Research - Cellular Immunity

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Research - Cellular Immunity

Postby Canuck Singh » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:08 pm

Free of Illness

Our ability to achieve your health and fitness goals all hinge on your ability to remain free of illness. People who exercise hard and restrict calories run a high risk of over training and diminishing the strength of their immune system. This increases the risk of infection and illness.

A recent study completed by scientists at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil demonstrated that amino acid supplementation boosts the strength of the immune system and decreases the incidence of illness in athletes during competition.

Twelve elite male triathletes (average age 25) were divided into two groups; six athletes received supplementation with branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) and the others, placebo, before and after an Olympic distance triathlon. Results showed that the athletes using the BCAAs maintained critical plasma glutamine levels, before and after the trial. Whereas those from the placebo group showed a reduction of 22.8% in plasma glutamine concentration after the competition. Plasma glutamine levels are a key indicator of optimal immune function. Low plasma glutamine increases the risk of illness and infection and impairs recovery. The BCAA supplementation also prevented a decline in immune function (proliferative response of peripheral blood lymphocytes) that was induced by the grueling exercise.

Although most of us don't compete in Olympic distance triathlons, the impact of hard training on immune function is well documented in a variety of sports, including training with weights. This study showed that doses of 7-12 grams of BCAAs boosted the strength of the immune system and prevented the usual decline in immune function that results from hard exercise.

Ref: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 32(7):1214-9, 2000.
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Re: Research - Cellular Immunity

Postby Canuck Singh » Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:27 pm

Too much physical training causes a breakdown in the immune system that usually results in athletes picking up upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). However, researchers from the University of South Carolina and the University of Massachusetts have now shown that moderate doses of exercise enhances the body’s resistance to infection.

These scientists examined the rate of upper respiratory tract infections among inactive and moderately active middle-aged adults. The study followed 641 healthy men and women for one year. After collecting and analyzing the data, the researchers found that moderate levels of activity reduced the annual risk of infection by 23% compared to lower levels of activity, after controlling for a number of other factors. In the fall of the year, moderate levels of activity reduced risk of infections by about 30%.

The incidence of colds and flu is quite high among adults, and the average person suffers one to five illnesses per year. These infections are the major contributor to days off work. Researchers estimate that 100 million colds per year in the United States were responsible for 250 million days of restricted activity and 30 million days of lost work.

The effect of colds and flu on health care costs and worker productivity is enormous. However, a carefully structured fitness program that is not excessive and consists of weight training and cardio work will actually improve your immune function and help reduce sick days. Exactly how much exercise is required has not been studied.

Unless you’re an elite athlete who structures their life entirely around training, I see no reason why the average fitness enthusiast (with all of life’s other pressures and demands) needs to workout more than once a day, up to six days a week. The present findings demonstrate that moderate approach to physical activity can reduce your risk of colds and flu-like conditions by 20–30%.

Ref: Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. 34:1442–1448, 2002.
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Re: Research - Cellular Immunity

Postby Canuck Singh » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:06 pm

Your immune system can be the ultimate factor that determines whether or not you achieve your physique goals.

Just when you’re making some serious progress in the gym, you’ll often come down with a cold or bout of flu. While the condition isn’t life-threatening, this can totally de-rail progress toward fitness/physique goals.

Uninterrupted progress is vital to reaching athletic goals. These minor illnesses, and time spent recovering from them, means much of the hard-earned progress is lost.

A recent study has shown that when athletes perform three hard training sessions in three days, blood leukocyte abnormalities develop. These important immune cells control the strength of your immune system.

Just three hard training sessions have an impact on immune function. Colds, flu and other common illnesses occur during hard training programs simply because the immune system is weakened by too many intense workouts and not enough recovery.

Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine 17; 2007
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