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What are the impacts of exercise on flu vaccine?

WESTON, Fla. – Among the many good reasons to exercise comes from a study suggesting that athletes may get better protection from the flu vaccine than people who are not avid exercisers.

While it’s clear that exercise is good for overall health, researchers in Germany wanted to know what impact it might have on the immune system by comparing flu vaccinations among elite athletes and non-athletes.

“When they analyzed the data they took their vaccine tests several weeks after and found that both groups, the elite athletes and the control group responded but the athletes seemed to a have a more robust response. They had higher antibody levels and the cells that were actually responsible for fighting off infection seemed to be quite higher and there were more of them,” said Dr. Arnaldo Perez, with the Cleveland Clinic Weston.

Perez said people should not confuse the finding with the risks versus benefit of exercising when you’re actually sick, which could put more strain on the immune system, making it difficult to fight infection.

And when it comes to fighting off viruses, researchers are finding that something called T-cells may play a greater role than initially thought.

Scientists have found that one subset of T-cells, which are white blood cells formed in the bone marrow, are crucial to antibody production and may be an additional route to building immunity against COVID-19.

The findings suggest that screening for T-cell response could help determine the level of immunity to the virus throughout the population.


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