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Military Strategies for Sustainment of Nutrition and Immune Function in the Field

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Every aspect of immune function and host defense is dependent upon a proper supply and balance of nutrients. Severe malnutrition can cause significant alteration in immune response, but even subclinical deficits may be associated with an impaired immune response, and an increased risk of infection. Infectious diseases have accounted for more off-duty days during major wars than combat wounds or nonbattle injuries. Combined stressors may reduce the normal ability of soldiers to resist pathogens, increase their susceptibility to biological warfare agents, and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines intended to protect them. There is also a concern with the inappropriate use of dietary supplements.

This book, one of a series, examines the impact of various types of stressors and the role of specific dietary nutrients in maintaining immune function of military personnel in the field. It reviews the impact of compromised nutrition status on immune function; the interaction of health, exercise, and stress (both physical and psychological) in immune function; and the role of nutritional supplements and newer biotechnology methods reported to enhance immune function.

The first part of the book contains the committee's workshop summary and evaluation of ongoing research by Army scientists on immune status in special forces troops, responses to the Army's questions, conclusions, and recommendations. The rest of the book contains papers contributed by workshop speakers, grouped under such broad topics as an introduction to what is known about immune function, the assessment of immune function, the effect of nutrition, and the relation between the many and varied stresses encountered by military personnel and their effect on health.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 1999. Military Strategies for Sustainment of Nutrition and Immune Function in the Field. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

722 pages | 6 x 9
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-06345-6
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-17318-6

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Front Matter i-xiv
Executive Summary 1-16
I Committee Summary, Responses to Questions, Conclusions, and Recommendations 17-18
1 A Review of the Role of Nutrition in Immune Function 19-98
2 Committee Responses to Questions 99-124
3 Committee Conclusions and Recommendations 125-135
II Stage Setting: The Military Situation 137-138
4 Why is the Army Interested in Nutrition and Immune Function? 139-162
5 Physiological and Immunological Impact of U.S. Army Special Operations Training: A Model for the Assessment of Nutritional Intervention Effects on Temporary Immunosuppression 163-184
6 Immune Function Studies During the Ranger Training Course of the Norwegian Military Academy 185-202
III Introduction to Immune Function 203-204
7 Nutrition and Immune Responses: What Do We Know? 205-220
8 Cytokines and Nutritional Status: Possible Correlations and Investigations 221-232
IV Assessment 233-234
9 Methodological Issues in Assessment of Human Immune Function 235-248
10 Application of Whole-Blood Cultures to Field Study Measurements 249-262
V Nutrition 263-264
11 Glutamine 265-278
12 Vitamin A and Immune Function 279-288
13 Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Immune Response: Recent Advances 289-304
14 Fatty Acids and Immune Functions 305-316
15 Iron Metabolism, Microbial Virulence, and Host Defenses 317-336
16 Trace Minerals, Immune Function, and Viral Evolution 337-359
VI Health and Stress 361-362
17 Exercise, Infection, and Immunity: Practial Applications 363-390
18 Neuroendocrine Consequences of Systemic Inflammation 391-408
19 Inflammatory Stress and the Immune System 409-436
20 Chronobiology of the Immune System 437-496
21 Conclusion: Militarily Important Issues Identified in this Report 497-508
Appendixes 509-510
Appendix A: Overview of the Immune System and Other Host Defense Mechanisms 511-526
Appendix B: Glossary of Immunological Terms 527-536
Appendix C: Overview of Immune Assessment Tests 537-542
Appendix D: Emerging Infections, Nutritional Status, and Immunity 543-552
Appendix E: Workshop Agenda 553-558
Appendix F: Biographical Sketches 559-574
Appendix G: Acronyms and Abbreviations 575-580
Appendix H: Nutrition and Immune Function: A Selected Bibliography 581-656
Index 657-708

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