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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marian L. Kohut, PhD (Iowa State University)
Description: This book describes the influence of nutrients on immunity and places special emphasis on nutrient intake, immune response to exercise, and susceptibility to infection in athletes.
Purpose: The objectives are worthy in that a comprehensive review of this topic does not exist. Readers may benefit from the information suggesting a link between specific nutrient intake and possible reduction in susceptibility to infection or exercise-induced immunosuppression. The book meets the author's objectives in providing a review of the links between nutrition and immune function. However, very limited data is presented in direct support of the assumed hypotheses (specific nutrient intake alters susceptibility to infection in endurance athletes).
Audience: This book is targeted towards sports medicine professionals, dietitians, exercise immunologists, and endurance athletes. Readers who are not well versed in basic immunology may have some difficulty with some of the text. An overview of the immune system is not provided and some readers may be left questioning the physiological significance of reported immunological alterations.
Features: The first chapter reviews the modulation of immunity by exercise and subsequent chapters provide an overview of immune system effects from specific nutrients as well as data linking the nutrient to immunological changes that occur during exercise. Although not all nutrients are reviewed, most that may be important to endurance athletes are reviewed. Many readers will be interested in the studies suggesting that intake of a given nutrient during competition may reduce the risk of infection.
Assessment: The authors cite current publications and researchers in exercise immunology will find this a useful book. One limitation is that indirect associations are relied on to link nutrition, exercise, and immunity rather than direct, hypothesis-driven, well-controlled studies. This limitation is likely due to the fact that this type of data is not widely published and the authors are left to speculate, rather than provide solid evidence for their assumptions.