Immune system boosters?
- 11-17-2011, 12:58 PM
Immune system boosters?
Hi Dr. Houser,
Not sure if this sub-forum is supposed to only be about bodybuilding supplements, but since a cold can take us away from training and we're now getting into cold season...it seemed appropriate to ask.
Do you have any suggestions for:
1. things to take while well to aid in not getting sick?
2. Good things to take once we start to feel a cold coming on
3. Good things to take if 1 and 2 didn't work and we end up sick?
Growing up, mom usually gave us extra Vit. C, which based on your ACES protocol was probably good for health anyway.
Then mainstream went crazy over Echinacea and/or Zinc.
I assuming new studies/research is always being done and was just hoping to get some more current feedback.
- 11-23-2011, 01:11 PM
Well - if you are already taking my ACES recommendation; there are two immediate alternates/additions I would ask that you keep in mind through flu season. The first two are MUST-HAVES; the other ones are just kind of giving you some ideas thereafter...
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: they act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. They have had a lot of success with pulmonary (lung) infections/ailments.
2. AAHC: Active Hexose-Correlated Compound is a mushroom extract supplement that has been tested for its potential role in the immune system, liver health, cancer treatment and as a biological response modifier. Enhances resistance to infection and natural killer cell activity.
Granted, this is a study done in mice...but when looking at it in instances of the flu; I don't think this can be overlooked...
Supplementation with active hexose correlated compound increases the innate immune response of young mice to primary influenza infection.
J Nutrition. 2006;. Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA,
In this study, young mice were supplemented with 1 gram AHCC / (kilogram body weight x day) for 1 wk prior to and throughout infection with influenza A (H1N1, PR8). Our data suggest that supplementation boosts natural killer activity, improves survival, and reduces the severity of influenza infection in young mice.
Other Stuff topping off recent research would include...
3. N-acetylcysteine (NAC). In an Italian study, Researchers in Italy found that seniors taking 600 mg of NAC twice daily developed fewer flu-like symptoms and had influenza-like episodes less frequently. NAC helps boost levels of a disease-fighting antioxidant compounds known as glutathiones.
4. Andrographis. A Chinese medicine herb (Andrographis paniculata) that is known to reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections and congestion. Can be combined Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) which might provide even greater, synergistic benefits. High dosages can have side effects, such as changes in blood pressure.
5. Elderberry extract. Studies show that this extract of Sambucus nigra stimulates the immune system. In a limited study in Israel, researchers found that people taking elderberry extract experienced a significant reduction in symptoms such as fever in just two days. Ninety percent were symptom-free after only three days. See below for more. We've used it very successfully.
6. Oscillococcinum. This top-selling homeopathic remedy for reducing cold and flu symptoms which has been found to reduce the duration of flu and flu-like syndromes.
7. North American Ginseng. North American ginseng has, in one small study, shown to cut the length of colds by one-third while reducing slightly the odds of catching a cold.
8. Zinc lozenges. Zinc is an antioxidant that stimulates the body's resistance to infection. Some research suggests that zinc lozenges reduce the duration of colds.
Anabolicminds.com Featured Author
11-23-2011, 02:10 PM
I am always careful with NAC. It is such a powerful antioxidant is it possible it could inhibit ROS signalling, which is a very important part of many chemical pathways?
11-23-2011, 04:57 PM
Because NAC is not normally needed by healthy people, daily recommended allowances have yet to be established. However, most of the research on NAC has used dosages ranging from 250 milligrams to 1,250 milligrams per day.
One study published in the early 1980s found that people taking oral doses of n-acetyl cysteine experienced side-effects such as nausea, vomiting and headaches, but these symptoms have not been reported consistently in other studies. Another study published in 1992 found that large amounts of cysteine could cause damage to nerve cells and increased oxidative stress (what I believe you are referencing but I could be wrong) - but this has yet to be replicated to the best of my knowledge and with doses higher than 1200 mg daily and we also have to discuss what it means to induce high levels of oxidative stress (like those with intense exercise; defined differently in some instances than you might think).
Furthermore, supplementation of NAC at low concentrations (600 mg) per day for 14 weeks reduced superoxide radicals and improved glutathione peroxidase in healthy volunteers, while a high dose at 1,200 mg per day significantly reduced hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in COPD patients. Does that translate to the normal population or exercise enthusiasts? Well, I don't know exactly - but there is positive data on 600mg with sperm in hypogonadal men; there is positive data on NAC inhibiting muscle fatigue; there's good data on stresses of the liver and glycemic control (of which; most multiple meal bodybuilders use).
The muscle fatigue concept is interesting because it probably gets us closest to the bottom line of what is happening in side effect PRO-oxidation states in that NAC inhibits fatigue in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Plasma NAC and cysteine concentration peak within 60–120min after ingestion. Although the bioavailability of orally administered NAC is low, oral administration of 150 mg/kg NAC solution increased plasma NAC concentration by 20- to 30-fold, and plasma cysteine concentration by 10- to 15-fold. A similar dose administered via intravenous infusion yielded plasma NAC concentrations an order of magnitude higher. Both routes of administration inhibited oxidation of circulating glutathione during exercise to a similar degree. This “ceiling effect” of NAC may be a consequence of glutathione regulation ofglutathione synthesis through a negative feedback mechanism.
My biggest concern is how many people do not realize the micronutrient implications (which are easily enough accounted for, but most do in fact screw it up). NAC may increase urinary zinc excretion; as a result, people taking n-acetyl cysteine for long periods of time should also increase their intake of zinc and copper (AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF DAY).
This leads to my recommendations based on copious tallies of research which probably means that too much NAC in the acute setting (like most things even Vitamin C) has an upper limit. The single-dose limit on Vitamin C I use with clients is 500mg in a single sitting (max 5-6 times per day); the single-dose limit on NAC I use with clients is 600mg in a single sitting (max 1-2 times per day based on quality research of potential toxicity).
Anabolicminds.com Featured Author
11-29-2011, 10:25 AM
Had been out of town, but wanted to make sure I said Thanks! for all the great info Dana. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I've now got some new items I can research for adding to my "sick stack."
12-12-2011, 07:35 PM
In researching some of the items you mentioned I came across Jarrow's "Wellness Optimizer"
In your first reply, you hadn't mentioned much about dose for the items you listed. As much as I generally like Jarrow (as a brand) I usually assume most things like the wellness optimizer are under-dosed across the board. Is that mostly true?
Here is a link to the product: http://www.jarrow.com/product/180/Wellness_Optimizer
Also, my understanding is that Glutamine isn't super useful for general strength athletes, but may be useful for:
1. Endurance athletes
2. GI issues
3. Immune system
I'm mostly curious about your opinion on the last 2; how glutamine relates to GI and Immune system function.
12-14-2011, 02:46 PM
12-14-2011, 03:22 PM
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