With flu season coming, don't forgetexercise?

Bethesda, MD With winter around the corner, Americans are lining up for flu shots, stocking up on cough and cold medicines, and taking inventory of what antibiotics they may again need. Despite expansive planning, few remember two low-tech staples that can be easily and affordably added to their first line defenses against the illnesses of the season: exercise and oat fiber -glucan.

Individually, moderate exercise and the soluble oat fiber -glucan increase immune function and decrease the risk of infection. However, no information exists about the possible benefits of combining the two. A new study, using an animal model of induced respiratory infection, looks at the direct effects of a short period of moderate exercise training and consumption of soluble oat fiber -glucan on the illness (morbidity) and death (mortality) following exposure to an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). The study concludes that that moderate exercise alone is associated with a significant reduction in risk.

Background: How It Works
Exercise - It was thought that moderate exercise may enhance resistance to infection by activating the release of immunostimulatory factors (such as growth hormones, prolactin and cytokines), which in turn activate various immune cell populations. Exercise bouts of moderate duration (<60 min) and lower intensity (<60 %VO2 max) have been associated with enhanced activity of immune parameters, including macrophage chemotaxis, oxidative metabolism and phagocytic activities, as well as increased natural killer (NK) cell activity. These cells may constitute an important part of a first-line defense against URTI by nature of their phagocytic, cytotoxic and intracellular killing capacities.

Oat Fiber -Glucan - -Glucans (polysaccharides derived from the cell wall of yeast, fungi, algae and oats) have been shown to enhance the activities of both the non-specific and specific immune system but have received li

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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