T Nation

QUESTION ON BODYBUILDING & IMMUNE SYSTEM

I hope someone out here can help me out…
I have some autoimmune conditions (namely alopecia universalis and pemphigus) that I combat through nutrition and lifestyle. Since many autoimmune disorders are the result of overactive helper cells and depressed suppressor cells, I have the following $6.40 (Canadian) question:
Since I weight train, if I “cranked things up”, say, to the point of near overtraining, would it be possible for the immune suppression of this increased, high level of training lower the activity of my helper cells such that my conditions may improve??? I do understand this also may carry the double edged sword, if it works, of my contracting infections more easily. Any help is appreciated!

I’ve heard that overtraining suppresses the immune system. Isn’t that one of Zatsiorsky’s symptoms? (I’m at school so I don’t have the book handy)

Theoretically it makes sense and I’ve pondered the same thing myself. I have personal experience with autoimmunity as well and what I’ve found is that when I approached overtraining to the point you’re referring to it definitely didn’t help and in fact hindered my condition. I believe the problem is when so called experts say that autoimmunity is an “overactive” immune system you have to differentiate between what is an overactive and imbalanced, hyperacute, or hyper-allergenic immune system. I’m not familiar with your conditions but it seems most people with autoimmune problems over time tend to develop suppressed immune systems.

I think not. I worked with a patient with multiple sclerosis (a classic “autoimmune disease” ) and they had clinical evidence of longstanding immune depression. So I would suspect you would do better by giving you body enough vitamins and minerals to help support your immune system (e.g. I can almost guarantee that you are zinc deficient if you are not already taking it, and taking a few grams of vitamin c (ascorbate form) would probably be helpful to you also. Cardio has improved the allergies of a few people I know (perhaps it imporves the ration of helper to supressor cells?)