Sunday, February 04, 2007

Workouts Add Muscle to the Flu Shot

(HealthDay News) -- Pumping iron may pump up your response to a flu shot, British research suggests.

A study of 60 college students concluded that a brief muscle-building session before a flu shot can enhance the immune system's response to the vaccine. However, men and women had different responses.

In the study, the students either rested quietly or did upper arm exercises for about 25 minutes. Six hours later, all the students received a flu shot.

Over the next five months, blood samples were taken from the students in order to measure cellular immune response and longer-lasting development of antibodies to the viruses in the flu vaccine.

The cell-mediated response remained unchanged in women who exercised, while it increased in males. Antibody response was higher in women who exercised but was lower in men.

"We're trying to find something that could be very simple to do, which would benefit your vaccine response," study lead author Kate Edwards, of the University of Birmingham, said in a prepared statement.

The findings from this study help confirm earlier research by Edwards' team that found that the acute stress of exercise can enhance antibody production in humans.

The findings are published in the February issue of the journal Brains, Behavior and Immunity.

More information
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these flu prevention tips.

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