Optimising your ability to Fight Infection

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

With Winter approaching, it feels like a good time to discuss what we can do to make our bodies better at fighting infection (our immune response). This post (and podcast) concentrates on the things we can all do to improve our chances of reducing the number of viral type illnesses we get (whether COVID-19 or the common cold).

This post and podcast were first published on our parent site, St Emlyn’s Blog. Professor Simon Carley interviewed two experts: Dr John Rogers (consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine) and Dr Nathan Lewis (a leading performance nutrition scientist) and you can hear the interview here.

The main messages are beautifully summed up in this cool infographic (which you can print out). Although much of the research was done in elite athletes it seems sensible to give it a try, and there’s no evidence that it can do any harm.


Dr John Rogers is a Consultant in Sport & Exercise Medicine at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. He also works as Medical Director at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance and as a Visiting Professor in Sport & Exercise Medicine at Manchester Metropolitan University. His previous jobs include CMO to British Triathlon, Institute Medical Officer to British Athletics, Consultant SEM Physician at the Defence Military Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court, CMO for Team GB at Youth Olympic Games, Team Doctor for British Paralympic Athletics Team, Sports Physician at ORRECO and GP Partner at Brooklands Medical Practice. He has a particular clinical interest in medical problems related to endurance sport.

Dr Nathan A. Lewis currently works as the Lead Performance Nutrition Scientist for the English Institute of Sport (EIS), having worked as a senior performance nutritionist for the EIS across several Olympic cycles, including Beijing, London, Rio, and now into a fourth, Toyko. Nathan has delivered nutritional programs to optimize health and performance to many athletes over the years, including World, Olympic and European Medalists across a spectrum of Olympic Sports. Outside of Olympic Sports, Nathan has experience consulting to Professional teams in the English Premier League, PGA Golf, NBA, NHL and MLB through his role as the Lead Performance and Clinical Nutritionist and Scientist at the Sports science and data analytics company ORRECO. His research to date has focused on biomarkers, oxidative stress in elite endurance athletes, and unexplained under performance syndrome (Overtraining Syndrome). He has published in peer reviewed Sports Medicine and Science Journals and collaborated on various book chapters in the field of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Science.

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