chapter  10
22 Pages

Nutrition, Exercise, and Immunology

The immune system, like all other systems of the body, requires nutrients for energy, for biosynthesis of structural and functional molecules, to enable proper functioning of enzymes, and to protect cells from oxidative damage. Strenuous exercise contributes to the overall stress placed on the immune system. Training at high intensity or volume places demands on the body that can stress tissues such as muscle to the point of injury, increase the likelihood of acute illness, or push the athlete into a state of overreaching or overtraining (Smith 2004; Walsh et al. 2011a). These unintended consequences may compromise training and performance or knock athletes out of competition altogether. Any of these outcomes has the potential to be devastating within the ranks of highly competitive or demanding sporting endeavors. Consider the potential impact of becoming ill during Olympic competition or during a Mount Everest trek. The immune system mediates the response to tissue injury, defends against viral, bacterial, and all other pathogen infections, and it is influenced by and

Acute Infection and Illness Symptoms ..................................................................228 Immune Defenses against Infection and Acute Illness .....................................228 Exercise-Induced Immunomodulation .............................................................. 231 Respiratory Tract Infections in Athletes ............................................................ 231 Non-Viral Causes of RTI Symptoms in Athletes .............................................. 232 Bacterial Infections ........................................................................................... 232 Influence of Acute Changes in Stress Hormones on Immune Function............ 233 Modulation of the Acute Immune Response with Carbohydrate Supplementation ................................................................................................ 233 Nutrition Recommendations to Support the Immune System........................... 236

Nutrition and Muscle Damage ............................................................................... 237 Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD) ...................................................... 237 Inflammation Response to EIMD ...................................................................... 238 Nutritional Countermeasures to Reduce EIMD ................................................240