Every bodybuilder knows that there's a downside to hard-training: getting sick. Bodybuilders have known for years that while training hard is needed to get strong and build serious muscle, overtraining is sometimes just a rep away. In a new study, researchers tried to figure out part of the reason why training can make you sick, and they think they've found part of the answer: it's in your spit.
Researchers tested a team of World-class rowers, and wanted to see how intense exercise affected levels of lactoferrin and lysozyme – two immune system saliva proteins that kill microbes. High levels of these proteins is a good thing, and low levels not good – if levels get too low, you get sick.
After examining saliva samples from these athletes taken before and after an intense workout, scientists discovered an intense workout lowers the total count of these protective proteins, so your body kills of less microbes – making it easier for you to get sick.
It's not clear why training has this effect, but to combat your risk of getting sick, researchers recommend drinking plenty of water during exercise to flush out potentially harmful bacteria. We also recommend supplementing with vitamin C for oxidant protection and eating plenty of protein so you heal faster.
Source: West, Nick. Griffith University. Elite Athletes More Susceptible To Common Illnesses, Research Suggests.
- FUSION Research Team