This is Part 3 of our 3-part series on the immune system and how you can get healthier and stronger immune function. If you’ haven’t yet go back and listen to Part 1 & Part 2 first. On this episode we tie it all together and cover mental stress, neurotransmitters, nutritional protocols to support your immune system in general and before/after vaccines, the question of vaccines/boosters and individual responses and approaches, athletes who seem prone to getting sick and more…
Based on your latest podcast I would love to hear Steve’s thoughts on how to support your immune system to prepare for Covid booster shots. (Perhaps I should search his sight first for more information.) I recently had mine not sure how I feel about it but each time I’ve had a pretty significant response. The second go around I actually got shingles. I do you have underlying autoimmune condition (Raynaud’s) I don’t consider it severe enough to be a concern with the vaccine. Perhaps I am wrong. it’s hard to know what the right thing is to do these days. There just isn’t enough information available to make a solid decision. Im trying to good for my community and I have potential high exposure at my job as a massage therapist. Ugh!
Intellectually I agree with science and vaccines. But my gut disagrees.
What we say:
- Discussing the value and validity of trusting your gut and intuition.
- Don’t lose your intuition, this means we lose our own compass.
- Being in alignment and true to yourself, our purpose, etc.
- Uncertainty or indecision affects large intestine (going back to Chinese medicine).
- If an autoimmune condition is present that should be a red flag when deciding to get a vaccine.
- IL-4 is the predominant cytokine of the Th2 response and when you combine that with TGF-beta, this leads to a Th9 response, which is another pathway in which someone develops autoimmunity.
- If we provoke the Th2 pathway excessively (can happen with allergies, asthma, parasites, vaccines) you’re more susceptible to developing or worsening autoimmunity.
- Shingles is a sign that immune system set off, this condition is the reactivation of the virus for many of us (as it lives dormant in us usually), and the Th1/Th2 imbalance at play in leading it to surface.
- What about “mild” autoimmune cases or those in remission from autoimmune conditions?
- If it’s present and an issue, even minor, that is considered a risk factor.
- Remission is another issue and a deep question.
- Recent data indicates that the vaccine may only diminish transmission/reduce exposure for 3 weeks.
- The vaccines for covid aren’t lasting very long but what they are doing is hoping to reduce severe cases.
- What about natural immunity? Herd immunity? And helping to end the pandemic.
- Typically vaccines don’t last as long as natural immunity for many viruses (i.e. viruses other than covid).
- And with covid we just don’t know everything yet for one reason: time.
- So bottom line: how do we prepare and support my immune system for a better Th2 response when getting a vaccine or booster?
- If you want to get the booster and more shots going forward: support immune system, A, D, OPC are high on the list to support.
Just discovered endurance planet a couple of weeks ago and have been gobbling up the episodes. Thanks for your important perspective on the whole person not just the performer. I am striving for balanced and health-focused marathon training if such a thing is possible.
I’m a mother of two and my kids and marathoning are my joys.
I’m a 4x marathoner and have progressed from 3:20 (2014) to 2:56 (2019) with a baby born in 2016. My second was born March this year.
Nothing inspires me like the marathon and I overperform at it relative to my other distances. I know I should probably take a season or two to run shorter distances but whenever I do that I often lose motivation and don’t enjoy myself.
I’m a huge fan of building up to 100km weeks I like to hold for about 10 weeks each cycle. My workouts are fairly light — I rarely go to the well and focus on threshold and hills for power— and love the long run.
However every build my limiting factor is illness. I have mild asthma that flares up with respiratory infections. When I train and race through these infections, I know I potentially damaging my lungs by prolonging the infection and exacerbating my asthma symptoms. I’ve worked with a naturopathic doctor in the past and I’m not sure the supplements help if I only take 3 days off instead of waiting for the illness to subside. I usually get very antsy about losing fitness. I have taken up to a week off but find it very difficult. I am getting better with a meditation practice and improved perspective at listening to my body.
I’ve moved to a new area and made fast friends with other runners also running marathons this spring. I promised myself I’d put health and family first but am so tempted to run Boston 2022 for social reasons and to do what I love. Somehow I still qualify from 2019. I have not run it before. It feels “right” but daunting.
My first race post partum (8 months post partum) was to be this weekend (nov 8). I didn’t line up because my two sons got ill earlier this week and I got sick beginning Thursday. Scratchy throat, dry cough keeping me up at night, and runny nose. Not major but I’m just not interested in it developing into an upper respiratory tract infection so I DNSed. So far asthma feels controlled.
I’ve been running 60k a week with little strain and lots of enjoyment and think I could easily build to 85k and maybe 90-95 by January.
OTHER LIFESTYLE FACTORS
My baby sleeps better than my first but sleep and diet are definitely some areas I could improve. When babys not teething or unwell I usually get 4-5 hr stretches once 3-4x a week. My partner works shift but for the next few months will have all weekends off which will allow me to train with friends for every long run on Sundays. It’s much less stressful than my normal training cycle where I sometimes and doing my 35k long runs at 7pm.
My naturopathic doctor has me trying out an elimination diet for 4 weeks because I also had iron deficiency and low hemoglobin through my pregnancy. I’ve had chronic anemia and needed to supplement on and off for a decade and we suspect a gut issue. I got iron infusions due to my pregnancy January 2021.. We are eliminating alcohol, dairy, gluten, and added sugar for 4-6 weeks and adding a probiotic. A decade ago I had an eating disorder but I truly feel released from it. I can eat a variety of foods without issue now, fuel very well when I train in particular, and know I need to eat nutrient dense food and put away the junk. I eat about 70/30 whole to processed foods.
- Is it foolish to train for a respectable Boston (I’d love to run sub 3:15) given my current lifestyle of young kids, less than ideal sleep, and susceptibility to illness?
- What is your thinking on training through mild illness or maintaining fitness without overall stressing the body or is total rest required?
- Any other tips for runners prone to illness? Nutrition, supplements, or lifestyle? It’s complicated for supplements bc I am breastfeeding and plan to continue for another 6 months most likely.
I love marathoning but also know I may need to be patient.
What we say:
- The concept of “runners who are prone to illness”—the key here is, we shouldn’t be prone to illness. It’s ok to get sick on occasion but it’s how those illnesses affect us (severity, duration, etc). But if you find yourself catching everything, especially as an athlete, there is a clear imbalance between health and fitness, and something needs to change.
- If the training is too much and heavily weighted in one’s life, i.e. having a negative effect on ability to recover or stay balanced, then that will show itself in the illness and allergies, etc.
- Aerobic system is dependent on iron; iron is tied with T-reg cells.
- And vitamins A, D, copper, glutathione—these all needed for T reg cells.
- Iron helps make superoxide dismutase, which is a powerful antioxidant right up there with glutathione.
- So back to the training, is it worth it? Is it foolish? Yes but….
- We’ve all done dumb things like training and racing when we were sick and prolonging that illness.
- Thorne article and facts on the J curve with exercise, with more that we discussed in Part 2 of this series.
- Fit but unhealthy? Refer to Maffeotone/Laursen article.
- We also discuss more on fit but unhealthy in this podcast.
- More tips and considerations:
- Athletes are a bit stubborn and tend to train/race even when worn down and/or sick.
- Also, in being a mom, is your ability to parent and show up for your kids negatively affected?
- Total rest isn’t necessary, you don’t have to quit running.
- Asthma resources by the Sock Doc:
- Better understanding of asthma
- Asthma and athletes
- The idea here is: What if you can make your lungs stronger and not just manage the deficiency? So you can train and race and get rid of this condition and catch fewer respiratory infections.
- With medications, how are these affecting you, what is the mechanism taking place? Important to dive deeper on this.
- Last word: The races will always be there… it’s ok to hold off on having to everything right now.