Immunosenescence is broadly considered the aging-related alterations in the targeting accuracy of the immune system targeting and the overall efficiency of the immune response. These functional changes are associated with:
● Accumulation of aged, damaged, or dysfunctional immune cells due to insufficient cell and tissue rejuvenation as well as resistance to normal cellular apoptosis
● Shifts in the overall balance among the many adaptive and innate immune cell types, due in part to altered regulation of cell replication and clonal expansion
● Changes in the signaling behaviors and cytokine secretion of aging immune cells—their senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP)
While heightened propensity towards inflammation is often thought of as the hallmark of immunosenescence, it can also result in other syndromes of immune imbalance such as autoimmunity, immunosuppression, cancer, and hypersensitivity.
Dietary makeup has long been linked to mortality, frailty, and physical and mental disease burden, but recent research alludes to the value of particular dietary components that may impact immunosenescence via multiple mechanisms of action. This review article focuses on recent research into the immunomodulatory effects of phytonutrients (mainly polyphenols), probiotic bacteria, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The Big Three in Nutritional Modulation of Immunosenescence
Evidence increasingly suggests that organismic aging and increased senescent cell burden are related to aging and imbalanced immune function. Particular types of food components are emerging as mediators of cellular autophagy, immune expression, cells’ resistance to aging processes, the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), and of cell and tissue rejuvenation. Especially promising nutritional factors include phytonutrient polyphenols (like EGCG and quercetin), probiotic bacteria (with many Lactobacillus species represented in research), and omega-3 fatty acids.