Today, we round off all things immunity by looking at nutrients/supplements to improve our immune tolerance.


Strengthening our โ€˜Immune toleranceโ€™ aims to decrease the burden of illness and infection by giving us a greater capacity to endure microbes.

Therefore, athletes become less sick and can continue their training programme/cycle without large absences or interruptions.

When it comes to supplement interventions, Walsh (2019) has analysed the claimed benefits of six nutrients that have the potential to work in athletes:

๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐——

Potential: An anti-inflammatory, essential fat soluble vitamin known to influence immunity. Main source is via skin exposure which usually accounts for 90% of daily intake โ€“ many deficient during winter months.

Moderate-Strong Benefit: Deficiency increases URI (upper respiratory infection) risk. Supplementing Autumn-Spring is advisable to maintain sufficiency (1,000IU per day).

๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—–

Potential: A potent antioxidant responsible for combating cellular damage caused by an increased inflammatory response.

Strong Benefit: Cochrane review showed a ~50% decrease in URI incidence when taking 250-1,000mg/day. Use both as a preventative and โ€˜cureโ€™.

๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜€

Potential: Probiotics are live microorganisms and when taken for several weeks can increase the number of beneficial gut bacteria.

Moderate-Strong Benefit: When taken a daily dose of ~ 1010 live bacteria shows a ~50% decrease in URI incidence and a ~2 day shortening of illness.

๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—น๐˜†๐—ฝ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐˜€ (๐—ถ.๐—ฒ. ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป), ๐—ข๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ฎ-๐Ÿฏโ€™๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—˜

Potential: These nutrients are claimed to have either an anti-inflammatory, anti-pathogenic or antioxidant benefit.

No or limited benefit: In some cases, thereโ€™s evidence that high dose vitamin E is pro-inflammatory and increase URI risk under heavy exertion, but may be beneficial in the frail/elderly. No evidence for Omega-3โ€™s reducing URI risk where thereโ€™s some evidence showing supplementation increases oxidative stress after supplementation. There are some putative anti-viral effects of quercetin, but limited influence on overall immunity.

Therefore, when it comes to improving our immune tolerance and enduring those nasty bugs, letโ€™s focus on Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Probiotics.

p.s. thereโ€™s still zero research in any nutritional strategy fighting COVID-19. So, keep washing your hands, staying 2m apart and most importantlyโ€ฆstaying at home

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