Swine flu and the immune health of athletes

[caption id="attachment_294" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Empty soccer stadium in Mexico City during the swine flu epidemic"]Empty soccer stadium in Mexico City during the swine flu epidemic[/caption]

The emerging swine flu epidemic looks to be spreading at a faster rate than the regular seasonal flu, making it comparable to some of the major flu epidemics of the 20th century like the Spanish Flu (1918) and the Asian Flu (1976). In a study to be published in the journal Science this week, Neil Ferguson and his colleagues at the Imperial College London analyzed the speed of transmission of the swine flu.

Athletes know from their own experience, and it has been well demonstrated in multiple studies, that hard exercise can depress the immune system making athletes more susceptible to catching colds and the flu. While most of these studies have focused on endurance athletes running marathons and ultramarathons, similar results have been observed among football players.

One of the body's first lines of defense against respiratory infections (like colds and flu) is the level of immunoglobin in the saliva. Readers familiar with nuBound will know studies have shown that taking a dietary nucleotide supplement can help boost salivary immunoglobin in athletes.