emotional stress, stress, the body's need for ascorbic acid increases dramatically.

Large doses of vitamin C were first recommended by L. Pauling in his book Vitamin C, Common Cold and Flu, where he recommended a daily intake of 2–3 g of ascorbic acid. However, it has now been established that the regular use of such high doses for a long time is not safe for health due to the possible prooxidant effect and other factors [2].

Since ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and is not stored by the body, its daily replenishment is required.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E in cells is contained mainly in the composition of biological membranes and serves as a membrane antioxidant. Tocopherol acts as a kind of “trap” for active radicals: it easily reacts with them, forming a low-active radical, which further recombines with other radicals, and thus the chain radical process terminates [2].

Thus, vitamin E is an effective immunomodulator that helps strengthen the body's defenses [4].

Daily rate and sources. Natural sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, cotton), margarine, nuts, sunflower seeds. The daily requirement is approximately 15 mg. The need for tocopherol increases with increased consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetable oils with food [1].

Vitamin E content in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)

Витамин E в продуктах


Inadequate intake of selenium weakens the immune system in several ways:

  • Reducing the synthesis of antibodies that serve to protect against the aggressive effects of foreign factors;
  • Reducing the number of cells responsible for sending a signal to the immune system about the introduction of foreign factors, to attract protective forces to the sites of occurrence of pathological factors;
  • Selenium is part of the enzyme that protects the body from oxidative effects - glutathione peroxidase.

The action of selenium in the body is closely related to vitamin E. Tocopherol (along with vitamin C) promotes the incorporation of selenium into the active site of glutathione peroxidase [4]. With an increase in the consumption of one substance, a proportional increase in another is necessary [1].

In order for selenium to have the opportunity to fully manifest its action in the body, its intake must be combined with the intake of vitamins E and C.

Daily rate and sources. The daily need for selenium is 70-100 mcg. Selenium is found in eggs, liver, wheat bran, seafood, ceps, legumes. The highest content of selenium is recorded in Brazil nuts - only 2-3 nuts cover the daily requirement for this trace element.

Selenium content in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)

Селен в продуктах


Iron is necessary mainly for the synthesis of red blood cells, as well as for the normal production of white blood cells - leukocytes [1]. The impaired immune function of the body is observed in the case of iron deficiency, which shows an additional reception. If a deficient state of this element is suspected, an appropriate blood test should be taken.

At a normal level of iron in the blood, its additional reception is not required, since iron can provoke an increase in free radicals. It is necessary to combine the intake of iron with the intake of antioxidant vitamins E and C [1].

Daily rate and sources. The daily need for iron is about 10 mg. Hemorrhages, such as those associated with hemorrhoidal bleeding, increase the need for iron. This also explains the increased need for iron in women due to menstruation.

The most valuable sources of iron are meat (veal, beef, lamb, pork), liver and kidneys. Despite the fact that many plant products (cereals, mushrooms, nuts, legumes) contain more iron, its digestibility is much better with animal products. That is why a diet devoid of animal products (vegetarianism, veganism , raw foods ), over time, can lead to iron deficiency.

Iron content in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)

Железо в продуктах


Zinc supplementation can improve the capabilities of the immune system, even if there is no obvious deficiency of this element. You can read about his most important role for the male body here .

Daily rate and sources. The daily need for zinc for men is 15 mg. Its main sources are seafood, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts, red meat.

Zinc content in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)

Цинк в продуктах

Table 1 - Vitamins for male immunity.

Protein 1.1 g per kilogram of lean body mass Products of animal origin (meat, eggs, dairy products) and vegetable (legumes, soybeans, cereals)
Essential Fatty Acids 10 g Fatty fish, vegetable oils, nuts
Vitamin A 1 mg Liver, butter, egg yolk.
Folic acid 50 - 200 mcg Nuts, meat, liver, kidneys, yeast, eggs, legumes, cereals, greens, green vegetables, cabbage
Pantothenic acid 3 to 12 mg
Riboflavin 1.8 - 2.6 mg
Vitamin B 6 2 - 3 mg
Vitamin B 12 3 mcg
Vitamin C 50 - 75 mg Fruits, vegetables, greens
Vitamin E 15 mg Vegetable oils, margarine, nuts
Selenium 70 - 100 µg Brazil nut, liver, eggs, seafood
Iron 10 mg Meat, Liver, Mushrooms, Legumes
Zinc 15 mg Seafood, nuts, pumpkin seeds, cereals

Dietary adjustment while weakening the immune system

  • Exclude completely or severely restrict foods high in refined sugar. Sugar weakens the immune system, reduces the ability of some defenses to resist foreign factors [1];
  • Limit caffeine intake (see “Coffee and Tea Failure — Personal Experience” ). Caffeine intake should be limited to one or two cups of coffee per day. The same applies to moderate consumption of tea, caffeinated beverages and products (sweet soda, chocolate). If you drink more than 3-5 cups of coffee a day, gradually bring their number to acceptable doses.


  1. T.P. Emelyanova, "Vitamins and Mineral Substances: Complete Encyclopedia", 2000;
  2. MSMSU them. A.I. Evdokimova, a group of authors, “Vitamins”, 2014;
  3. V. G. Liflyandsky, “Vitamins and Minerals”, 2010;
  4. TS Morozkina, A.G. Moyseyenok, “Vitamins”, 2002;
  5. - a source of illustrations to the article.

See also:

Add a comment