T Nation

Training Continuity


I've got a pretty busy life: a new marriage, a demanding career, two sons, etc. etc. A lot of you can relate I am sure. But here's what I have noticed:

  1. I was doing GVT. Life was good and I was making gains. Then I got sick with a nasty bug last month: it took me completely out of commission for weeks ? bronchitis and an almost blown ear drum.

  2. Yesterday I started back up with the Waterbury 3 Day Per Week Full Body program. Today I woke up feeling like I had a hangover and a scratchy throat.

So here?s what I?m getting at. What can I do to boost my immune system so I don?t get these overtraining symptoms? I?m already taking Vit C, a multivitamin, Vit E, Ca/Mg and probably 3 days/week Zn/Se. I want to train hard and quit running into a brick wall!

Any ideas would be much appreciated.


Supplement wise, first swap the Cal Mag for ZMA and take it every night. Make sure the Vitamin E is mixed tocopherols.
I'm in mixed minds about multivitamins as many of the constituents compete for absorption, but I use Solgar VM-2000.

Make sure your diet is high in carotenes like alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Drink Green tea as its rich in polyphenolic flavones. Certain fruits contain proanythocianidins too, but grape seed extract is available as a supplement.

Plant chemicals, sometimes called phytochemicals and more the 'plantioxidants' have some marked anti-inflammatory properties too.

I also take Selenium, this is important relating to Glutathione production.

Additional stuff is Milk thistle which aids hepatic repair (liver) and boost liver functionality.

Its best to google all this stuff as I don't have room to expound here. There a re literally hundreds of things to take besides your basic antixodants, like C, E and Selenium. If you want any specific info just ask me.


Thx for the ideas. I take the antioxidants because I?ve seen that it makes a significant difference in my skin ? it?s quite remarkable. I?m seeing imo actual repair occurring.

Anyway, I?m already taking 1) grape seed and I get tons of lycopene and lutein every day. I also am an avid black tea drinker. So, anyway, several questions for you:

  1. Why is mixed tocopherols important? I?ve been taking Vit E just for general antioxidant properties, esp. related to skin. But I remember reading that one kind of tocopherol helped with one kind of cancer and another tocopherol with another major disease, etc.
  2. I used to take a supplement that had tribulus in it and, as it turns out, ZMA. I once called their consumer help line and was asking some questions and the rep insisted that I take it at night on an empty stomach and emphasized not to take any other zinc. He said that you can take too much Zinc. Since then, I?ve read that some cutting edge physicians prescribe Zinc for prostrate issues in daily doses even higher than that in ZMA. But I was spooked by that first rep?s comments. Have you read anything about how much Zinc can be safely taken on a daily basis?
  3. Isn?t drinking quite a bit of black tea as good as being a green tea drinker?
  4. Sorry to be ignorant but what does the liver have to do with immunity? Or are you talking about what happens when your body is rebuilding itself after a hard workout?


Here's an example of what I'm talking about with regards to Zinc toxicity:


GJ Fosmire
Department of Nutrition, College of Health and Human Development, Penn State University, University Park 16802.

Although consequences of zinc deficiency have been recognized for many years, it is only recently that attention has been directed to the potential consequences of excessive zinc intake. This is a review of the literature on manifestations of toxicity at several levels of zinc intake. Zinc is considered to be relatively nontoxic, particularly if taken orally. However, manifestations of overt toxicity symptoms (nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, lethargy, and fatigue) will occur with extremely high zinc intakes. At low intakes, but at amounts well in excess of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) (100-300 mg Zn/d vs an RDA of 15 mg Zn/d), evidence of induced copper deficiency with attendant symptoms of anemia and neutropenia, as well as impaired immune function and adverse effects on the ratio of low-density- lipoprotein to high-density-lipoprotein (LDL/HDL) cholesterol have been reported. Even lower levels of zinc supplementation, closer in amount to the RDA, have been suggested to interfere with the utilization of copper and iron and to adversely affect HDL cholesterol concentrations. Individuals using zinc supplements should be aware of the possible complications attendant to their use.


Most Vit E supplements are DL-alpha-tocopherol on its own. Its only effective against certain free radicals, this is also mot widely appreciated. High doses of Alpha tocepherol can lower levels of gamma tocopherols in the body. So to have a full range, take mixed tocopherols and a good branded one.

Zinc wise take, supplement wise no more than about 60 mg a day, I must take about 25mg I think. Absorption depends on the type, amino acid chelate will be better than the mineral on its own (especially Zinc with a Calcium binder like DCP that quite crap).

Zinc overdoses cause dehydration and increased HgbA1C. Other issues are Iron metabolism and also copper metabolism issues, but this really at pretty high doses and stems from thinks like environmental pollution rather than eating zinc tablets for fun. Antibiotics increase zinc depletion in urine and of course its a constituent of Semen.

The tea debate goes on, I'd drink both so you don't miss anything. Both are high in methylxanthines though, black tera contains a little more theophylline which was used as an asthma palliative.

You can buy tea blends a mix of both that mix well with milk. In general, tea catechins are potent free radical scavengers and have also demonstrated anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiatherogenic, and antimicrobial activity.

The liver contains the largest pools of Glutathione, this is made up of glycine, cysteine and glutamine. If the liver is not up to speed you can see a vast constellation of associated problems. Depletion of Glutathione causes all kinds of problems. When Glutathione levels are low, sometimes NAC is used, N-Acetyl Cysteine helps in Glutathione synthesis. I've been deliberately vague here, but the liver and its functions are paramount with immune function plus a host of other things. Taking NAC is worthwhile by the way if you can find it. NAC might make you deplete more zinc though, and allegeedly it helps the body deal with acetaminophen which is in some pain killers.


Thx ? you're an encyclopedia! I appreciate the info about Zinc. So you haven't read anything about ZMA decreasing copper absorption?

Right now I'm taking 200 IU of alpha. Is that what you mean by high doses?

I'll read up on Glutathione. I'm so ignorant that I can't even ask an intelligent question?


200iu is not a particularly high dose, commercially availabe are does up to 1000iu. I think the mixed tocophereols I take are about 600iu.


Thx for the info on Glutathione. I'm already reading - fascinating stuff!


Ok the Endocrinology / Biochem thing is not my forte, sorry if some of the info is vague. There are some knowledgeable people here, just think they are busy.