Immune suppression can occur even with single nutrient deficiencies: for example, you can have excellent general nutrition, but an isolated deficiency in say, pyridoxine, will trigger immune suppression. The same is true for most of the B vitamins, vitamins C, E, and D, and magnesium, zinc, boron, iron, and selenium. Supplying these people with a balance of high-quality protein and adequate calories can quickly restore immune function to normal.
While isolated vitamin and mineral deficiencies are far more likely to occur in Western nations (more profound deficiencies are found in developing countries), there is a subgroup of elderly in this nation who do suffer from profound protein-calorie and vitamin-mineral deficiencies. These are shut-ins who live alone and have no surviving family, or at least no one to care for them on a regular basis. Only organizations such as Meals on Wheels provide such people with even semi-nutritious foods. I say semi-nutritious because, despite improved protein-calorie nutrition, the meals often contain a number excitotoxins, bad fats, and excess sugars. Still, their hearts are in the right place and they provide care that no one else seems willing to provide.
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