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Ascension Marcos, Speaker at Food and Nutrition Conferences
Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN). Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain


At the end of 2019, a serious health problem arose that has led us to unprecedented situations, forcing us to adapt too quickly to the new reality. The current and unexpected pandemic caused by the attack of SARS-Cov-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) has been promoting a huge impact on society worldwide at all levels, among which we can highlight the effect not only on the general metabolism and the immune system but also on the emotional state of the general population.
Faced with this new situation, different theories have appeared about the origin of the pandemic and about the possible treatments that some of them are still in the experimental phase. From the application of drugs that had previously been used to cure other pathologies, to research for the development of specific vaccines against this virus and its possible variants, scientists work hard to eliminate the consequences of the serious damage that COVID-19 has generated.
However, despite having the experience acquired during more than one year with this health alarm due to the vast mortality caused and the shortage of means at some critical moments, the great importance of food and nutrition, as well as the nutritional status under these conditions have not been sufficiently taken into account.
Since the late 1950s, when the interactions between nutrition, infection and immunity began to be studied, numerous research projects have been carried out to date resulting in the development of a new field of research called Immunonutrition (1-3).
COVID-19 is known to lead to multi-organ failure in many cases, affecting severely both the immune system and the microbiota, producing a phenomenon of dysbiosis with a significant imbalance in favour of pathogenic microorganisms to the detriment of the beneficial bacteria. In addition, the gut microbiota-brain axis is an innovative key area of research related to nutrition and the immune system.
In summary, food as a whole and its components in particular, play an important role in the immunomodulation, and therefore, in health. In fact, both chronic deficits and excesses or even the imbalance between nutrients, can jeopardize the stability of the general metabolism (4). Consequently, the study of Immunonutrition is key to understanding the nutritional situation and to consequently to using the appropriate means to prevent any immune disorder.
Therefore, bearing in mind that food is fundamental in our lives, governments and health authorities should be more careful avoiding situations of malnutrition in the general population (obesity or undernutrition) in order to avoid SARS-Cov-2 infection and harmful COVID-19 outcomes.


Pioneer in the field of Immunonutrition, Founder and President of the International Society for Immunonutrition (ISIN).In 2006 Prof. Marcos achieved the top position as Research Professor at the Spanish National Research Council.Past-President of the Spanish Societies of Nutrition, Food and Dietetics (FESNAD)Past-President of the Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS)Responsible for Institutional Affairs of the Spanish Society of Microbiota, Probiotics and Prebiotics (SEMiPyP)95 research projects, 578 publications (303 SCI original articles, 31 SCI reviews, 17 SCI special issues, 86 non-SCI original articles and 7 non-SCI reviews, 114 chapters, 8 books and 9 book editions.