Whether training for a race or competitive sport, one of the worst challenges that athletes can face is sickness or injury. But athletes come with the added risk of a compromised immune system because of frequent and extreme trainings.
A strong immune system depends on a healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients, but it’s not always easy to achieve. For athletes, who are often looking for ways of pushing themselves to the limits, a little extra support is needed. This is where Isagenix can help—with four steps using convenient nutrient-dense products that provide various ingredients that nourish the immune system.
Step 1: Push protein whey up
Protein may not be the first nutrient people think of in regards to the immune system, but it’s the most critical. Like other systems in the body, the immune system depends on adequate intake of protein and amino acids for optimal functioning.
Whey protein, in particular—a foundation for several of Isagenix protein options—can better help the body maintain optimal protein status because of its rich content of essential amino acids. Whey protein also helps in other ways, as in supporting muscle maintenance and growth, as well as in stimulating the immune system directly to encourage an optimal response (1-3).
Step 2: Think zinc, echinacea and colostrum
Extreme bouts of training are when the immune system is at highest risk. Fortunately, studies have found that there are a few ingredients that can target the immune system in key ways to give it a boost in nourishment.
- Athletes should consider zinc their best friend for staying healthy. The mineral has a critical role in proper function and development of immune cells, such as T-cells. Any deficiency of zinc comes with unnecessary risk of a compromised immune system (4, 5).
- Echinacea, a flowering plant whose roots and leaves have been used for centuries by Native Americans for their medicinal qualities, is also shown in randomized controlled studies to have beneficial effects on the immune system (6).
- Colostrum, the first form of milk produced by a cow after giving birth, contains a range of immune-protecting substances. These include immunoglobulins, proline-rich polypeptides, and lactoferrin that can help protect the immune systems of athletes after long trainings (7, 8).
Step 3: Get the sunshine vitamin all year round
For athletes who often train outside in the sunshine, obtaining enough vitamin D is not a problem normally. But during winter months, levels can drop significantly. The decline can mean problems since the body depends on the hormone-like vitamin for proper immune system response (9, 10).
Getting adequate amounts of vitamin D from diet can be a challenge since so little foods contain enough, but any low status is easily corrected through supplementation. A convenient way to get a daily dose of 2000 IU is available with Ageless Essentials™ Daily Pack and it comes along with another vitamin closely associated with immune status, vitamin C.
Step 4: Sleep it off with melatonin
Perhaps one of the most influential lifestyle habits to support an athlete’s immune system is getting adequate sleep every night. Research has shown that even just one week of insufficient sleep alters the activity of some 700 genes including genes involved in the immune system response (11).
When getting proper shut-eye is a problem, choosing a good supplement like Isagenix Sleep Support and Renewal Spray is the solution. It provides melatonin and other calming compounds such as tart cherry and valerian root in a unique peppermint spray formula that’s fast acting and convenient.
Keeping the immune system strong should be a daily pursuit and one made easier with the nourishment provided in products like those of Isagenix.
- Dawson BM, Axford S. Nutrition as a part of healthy aging and reducing cardiovascular risk: improving functionality in later life using quality protein, with optimized timing and distribution. Semin Thromb Hemost 2014;40(06):695-703.
- Freeman SL, Fisher L, et al. Dairy proteins and the response to pneumovax in senior citizens: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2010;1190:97-103.
- Badr G, Ebaid H, Mohany M, et al. Modulation of immune cell proliferation and chemotaxis towards CC chemokine ligand (CCL)-21 and CXC chemokine ligand (CXCL)-12 in undenatured whey protein-treated mice. J Nutr Biochem 2012;23(12):1640-6.
- Hemila H. Zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of colds: a systematic review. Open Respir Med J 2011(5):51-58.
- Prasad AS, Beck FWJ, Bao B, et al. Zinc supplementation decreases incidence of infections in the elderly: effect of zinc on generation of cytokines and oxidative stress. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85(3):837-44.
- Kim HR, Oh SK, Lim W, et al. Immune enhancing effects of echinacea purpurea root extract by reducing regulatory T cell number and function. Nat Prod Commun 2014;9(4):511-4.
- Shing CM, et al. Effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on immune variables in highly trained cyclists. J Appl Physiol 2007;102: 1113-1122.
- Crooks CV, et al. The effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on salivary igA in distance runners. Inter J Sport Nutr and Exercise Metabolism 2006;16:47-64.
- Aranow C. Vitamin d and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881–886.
- Walllace, TC, McBurney M, Fulgoni VL. Multivitamin/mineral supplement contribution to micronutrient intakes in the United States, 2007-2010. J Am Coll Nutr 2014;33(2):94-102.
- Möller-Levet CS, Archer SN, Bucca G, et al. Effects of insufficient sleep on circadian rhythmicity and expression amplitude of the human blood transcriptome. PNAS 2013 Feb 25