The risk of common respiratory illnesses compromising the ability of an athlete to train and/or compete to their optimal ability is well understood by coaches and athletes.

We have previously documented in the Australian Swimming Team that even minor respiratory illnesses can have a small detrimental effect on competitive performance (3). Although our research group has a long history of involvement in this area, a number of fundamental questions remain on the most effective means of managing the minority of athletes (-15% or 1 in 7) who experience persistent or recurrent respiratory illness. In the nutrition field there is a move back towards whole dietary management rather than a heavy focus on
supplementation. The proposed study will compare the effectiveness of a short-term 14 day high and low antioxidant diet on immune function and inflammatory control in male and female athletes.

Our aim is to develop a nutritional intervention targeting athletes at a higher risk of upper respiratory illness, to improve airway health and function, and reduce the frequency and duration of upper respirat01y illness by reducing airway inflammation. The research team has extensive links with AIS sports, AIS Sports Medicine, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), several NSOs, as well as the SIS/SAS network and Sports Dietitians Australia. The more technical information will be distributed to sports science and sp01ts medicine personnel in elite sport, and to university partners. A simplified one page information summary will be prepared for broader distribution to coaches, athletes and general staff. The research team has used a similar information dissemination strategy in the lead-up to the 2004, 2008, 2012 Olympics with the AOC.

Researchers 

Dr Lisa Wood, Professor David Pyne, Professor Maree Gleeson, Professor Robin Callister

Project type 
Project Grant
Year of funding 
2013