Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Nutrition to stay Healthy- Part 1

After staying illness free for so long, even surviving the start of term I wasn’t surprised when I picked up a cold once I upped my training…… what I did find frustrating is it didn’t seem to shift, and when it did and I thought I was clear it came back.

Now for me at the moment, this isn’t a problem as I have no real goals for the rest of this year, its just about building a nice block of endurance, however if this was me this time last year it would have had a real set back in my goals.

Firstly I should have taken my own advice and once any signs or symptoms started to show, back off and get plenty of rest, secondly don’t come back too soon!!!

Now that it’s all cleared up, I need to ensure that I stay healthy which again is practicing what I would normally inform my athletes about eating a well balanced diet, but sometimes athlete's need more. After attending the UK Sports and Exercise Medicine Conference there were a couple of bits of information which might prove helpful for an athlete, thanks to the presentation by David Pyne (Aus)- Nutrient- training interactions to maximise training and performance.

Nutrition for Immune Health- Athletes

An immune system which operates within homeostatic limits protects against common illnesses that can impair an athlete’s ability to train and perform, the main action the athlete can take is to ensure adequate carbohydrate and protein intake, along with covering a wide range of micronutrients.


An athlete’s immune health should be based around a five point plan:
o Training- load and recovery
o Environment
o Psychology
o Lifestyle (Sleep, Diet, stress)
o Clinical conditions


Sometimes this is not always possible, and an athlete may consider supplementation to help improve immune function. When considering any type of supplement the athlete should bear in mind the following:


• Likely benefit or harm to the athlete
• Interactions between nutrients, supplements and medications
• Evidence based efficacy in controlled research studies
• Establish tolerance during training and competition
• Cost availability, risk of contamination at both the sport and the individual athlete level

Supplement Action Recommendation

Vitamin E- Quenches exercise induced reactive species- Supplementation not recommended
Vitamin C- Quenches exercise induced reactive species- Supplementation not recommended
Multi-Vitamin- Reduced reactive oxidative species and inflammation-
Supplementation not recommended on a well balanced diet
Glutamine -Immune cell substrate- Not recommended, body stores adequate
Branched Chain Amino Acids- Nitrogen source/ Glutamine Synthesis -
Not recommended/data inconclusive
Carbohydrate- Maintain blood glucose, decrease in stress hormone
- Recommended up to 60g one hour after exercise
Fish Oil Anti-Inflammatory effects Not recommended

So from the information above the main way (and simple) way to help improve human function is to consume carbohydrate after training, the recommendation is within the hour after training ‘Golden Hour’ where carbohydrate is seen to have a positive effect with neutrophils.

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