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How aging cripples the immune system

7 August 2015

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Aging reduces the production of new immune cells, decreasing the immune system’s response to vaccines and putting the elderly at risk of infection, but antioxidants in the diet may slow this damaging process. That’s a new finding by scientists from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, published in an open-access paper in the journal Cell Reports.

The problem is focused on an organ called the thymus, which produces T lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) — critical immune cells that must be continuously replenished so they can respond to new infections. This new study shows for the first time a mechanism for the long-suspected connection between normal immune function and antioxidants: research findings reinforce benefits of antioxidants through lowering free radicals.

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