Keep Your Immune System Strong This Winter

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PAS Nutrition Team - November 6, 2019

Did you know that what you eat impacts the health of your immune system? It's especially important this time of year, as during the colder months colds and flus are most common, and the stress of hard training can mean that your body is more susceptible to illness. Here are some tips to keep you healthy this autumn/winter - So you can spend less time being ill, and more time training and becoming better.

 

1. Eat More Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit (such as berries, oranges, and tomatoes). Consuming Vitamin C-rich foods may decrease the duration of the common cold(1).

 

2. MONITOR YOUR SLEEP

People who get less than 7hrs sleep per night are more likely to suffer from colds and flus, with illness risk increasing more than 4.5 times in those who sleep for less than 5 hours!(2) Are you getting enough?

 

3. STRENGTHEN YOUR BODY’S FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE

with our all-in-one formula packed with Probiotics, Vitamin D and Multivitamins.

PROBIOTICS. Did you know that the good bacteria in your gut is your body’s first line of defence against illness? Taking probiotics populates the gut with good bacteria – meaning that there is less room for ‘bad’ bacteria to grow and cause illness! We’ve packed our Defence product with high-strength probiotics, called Lactobacillus Acidophillus and Bifidobacterium Bifidum, which have been shown to help reduce the incidence of catching flu viruses(3).

 

VITAMIN D. Our bodies need Vitamin D daily, and we can only get this in two forms – from what we eat, or from the sun. Modern diets contain very limited amounts of vitamin D, and it is also difficult to get enough Vitamin D from the UK sun year-round, let alone during the colder months (October-April) when daylight hours are much shorter. It’s important to make sure we are getting enough Vitamin D, as it has roles all throughout the body – including key roles in muscle function, immune health, and bone health.

 

             When we are deficient in Vitamin D:

  • Immune health takes a hit and we are more vulnerable to illness(4)
  • Training performance suffers(5) because of its roles in muscle function
  • Injury risk increases as bone density decreases (6). This means vitamin D is especially important for injury prevention in contact sports such as football, rugby, and combat sports.

 

The Department of Health recommend that those at risk of deficiency (e.g. UK residents) should supplement Vitamin D daily to stay healthy. This is why Vitamin D is another key ingredient in our Defence formulation!

 

MULTIVITAMINS. As well as high-strength probiotics and your daily dose of Vitamin D, Defence also contains a multivitamin to cover all the bases involved in supporting your immune system. The host of vitamins include:

 

  • Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, and E modulate the immune system, helping to fight off infections & neutralising free radicals produced during hard training, which may improve recovery(7).
  • Vitamin K: Works with vitamin D to support bone health(8)
  • Zinc: Has been shown to reduce the duration of the common cold(9)
  • B-Vitamins and Folic Acid: Have multiple roles in the body ranging from DNA and RNA replication, nervous system health, forming Haemoglobin (the molecule that carries oxygen around the body), and releasing energy from the food we eat. B vitamins are essential – meaning our bodies can’t make them, so we must consume them every day to remain healthy.

 

 4. SOS! IMMUNE SUPPORT FACTOR

While Defence is the product we recommend taking long-term to decrease the prevalence of cold and flus, we unfortunately all get ill at some point- so we formulated Immune Support Factor to help get rid of colds and flus, fast! 

Immune Support Factor contains high-strength antioxidants, beta-glucans, echinacea and elderberry, which stimulate the cells of the immune system to work harder to fight off viruses and flus. The ingredients have been shown to reduce the risk of URT (upper respiratory tract) infections(10) (which are common in travelling athletes) and reduce the duration of colds and flus(11) - This is the product to use when you are run-down and have a short turn-around before your next match or competition!

   

References:
  • Hemilä and Chalker (2013). Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold.
  • Prother et al (2015). Behaviourally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold.
  • Caricilli et al (2014). Intestinal barrier: A gentlemen's agreement between microbiota and immunity.
  • He et al (2013). Influence of vitamin D status on respiratory infection incidence and immune function during 4 months of winter training in endurance sport athletes.
  • Chiang et al (2016). Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Muscle Strength in Athletes: A Systematic Review.
  • Holick et al (1996). Vitamin D and bone health.
  • Taghiyar et al (2013). The Effect of Vitamin C and E Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Oxidative Stress in Female Athletes: A Clinical Trial.
  • Kidd et al (2010). Vitamins D and K as pleiotropic nutrients: clinical importance to the skeletal and cardiovascular systems and preliminary evidence for synergy. 
  • Singh and Das (2013). Zinc for the common cold.
  • Bergendiova K, Tibenska E, and Majtan J (2011).  Pleuran (β-glucan from Pleurotus ostreatus) supplementation, cellular immune response and respiratory tract infections in athletes.
  • Chulten et al (2001). Efficacy of Echinacea purpurea in patients with a common cold. A placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blind clinical trial.