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And how would you test for a delayed immune response? For me it seems a bit iffy, because outside of a controlled clinical setting it is hard to meassure these things reliably. There is the whole bias / placebo effect ie. that you end up deluding yourself with confirmation bias ie. yes I definitely feel bad on X food.

Practically: Are we talking about a personal paleo approach ie. paleo reset diet, maybe tracking symptoms that may be related to food: Bloating, cramps, diarrhoea - and also more non-specific things like energy level, mood and skin?

I am not particularly against such an approach, but the people who are genuinely coming up with something new and worthwhile are spread very thin. Also there is the question of diet as something that needs "fixing", the attitude you have towards eating and foods are perhaps as important as the food you actually eat.

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  • 11 months later...

An interesting recent event occurred to me recently, in relation to psychological stress and inflammation. As inflammation in the body is generally a BAD THING (though it is useful in fighting disease, in many cases it leads to more problems than it solves in individuals in our society). This one was clearly induced by psychological stress. I thought I'd add it to this thread rather than start another one.


I had some bad news, which left me feeling anxious and stressed. 3 hrs later I had a blood test. Two days later I had another blood test for something else, which coincidentally measured some of the same things. In the first test, my neutrophil count was found to be nearly 3 times what it normally is, and nearly 2 times the normal limit. On the second test, my neutrophil count was back to its normal level (and well within the normal range). As high neutrophil levels are associated with inflammation (normally neutrophils are used to fight infection), this suggests that the psychological stress had very quickly induced transient inflammation.


Just as well it was a transient effect. However, the response was dramatic and extremely clear. Interesting.


Since then I've been reading up about the effects of exercise on inflammatory markers. The general conclusion is that while very intense exercise may be immuno-suppressing, prolonged levels of lower intensity exercise may be immuno-enhancing (as we all thought).


E.g. "Single bouts of prolonged (presume they mean intense) exercise may impair T-cell, NK-cell, and neutrophil function, alter the Type I and Type II cytokine balance, and blunt immune responses to primary and recall antigens in vivo. .... In contrast, single bouts of moderate intensity exercise are "immuno-enhancing" and have been used to effectively increase vaccine responses in "at-risk" patients. Improvements in immunity due to regular exercise of moderate intensity may be due to reductions in inflammation, maintenance of thymic mass, alterations in the composition of "older" and "younger" immune cells, enhanced immunosurveillance, and/or the amelioration of psychological stress" (quoted from Simpson et al., 2015. Exercise and the regulation of immune functions, Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 135:355-80.

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My Uncle Lou: "All things in moderation, Master Kit... especially moderation." He was French.


Still excellent advice, IMHO.


@Jim: I am not at all surprised by your clear establishment of the relation between stress and inflammation (amazing: three times the neurophil count). Yet we know, and can feel these responses if we are sensitive enough, I believe. Similarly with the conclusions of the Exercise and the regulation of immune functions paper. The fight or flight mechanisms (triggered by the intense, single bout experience) exist for emergencies; you can feel these effects in your own body (and I can feel them dissipate, too).


Do you ever do any of that kind of intensive exercise yourself?

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Unfortunately, UQ does not seem to have a subscription to that journal, so I cant check the details in the article. What is “intense" and what is "prolonged", and what is the optimal pattern of exercise for biological health?


I am finding some reports that suggest that the level of stress and/or exercise needed to produce the most positive effects overall may in fact be rather mild. Its clearly a large and complex area and I have only begun to scratch the surface, and clearly there is going to not only to be a great deal of individual variation, but variation depending on the type of task and the type of response being measured.


I should mention that in many of the reports that get into the news, the emphasis is on cardiovascular health (this point is often hidden). The pattern for optimal cardiovascular health may not be the same as for other things (e.g. immune function). Probably most of the people reading this board have a lifestyle that already promotes good cardiovascular health, so their interest may be more in other things.


So at the moment I cant add anything more than what is obvious, except that the more intense exercise (even if brief), as often suggested for cardiovascular health, may not necessarily be better overall. I will keep reading and if I can come to clearer conclusions will post them here.


As for what I do, I do what I like and enjoy. This is generally a few hours per day of moderate exercise (medium-speed cycling, teaching stretch classes, my own stretch routines, practicing performances, ballet barre), though there are occasional periods that are more intense. I wonder, should I occasionally exercise the fight or flight response, or am I doing best after all?



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