Exercise May Boost Your Vaccine Response


If you are an athlete, you may gain greater immunity from a flu shot than people who are less active, according to two complementary and timely new studies of exercise and vaccinations. The two studies, which involved the same group of elite runners, swimmers, wrestlers, cyclists and other athletes, suggest that intense training amplifies our vaccine response, a finding with particular relevance now, as the flu season looms and scientists work to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

Having an immune system primed to clobber infections and respond robustly to vaccinations is obviously desirable now, during the ongoing pandemic. And in general, exercise aids immunity, most science shows. People who work out often and moderately tend to catch fewer colds and other viruses than sedentary people. More immediately, if you exercise your arm in the hours before a flu shot, you likely will develop a stronger antibody response than if you rest that arm, a few small studies indicate.

But there have also been suggestions that under certain circumstances, exercise may dampen the immune response. Some epidemiological research and personal stories from athletes hint that intense, exhausting exercise might be detrimental to immunity in the short term. Marathon racers, for example, report catching colds at disproportionately high rates soon after a race, although some physiologists suspect these post-race respiratory problems are inflammatory, not infectious.

Of course, these studies focused on elite, competitive athletes, which most of us are not. But Dr. Sester believes even more-casual recreational athletes are likely to mount better flu-vaccine responses than sedentary people. Likewise, she and her colleagues expect high fitness should improve immune responses to other vaccines, including, potentially, a Covid-19 shot.

“The basic principles of vaccine response are probably the same,” she says. Future studies will have to confirm that possibility, though, if and when a vaccine becomes available.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/26/well/move/exercise-may-boost-your-vaccine-response.htmlHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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