A well-functioning immune system is critical for survival. The immune system must be constantly alert, monitoring for signs of invasion or danger. Cells of the immune system must be able to distinguish self from non-self and furthermore discriminate between non-self molecules which are harmful (e.g., those from pathogens) and innocuous non-self molecules (e.g., from food). This Special Issue of Nutrients explores the relationship between diet and nutrients and immune function. In this preface, we outline the key functions of the immune system, and how it interacts with nutrients across the life course, highlighting the work included within this Special Issue. This includes the role of macronutrients, micronutrients, and the gut microbiome in mediating immunological effects. Nutritional modulation of the immune system has applications within the clinical setting, but can also have a role in healthy populations, acting to reduce or delay the onset of immune-mediated chronic diseases. Ongoing research in this field will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the role of diet and nutrients in immune function and will facilitate the use of bespoke nutrition to improve human health.
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