Stop getting sick this winter – supplements, cortisol, naps and nervous cats

Newsflash: you’re more likely to catch a cold in the winter

upper respiratory illness transmission may escalate during winter sports seasons

There are many factors involved in staying healthy and not missing weeks of training this winter season. Let’s examine some easy ways to reduce our chances of being laid up instead of banging out those sweet PRs. And let’s not kid ourselves: when your nose is dripping and you’re running a fever, don’t nobody wanna bang you. Also, stay tuned for an article about Test / SARMs flu coming soon, to be written by our resident immunology expert.

Sleep deprivation to be avoided at all costs for the hard training athlete due to immunosuppression

Aren't twin studies just the best?

Researchers took blood samples from 11 pairs of identical twins with different sleep patterns and discovered that the twin with shorter sleep duration had a depressed immune system, compared with his or her sibling. The findings were published Jan. 25 in the journal Sleep.

Naps combat sleep deprivation induced immunosuppression

Your gym revenge fantasies keep you up all night? Is visualizing yourself pummeling that half-squatter with a 25lb plate better than restful sleep? Seeing yourself in your mind’s eye white-knighting the besieged instathot who’s hogging the assisted pullup machine to perform some incomprehensible spine-adjustment contortion gets your rocks off? I get it bro. Good news, you can reverse some of that self-harm with a quick nap or two later in the day.

30 minute morning and afternoon naps…

napping has stress-releasing and immune effects. Napping could be easily applied in real settings as a countermeasure to the detrimental health consequences of sleep debt.

Our results indicate that additional recovery sleep after sleep restriction provided by a midday nap prior to recovery sleep or a sleep extended night can improve alertness and return leukocyte counts to baseline values.

Higher cortisol means higher risk of infection

Basal cortisol production…showed a graded association with infection risk, with those producing higher levels of cortisol being at greater risk. Cortisol also showed a continuous association with duration of viral shedding, an indicator of viral replication and continuing infection, such that higher cortisol concentrations predicted more days of shedding. Cortisol was not, however, related to severity of objective illness. These findings are the first to demonstrate in healthy adults an association between basal cortisol production and an objectively measured and clinically relevant infectious disease outcome.

Ways to combat high cortisol


The treatment group that was given the high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction (P<0.0001) in scores on all the stress-assessment scales on Day 60, relative to the placebo group. The serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced (P=0.0006) in the Ashwagandha group, relative to the placebo group. (the cortisol levels were down around 30%)

Make sure you’re getting the extract and take 400-800mg a day of a 15:1 extract or equivalent KSM-66 dose.


subjective stress response to a multitasking cognitive stressor, was significantly reduced one hour after administration of the L-theanine drink when compared to placebo. The salivary cortisol response to the stressor was reduced three hours post-dose following active treatment. a significantly lower cortisol response 3 h post-dose for the active treatment visit (z = −1.98, p = 0.047, median cortisol response: placebo = 0.44, active = −0.09).

Apparently the cortisol response to stress was lowered significantly in this study. For me, ideal dose is 600-800mg.

Just in case you have an anxious pussy:

it can be concluded that L-theanine (Anxitane®) helped to improve the undesirable manifestations of stress in cats in as soon as 15 days

Flavonoid supplementation reduces incidence, duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infecitons

Flavonoids are a class of plant and fungus secondary metabolites.

Fourteen studies, of 387 initially identified, were included in this review, and the primary outcome measure was the effect of flavonoids on URTI incidence, duration, and severity. Of the included studies, flavonoid supplementation ranged from 0.2 to 1.2 g/d. Overall, flavonoid supplementation decreased URTI incidence by 33% (95% CI: 31%, 36%) compared with control, with no apparent adverse effects.

Flavinoids that show effectiveness in reducing the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infection:


The included study found that people who took garlic every day for three months (instead of a placebo) had fewer colds. That is, over the three‐month period, there were 24 occurrences of the common cold in the garlic group, compared to 65 in the placebo group. When participants experienced a cold, the length of illness was similar in both groups (4.63 versus 5.63 days).

After 90 d of supplementation, illness diary entries showed that the incidence of colds and flu, a secondary outcome, were not statistically different; however, the group consuming the aged garlic extract appeared to have reduced severity as noted by a reduction in the number of symptoms reported (21% fewer, p < 0.001, z-test of proportions), a reduction in the number of days (61% fewer, p < 0.001, z-test) and incidences (58% fewer p < 0.001, z-test) where the subjects functioned sub-optimally and the number of work/school days missed due to illness (58% fewer, p = 0.035, z-test).

  • Garlic should be consumed by first chopping it up, and allowing it to air out. This releases alliinase, which converts alliin to allicin, which is what is most responsible for the immune-boosting effects of garlic. It is an antimicrobial and antiviral natural defense of the garlic bulb
  • Only do this if you're already too ugly for anyone to ever love
  • It can also be consumed as aged garlic, in pill form
  • 2-6g equivalent of fresh bulb is the sweet spot it seems
  • Powdered garlic or garlic extracts do not contain viable allicin. There are other benefits to garlic extracts and powdered garlic such as increasing serum sulphide content (which carries a vasolidation action)
  • It is also possible to purchase microencapsulated allicin which isn’t 100% proven to be effective. Here is a blurb from one such product:

contains a natural alkalizing matrix consisting of calcium, magnesium and potassium to protect alliinase from degrading in the acidity of the stomach. Alliinase is the key enzyme required to convert alliin to allicin, the compound associated with the health benefits of garlic. With this specialized alkaline base, enteric coating is not needed and allicin yield is optimized. Preliminary information suggests that when placed in an acid environment, the ingredients of GarliActive effectively buffer pH. The acid repression is rapid, ultimately achieving a pH of 6.5-7.0 and delivering allicin to the stomach and small intestine without stomach upset or irritation. A recent study revealed that the bioavailability of this preparation was comparable to fresh garlic and was well tolerated

This study indicates that garlic possibly attracts vampires.


URTI incidence during the 2-wk postexercise period differed significantly between groups (quercetin=1/20 vs placebo=9/20, Kaplan-Meier analysis statistic=8.31, P=0.004).

Other flavonoids

Consumption of the cranberry beverage modified the ex vivo proliferation of γδ-T cells. As these cells are located in the epithelium and serve as a first line of defense, improving their function may be related to reducing the number of symptoms associated with a cold and flu.

I have always been told to dunk my unit in some cranberry juice if it ever burns to pee. Has never let me down yet. I suppose you could drink it as well.


The total number of common cold patients was 199, the majority being females. Eighty percent of them fell into the age range 20–50 years. One third of the patients had allergies. The one stage meta‐analysis gave an overall estimate of 2.73 days (95% CI 1.8, 3.3 days) shorter colds by zinc acetate lozenge usage. The two stage meta‐analysis gave an estimate of 2.94 days (95% CI 2.1, 3.8 days) reduction in common cold duration.

We included 17 trials involving a total of 2121 participants. Compared with patients given placebo, those receiving zinc had a shorter duration of cold symptoms (mean difference −1.65 days, 95% confidence interval [CI] −2.50 to −0.81); however, heterogeneity was high (I2 = 95%). Zinc shortened the duration of cold symptoms in adults (mean difference −2.63, 95% CI −3.69 to −1.58)

I was gonna write more, but I think I am coming down with something. Time to boof some freshly-chopped garlic. Wish me luck!