The Effects of Exercise on Immunity

Key Points Exercise improves health and immunityOvertraining can reduce immunity though and make us more prone to infectionsIt is also important to take in enough total energy (‘fuel’) to preserve and improve immune function along with exercise It is widely accepted that exercise improves health and is, by extension, a valuable contributor to proper immune functioning and resistance to infection. However, excessive exercise is a stressor that can dampen immune functions and as a result, over-training can lead to increased rates of infection with colds and flu-like viruses, a situation commonly seen in athletes. Over-exercise or over-stress from any cause is pro-inflammatory and over half of all sports injuries are also secondary to overuse.1 Markers of antioxidant status such as glutathione concentration and inflammatory markers such as interleukin 10 are affected by long periods of intense training.2 So, exercise helps to mitigate stress and fatigue and helps us to modulate inflammatory/immune and antioxidant pathways, BUT too much (over-reaching) can be just as detrimental as too little. Overreaching and over-training syndrome in athletes is depicted as a continuum, this is also likely to be the case for generalised ‘stress’. So, excessive exercise (or any other stressor) can be thought of as stress, leading to fatigue, leading to a greater incidence of infection (and burnout). Excessive exercise (or any other stressor) can be thought of as stress, leading to fatigue, leading to a greater incidence of infection Moderate amounts of exercise improve immune system functions and reduce the risk of infection. On…

The Effects of Stress on Immunity

Key Points Stress has a significant impact on immunityJob stress and burnout are implicated in reducing immunityParticularly the amount of reward you receive for your efforts is a major factor in how stressed you become and the impact of this on immunityMeditation & mindfulness, and exercise reduce stress and improve immunity Stress has an undeniable and large effect on health and is a less commonly discussed, but extremely important part of encouraging the greatest human resilience and resistance to infections. A systematic review of 56 studies showed that stress had a significant impact on measures of immunity (reduced natural killer cell activity, NK and T cell subsets, CD4+/CD8+ ratio, and increased inflammatory markers). Stress has a significant impact on measures of immunity In particular, the following psychosocial factors of stress were implicated1: Job-stressLow job controlHigh job strainJob dissatisfactionHigh effort and low reward work OvercommittingBurnoutUnemploymentOrganizational downsizingEconomic recession The effort-reward imbalance, in other words, the reward you receive in comparison to the effort required at work, is particularly associated with much higher stress levels, with a demonstrable effect on immunity. Overcommitment or overwork are also associated with reduced immunity. For example, caregivers of dementia patients suffer poorer immune responses and this is considered to be as a result of the demands of their workplace stress,2 but a lower reward-to-effort ratio results in a greater reduction in immunity than over-commitment.3 A lower reward-to-effort ratio results in a greater reduction in immunity than over-commitment Prenatal stress is also reported to increase the risk of…

The Effects of Sleep on Immunity

Key Points Sleeping too little or too much are associated with impaired immunity and increased inflammationPoor quality sleep is also likely to worsen immune function It is likely that sleeping too little, or having poor sleep, and possibly sleeping too long impact immunity. There are strong associations between sleep length and quality and a range of long-term health outcomes, such as1: Diabetes mellitus Hypertension Cardiovascular diseasesCoronary heart diseases Obesity Over 70 studies featuring more than 50000 participants have evaluated the effects of sleep deprivation on markers of immunity and inflammation. Sleep disturbance was associated with higher levels of c-reactive protein, and the inflammatory cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6). Shorter sleep duration was associated with higher levels of c-reactive protein, but not IL-6. Long sleep durations (>9 hours) were also associated with increased inflammation marked by higher c-reactive protein, and IL-6. Interestingly, neither long nor short sleep or sleep disturbance were associated with increased levels of tumour necrosis factor-α, one of the key markers of autoimmune inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease.2 C-reactive protein in particular also has an association with over-reaching and over-training in athletes, who also experience frequent colds and flu-like viruses and excessive stress-markers like this suppress some of the normal immune responses. Poor-quality sleep reduces our ability to properly modulate our immune function. In summary, poor-quality sleep reduces our ability to properly modulate our immune function. References 1.         Itani O, Jike M, Watanabe N, Kaneita Y. Short sleep duration and health outcomes: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression. Sleep…

Michelle Yandle – Empowered Eating

The Carb-Appropriate Podcast Ep.17 In this episode of the podcast, I chat with my good buddy Michelle Yandle. Michelle is a nutrition and health coach focused on empowered patterns of eating and lifestyle. You can find out more about Michelle at https://www.michelleyandle.com/ and her latest book at AMAZON The WELLFED event is happening in New Plymouth on the 26th of October 2019. Listeners of the podcast can get a discount on tickets by using code HPNDISCOUNT Michelle Yandle – The Carb-Appropriate Podcast Ep.17 LIVE

Rachel Grunwell – Health and Wellness Crusader

The Carb-Appropriate Podcast Ep.16 In this episode of the podcast, I chat with yogi, and recovery-focussed personal trainer Rachel Grunwell about her journey from investigative journalism to running marathons and becoming a health-focused journalist and yoga practitioner. Rachel’s new book ‘Balance’, featuring insights from health and performance experts from around the world, can be found on AMAZON and more about Rachel and her work and book can be found at her site: https://inspiredhealth.co.nz/

The Virtue in Happiness

From The Credo The Virtue in Happiness Eudaemonia is often directly translated into English as ‘happiness’, but this is not entirely accurate. The word derives from the ancient Greek eu meaning ‘good’ or ‘in balance’ and -daemon, ‘spirit’, and so, the word has a broader meaning of happiness as a state of a good spirit, and a state of being that is in balance. Arete is the other central concept of Ancient Greek ethics. Arete means broadly ‘excellence’ but has the particular meaning of ‘virtue’, especially in relation to knowledge. Eudaemonism is the moral theory that links arete with eudaemonia and therefore, describes ‘the virtue of happiness’. Socrates, Plato, Epicurus and, perhaps most importantly, Aristotle and the Stoic philosophers discussed the nuances of eudaemonism. In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, eudaemonia is considered the highest aim of human thinking and endeavour and is something that is achieved through action (of the psyche or soul). Aristotelian ethics was considered by Aristotle himself to be unique, in that it was practical rather than simply theoretical. The Stoics, also remarkably practical in their philosophy, described eudaemonism in their teachings as the ‘good life’ – one of action, and one that is morally virtuous. Eudaemonism is a concept that can provide a guide for what we do in our lives. A new Eudaemonism. Redux I wrote about a ‘new eudaemonism’ many years ago in one of my very first books. The premise was simple; that ‘right action’ is that which promotes happiness and therefore what is…