Tamsin Lewis: Immune Health & Training

  • By Dr. Tamsin Lewis
  • Published January 22, 2013

Boost Your Immune System And Stay Well This Winter.

As a rule I do not advocate taking any supplement day in day our year round as it is my personal belief that the body gets lazy in absorbing nutrients from food under such conditions.

1)   Vitamin C
Commonly heralded as protective against colds. Large scale scientific reviews suggest that taking daily Vit C is not recommended. However, may be protective against developing URTI in times of heavy training and or other physical and mental stress. Large doses 4-8g per day are needed to reduce symptoms and duration of colds and flu.

2) Zinc
Taken in additional to Vitamin C as times of increased stress may boost immune system function. (take with food)

3)  Anti-Oxidant supplements. – No evidence that general supplementation with anti-oxidants boost the immune system. In addition, may prevent adaptation of muscles to training (by reducing the inflammation needed to stimulate muscles)

Vitamin E may be harmful in excess and actually be pro-inflammatory.

Exception : – Quercetin (Flavanoid).
Studies show promising immune boosting effects – also may boost mental stamina.
Rich Food sources = onions, apples, blueberries, curly kale, hot peppers, tea, and broccoli.

4) Glutamine (Often found in ‘recovery’ drinks)
Immune suppression and a decrease in glutamine levels have been found in athletes undergoing intense physical training. Supplementation before and after endurance races with glutamine seems to reduce URTI incidence in athletes.

5) COLOSTRUM – (bovine – first milk)
Contain multiple molecules that can influence how cells grow, function and repair themselves. Recent widescale review reports that taking colostrum Improves resistance to infection and boosts immunity during times of strenuous training.

I take Neovite regularly when training hard and pre-race. Studies also show it reduces incidence of GI distress experienced during exercise (especially in the heat).

6) Probiotics.
Studies show Daily probiotics – Lactobacillus in particular – reduce URTI incidence in athletes.

7) Echinacea
Reduces symptom duration and incidence of colds in SOME regular users. Worth a try!

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