Immunonutrition support for athletes

Nutr Rev. 2008 Jun;66(6):310-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00038.x.


Multiple components of the immune systems in athletes exhibit transient dysfunction after prolonged, heavy exertion. During this "open window" of impaired immunity, pathogens may gain a foothold, increasing infection risk. Nutritional supplements have been studied as countermeasures to exercise-induced immune changes and infection risk. This review focuses on findings from recent exercise-based studies with macro- and micronutrient supplements, and "advanced" immunonutrition supplements including beta-glucan, curcumin, and quercetin. Results from these studies indicate that immunonutrition supplements have the potential to lessen the magnitude of exercise-induced perturbations in immune function and to reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Sports*