Preserving Immune Function In Athletes With Nutritional Yeast

“Preserving Immune Function In
Athletes With Nutritional Yeast” Moderate exercise
improves immunity and decreases
illness rates. By far, the most
important finding that has emerged from exercise
immunology studies over the past 2 decades is that
positive immune changes take place during each bout of
moderate physical activity. Over time, this translates
to fewer days of sickness with the common cold and other
upper respiratory infections. We’re talking a 25% to 50%
reduction in sick days. Name one drug or supplement
that can do that. And it doesn’t
take much. Let kids run around
for just 6 minutes and you can boost the numbers
of immune cells circulating in their blood stream
by more than a third. And at the other end
of the life cycle exercise may help prevent
age-related immune decline. Sedentary women
in their 70s may have a 50%
chance of getting an upper respiratory illness during the fall season
every year, but walk a half-hour a day
and your risk is down to 20% and the runners in the
group got it under 10. That’s like 5 times better
than our immune system! Now, while “regular physical activity
improves immune function” “and lowers URI
(upper respiratory infection risk),” sustained and intense exertion
may have the opposite effect, forming a so-called J-shaped
curve relationship. As you go from inactive to active,
your infection risk declines, but hardcore athletes
that overtrain may actually put excessive
stress on their bodies and increase their
risk of infection. Then you could lose
training days, your performance
could suffer. So what can you do? Well, traditional sports medicine
doesn’t appear to have much to offer, advising athletes to, ya know,
don’t pick your nose, avoid sick people,
get a flu shot. A new study, though, found
that one can better maintain one’s level of circulating
white blood cells after exhaustive exercise consuming
a special type of fiber found in baker’s, brewer’s,
and nutritional yeast. Brewer’s yeast
is bitter, but nutritional yeast has
a nice cheesy flavor. I use it mostly to
sprinkle on popcorn. Anyway, normally 2 hours after
cycling-your-brains-out you can experience a dip
in circulating monocytes, one of our first line of
defense white blood cells. but those who had been
eating the equivalent of less than 3 quarters of a teaspoon
a day of nutritional yeast ended up even better than when they
started after strenuous exercise. But does this increase in immune cells
translate into fewer illnesses? Well, let’s try it on
some marathon runners. In the weeks following
the Carlsbad Marathon, this is how many
runners reported experiencing upper
respiratory tract infection symptoms
taking a placebo. But if instead they had the
equivalent of a daily spoonful of nutritional yeast they
cut their rates in half. And what’s even more remarkable
is that they felt better. They asked how they felt
on a scale of 1-10. People taking the sugar pills
were like, eh…OK, down around 4 or 5, but those taking identical
looking capsules of the fiber found in nutritional yeast
were up at like 6 or 7. Evidently elite athletes tend
to normally experience deterioration in mood state during
intense training periods, and before and after
a marathon race, but, sprinkle a little spoonful
of nutritional yeast, and you may feel less tense,
less fatigued, less confused— even less angry, and my favorite,
significantly more vigor!
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