Active nutrition and immunity: Getting the right balance

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Melnik
Getty | Melnik

Related tags active nutrition Immunity webinar

Exercise is good for the immune system but, as with anything, balance is key and this is especially the case when it comes to matching the type and level of activity with the right nutrition, as will be expertly explained in NutraIngredients' upcoming webinar.

In a preview to insights he plans to bring to the Immunity and Active Nutrition webinar taking place on May 27th​,​ professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University Mike Gleeson points out that people who are regularly undertaking moderate exercise – one to two hours a day – get 30-50% fewer infections than those who are very sedentary.

Natural health surveillance

Prof Gleeson, who also recently authored the healthy lifestyle guidebook Eat, Move, Sleep, Repeat​,​ explains the mechanism behind this health benefit.

“This benefit is mostly thought to come from the increased 'immunosurveillance' effect. When you do exercise your heart rate increases and more blood is pumping through the body and this releases white blood cells that are the main part of the immune system and are normally stuck to the blood vessel walls.

"These white blood cells come into free flow and the white blood cell count increases by 10-100%. If you exercise for more than 40 to 60 minutes, this can cause an additional increase and this increased white blood cell count can last for several hours after the exercise.

“The cells in the blood present any foreign material they find in the blood as they get filtered through the lymph nodes. These lymph node cells are the cells that create an immune response to any infection trying to take hold in your body, so the greater that degree of blood flow the greater the degree of infection surveillance in your body.”

But, of course, Prof Gleeson points out it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

"The body can run for around 90 minutes to two hours without the need for additional energy intake but after this time the blood glucose level starts to drop and that stimulates you to produce more stress hormones which have a suppressive effect on immune function and increased susceptibility to infection and this can last for up to 24 hours after the exercise."

To ensure this does not happen, it’s important to make sure you are in an energy balance, don’t binge drink alcohol, consumer a well balanced diet and avoid micronutrient deficiencies by taking a daily multivitamin tablet.

NutraIngredients' Immunity and Active Nutrition webinar will discuss the importance of all these aspects of good active nutrition and discuss what supplements athletes can take to ensure they maintain immune function during training and competition.

The expert panel will also include Renee McGregor, a leading sports and eating disorder specialist dietitian with 20 years of experience working in clinical and performance nutrition, as well as representatives from Volactive and DSM.

The webinar comes as part of NutraIngredients' first ever global series of webinars looking at immunity, with a focus on the microbiome, active nutrition, clinical research and botanicals.

Click here to register​ for the webinar series.

The Immunity Webinar Series

May 25 - June 26   ●   12 Webinars   ●   3 Regions

The Immunity Webinar Series, hosted by NutraIngredients, will shine the spotlight on the hottest topic for the nutrition and functional food sector right now - immunity - with a focus on the microbiome, active nutrition, clinical research and botanicals.

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