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International Exercise & Nutrition Expert In Town

As the final curtain fell on the Sydney Olympics, athletes from every corner of the globe basked in the glory of their time on the rostrum or in having bettered their personal best. For some the sacrifices and dedication to training and nutrition regimes were rewarded, but for others, that special edge was missing. Countless de-briefings and personal evaluations will attribute this to a number of physical and emotional possibilities, not excluding the common cold and flu-like viruses.

But why should top athletes at their peak of physical fitness be vulnerable to colds and flu? According to visiting world renowned sports researcher Dr David Nieman, the flu like symptoms experienced by some, could well be due to the interaction of exertion and the types of food consumed and the way in which these effect the immune systems. Dr Nieman, who is here to present the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation’s Sanitarium Seminar, is a Professor of Health & Exercise Science at Appalachian University, North Carolina and has spent the last 20 years looking closely at the interaction of nutrition and exercise and their effect on the immune system, obesity and ageing.

“After prolonged bouts of endurance exercise the immune system can be seen to be suppressed or stressed, albeit transiently,” Dr Nieman states. “Whether these immune changes reduce protection against viruses is still to be clarified.”

As athletes strive to find an edge over their competitors new nutrition regimes abound. With Dr Nieman’s research pointing to significant effects of food type on immune response, the need for sports people to pay attention to the effect that these regimes may have on recovery rates or susceptibility to illness is once again highlighted. At a time when many athletes are experimenting with the levels of dietary carbohydrate indications from Dr Nieman’s research are, that the strategic inclusion of carbohydrates can not only support the ability to train but may also reduce the likelihood of succumbing to illness.

“Overall, the hormonal and immune responses to carbohydrate compared to placebo ingestion suggest that physiologic stress is diminished with carbohydrate intake, although clinical significance awaits further research, “ Dr Nieman states.

The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation sees the significance of Dr Nieman’s work being applicable to the wider community.

“The current popularity of high fat, high protein , low carbohydrate intakes are of concern, not only for those involved in competitive and recreational sport but the public in general,” states Professor Cliff Tasman-Jones, the NZ Nutrition Foundation’s Scientific Director . “A diet high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates creates a situation where the body doesn’t use food as fuel as effectively as it should. This results in the build up of toxic waste products that may put added strain on the kidneys.
Also adherence could result in dehydration, increase the excretion of calcium and generally be responsible for upsetting the body’s chemical balance.”

Dr Nieman will also be speaking on Tuesday 10th October on the effects of physical activity and food intake on cancer prevention.

With strong evidence indicating that physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer and that higher levels of activity may reduce breast cancer risk1 interest in current thinking is running high. Physical activity also helps maintain a healthy body weight that may also protect against some cancers, including breast cancer.1

Dr Nieman will be speaking at a number of meetings in Auckland and Christchurch.

The Alexandra Park Function Centre
Greenlane Road, Greenlane

8th October NZIFST Conference – 1.30 – 3.30 pm
This programme will include presentations from Dr Nieman, Hamish Carter and Sports Nutritionist Jeni Pearce

NZ Nutrition Foundation‘s Sanitarium 2000 Lecture Series

9th October NZ Nutrition Foundation/ Sanitarium Lecture
“Nutrition & Exercise Immunology” 6.30 – 8.00 p.m.

10th October “Fitness, Food and Cancer Prevention” Dr David Nieman
“Getting to the Heart of Health Claims”..Dr Clare Hasler
6.30 – 8.15 p.m.

University Staff Club, 87 Ilam Road

12th October “Nutrition & exercise Immunology” Dr David Nieman
6.00 – 7.45 p.m.


For more information contact:
Bronwen Hannay, NZ Nutrition Foundation, ph: 09 575 3419, email:
Or Sarah Williams, ph: 09 379 3154 or 025 928 125

1 Willet W. 1999. Goals for Nutrition in the year 2000. CA - A Cancer Journal for Clinicians; 49 (6): 331-352. NZ NUT MEDIA REL

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