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Immunonutrition support for athletes

David C Nieman
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00038.x 310-320 First published online: 1 June 2008

Abstract

Multiple components of the immune systems in athletes exhibit transient dysfunction after prolonged, heavy exertion. During this “open window” of impaired immunity, pathogens may gain a foothold, increasing infection risk. Nutritional supplements have been studied as countermeasures to exercise-induced immune changes and infection risk. This review focuses on findings from recent exercise-based studies with macro- and micronutrient supplements, and “advanced” immunonutrition supplements including β-glucan, curcumin, and quercetin. Results from these studies indicate that immunonutrition supplements have the potential to lessen the magnitude of exercise-induced perturbations in immune function and to reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.

  • exercise
  • immune function
  • infection
  • nutrition
  • supplements
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