The System that Never Sleeps
The New MultiV Endurance Multivitamin & Your Ever-Vigilant Immune System
By Luke R. Bucci, PhD CCN CNS
MultiV – our “basic” MVM (Multiple Vitamin-Mineral with additional nutrients) – has been updated, rebalanced and made over to be even more powerful than before, with significant changes based on the latest nutrition science and experiential feedback. Here, we’re taking a look at the changes to immune system support, which makes MultiV more effective in helping you stay healthy and train harder than even MultiV-PRO.
You exercise hard; the new MultiV works harder to keep you upright.
MVMs to the Rescue!
Keeping your immune system fully stuffed with all the helper nutrients (MVMs) and with a few other dietary substances they like is essential for keeping your immune system at its peak, which is critical for keeping you at peak performance. A tremendous amount of research has been conducted on the role of MVMs and their nutrients to understand how they affect your immune system. After sifting through that universe of studies, we came to certain unalterable conclusions:
1) after energy needs, all immune cells need a constant, steady supply of all the essential MVMs (and even some of the nonessentials – like boron, which accentuates essential vitamin D actions);
2) some MVMs are needed more than others; and
3) specific foodstuffs can help your immune system function.
That’s why a comprehensive, balanced MVM – laden with extras – like MultiV is nutritional rescue for endurance athletes.
MultiV has enough of each nutrient to prevent low intakes (deficiencies and insufficiencies). MultiV is balanced to avoid excesses that might imbalance other essential MVMs, causing functional deficiencies, which is why some human studies that (rather dumbly) look at only one nutrient often fail to show benefits. A one-legged stool is more difficult to sit on than a multi-legged stool. No weak links in the chain of nutritional support when you take MultiV.
Before getting into the individual ingredients in MultiV that offer immune support, let’s detour to consider the systems and processes whereby those ingredients help your immune system do its job. Appropriately for endurance athletes, we’ll focus on the gut, the muscles, and debilitating upper respiratory tract issues that often accompany intense exercise.
If you want to skip straight to the list of ingredients and how they help keep you upright, then scroll down to the MulitV & Your Immune System section; if you’re in it for the deep dive, then simply read on to clarify some Immune System Considerations!
Citations: Bermon 2017; Blocher 2013; Brancaccio 2022; Calder 2013; Gleeson 2016; Gombart 2020; Schwellnus 2010; Walsh 2019
Immune System Considerations
Constant Surveillance Starts in Your Gut
Your immune system is a highly interactive and investigative organ all over your body. Most of your immune system (2/3 or more) resides in your Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT), which if rolled up into a single organ would be as big as your brain.
A large part of GALT is specialized Peyer’s Patches in your intestinal lining, a first line of immune defense. To simplify a complex process, the Peyer’s Patches continuously monitor your gut contents, looking for anything obnoxious and programming lymphocytes to be on the lookout for items of concern. These lymphocytes then jump into your bloodstream and lymphatic vessels in search of that particular target. When they find it, they try to kill it.
“The gut-associated lymphoid tissue is especially important in health and well-being because of its close proximity to a large and diverse population of organisms in the gastrointestinal tract and its exposure to food constituents.” (Calder 2013, Abstract)
Citations: Bermon 2017; Calder 2013; Gombart 2020; Schwellnus 2010; Walsh 2019;
The Immune System’s Ties to Exercise
When you exercise, you physically damage musculoskeletal tissues – it’s why you get sore after overexertion. Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD), Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) – whatever you call it, it’s something we are all too familiar with.
Your immune system cells are front and center with mediating the repair of damage, spewing signals called myokines and cytokines in a carefully orchestrated sequence. More damage means a call to your immune system to clear out debris and the inevitable hiding places for microbes to get a foothold inside of you. That process is a normal, short-lived inflammatory response that initiates recovery and prevents illness.
Currently, a hot topic with researchers on DOMS/EIMD is showing that exercise causing you to ache and even get Upper Respiratory Tract Symptoms (URTS) without being sick is a normal, carefully graded, immune-mediated response to strenuous exercise – something like a prologue cough. Instead of being an actual infection (URTI, usually viral), URTS is caused by the same signals the immune system uses to signal damage to cells during infections when there is no infection. You feel the same as if you were sick.
Citations: Baumert 2016; Bermon 2017; Blocher 2013; Cerqueira 2020; Gleeson 2016; Gombart 2020; Knechtle 2018; Schwellnus 2010; Walsh 2019
MultiV & Your Immune System – The Star Players
Although every nutrient has roles to play in immune system function, and a lack of any is never healthy, some are more crucial. Here is what experts say about major MVM players and immune function.
Yeast Beta Glucan
Your gut has a hang-up over fungal (yeast) beta-glucans, part of the cell wall of yeast/fungi/mushrooms. Your GALT has developed a system to specifically look for and react to the cell walls of yeast, in order to keep your body safe from invasion. When it spots yeast cell walls, your GALT activates immune cells to go all over your body looking for evidence of foreign invaders. In so doing, overall immune surveillance and activity is heightened, which spills over to identifying and destroying other types of foreign invaders.
Yeast beta glucan is structurally much different from oat beta glucan (which has no immune activation properties). Refined yeast beta glucan has been studied in marathon runners in multiple studies, and found to reduce URTS – things like debilitating prologue coughs. For the first time, MultiV contains a clinically-tested 30mg of Immudyne Nutrition NQ™, a highly purified, highly-branched Beta-1,3/1,6-glucan from Baker’s yeast.
“Only highly purified 𝛽-1,3-1,6-glucans with a high degree of branching along the 𝛽-1,3-glucan backbone and a high molecular weight are able to exert immunomodulatory properties.” (De Marco Castro 2020, p. 3)
No single nutrient has raised more controversy for immune system support than vitamin C (ascorbic acid/ascorbates). Even a cursory review of the published literature yields diametrically opposed findings from human studies of vitamin C and/or vitamins C and E with or without exercise. No single review or article has evaluated all the data, meaning most are not standing on solid conclusions. An accurate conclusion is that one cannot say there is not an effect of vitamin C on immune function in exercising individuals, but looking closer at key factors (dose of vitamin C, type of exercise, and presence/absence of vitamin E) starts to show a pattern of success for vitamin C immune support in endurance and extremely high-stress exercise settings.
Conditions for vitamin C benefits for immune support from supplementation of endurance athletes and intense long-duration exercisers are:
1) moderate dose (200-600 mg daily);
2) no or low-dose vitamin E cosupplementation (over 100 mg vitamin E blunts vitamin C benefits);
3) more exhaustive or stressful exercise shows better results from vitamin C supplementation;
4) persons with more URTS have better results; and
5) consistent intake of vitamin C is more effective than taking it once just before an event.
There’s an inverted-U curve shape of vitamin C and vitamin E intakes and benefits – more is not better, and too little is not good, as the consensus of research and antioxidants for exercise in general has found.
MultiV gets the balance of vitamin C amount right for endurance athletes, again emphasizing balance is more important than the amount. MultiV supplies 400mg of vitamin C (444% DV) and 30mg of vitamin E (200% DV), which are both in the range of reported beneficial results.
“Doses of ~0.2 g·d-1 of vitamin C ... may be sufficient to reduce oxidative stress and provide other health benefits without impairing training adaptations.” (Braakuis 2012, Abstract)
Vitamin D is one of the most important missing links between exercise and health – much evidence shows that a significant portion of endurance athletes have low vitamin D blood levels, and supplementation studies are showing improvements in health for endurance athletes, regardless of sun exposure or vitamin D blood levels. Insufficient vitamin D status reduces the ability of calcium and magnesium to support immune functions.
A mountain of new research has shown that attention to vitamin D status is vital for exercising individuals and their immune systems. Vitamin D triggers immune cells to secrete antimicrobial peptides to fight infections, and it’s also required to mobilize calcium and magnesium for all tissues, especially muscles, bones, joints, and immune cells.
“Hence, improving vitamin D status before an endurance competition might be a good alternative to the use of anti-inflammatory drugs that are so often relied on in sports” (Crescioli 2022)
Iron is intimately involved with reactions involving oxygen, both for energy production and oxygen transportation for exercise performance. Iron status is a well-known problem for endurance athletes, especially for women, with 70% of athletes suffering a deficiency. Keeping iron status adequate and optimal usually requires supplementation.
Iron status greatly affects immune functions. One important way is conversion of oxygen into bleach and peroxide to kill non-self (literal invaders), an essential part of immune function. Iron is also specifically important for keeping lymphocyte and macrophage functions up to par. Those are white blood cells and immune cells, respectively – critical players in the stay-healthy lottery and recovery process.
MultiV contains 18mg (100% DV) of Ferrochel© Ferrous bisglycinate, a chelated form of iron with superior uptake, tolerability and effects compared to other iron salts. Like other chelates, Ferrochel© uptake into the body is flexible to meet needs, preventing iron overdoses or deficiencies and also preventing competitive interactions with other minerals and fiber. Flexibility is extremely important, as iron overload can suppress immune function – another reason to rely on Ferrochel© for your iron supplementation.
“Importantly, Fe [iron] is a sensitive double-edged sword where two extremes of its nutritional status may have harmful effects on innate and adaptive immunity.” (Bonilla 2022, Abstract)
Zinc deficiency affects one in 10 Americans, and is required for activity of thousands of proteins in humans – especially in muscle and immune cells. Immune cells have variable requirements for zinc depending on what they are doing at the moment, meaning an adequate supply of zinc is vital for immune system support. MultiV uses 22mg zinc per serving (200% DV), from oxide and bisglycinate, to avoid dietary interferences and satisfy requirements for exercising muscles.
“Zinc regulates several crucial processes in innate immunity, including phagocytosis, intracellular killing and cytokine production, while in the adaptive immune system, zinc deficiency results in reduced T cell development and function and B cell antibody production.” (Hernandez-Camacho 2020, pp. 1-2)
Citations: Bermon 2017; Blocher 2013; Bonilla 2022; Brancaccio 2022; Calder 2013; Crescioli 2022; De Marco Castro 2020; Gleeson 2016; Gombart 2020; Hemila 2022; Hernandez-Camacho 2020; Schwellnus 2010; Walsh 2019
MultiV & Your Immune System – Summary
It’s critical for your immune system that ALL the essential MVMs are provided in the appropriate and complementary amounts needed to power your immune cells and support the function of every other MVM. In MultiV, the more important MVMs are in amounts that provide a buffer for times of intense need, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
Additional nutrients like yeast beta glucan, boron, Ginkgo biloba, green tea and an antioxidant blend from 29 fruits, vegetables, and spices add new dimensions to immune support by supporting system-wide processes and monitoring – like yeast beta glucan prompting your gut’s GALT to kick into gear.
More than ever before, the new MultiV supports your immune system with its comprehensive, balanced MVM and active nutrients profile.
“...available evidence indicates that supplementation with multiple micronutrients with immune-supporting roles may modulate immune function and reduce risk of infection.” (Gombart 2020, Abstract)
Citations: Gombart 2020
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