Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde vol:147 issue:28 pages:1347-1351
Physical exercise has numerous effects on the human body, including the immune system. After strenuous exercise, athletes pass through a period of impaired immune resistance. During this period, athletes are theoretically more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections, although a causal relation has never been demonstrated. Moderate exercise seems to have a beneficial effect on the immune function, which could protect against upper respiratory tract infections. Exercise has effects on both the humoral and the cellular immune system. Doping products, except glucocorticoids, only have modest effects on the immune system, although erythropoietin may, in rare cases, cause severe side-effects. Glutamine and vitamin C could, hypothetically, prevent the negative effects of strenuous exercise on the immune function, but further studies are needed to demonstrate and explain these effects.