Optimising your ability to Fight Infection

With the current Coronavirus pandemic, it feels like a good time to discuss what we can do to make our bodies better at fighting infection (our immune response). In the future we will go into more detail about just how this works, but 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).

As 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 atheletes it seems sensible to give it a try, and there’s no evidence that it can do any harm. Be sure to check with your parents before you start taking any supplements though.


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.

Posted by Dr Iain Beardsell

Dr Iain Beardsell. MBChB, DipIMC (RCS Ed), FRCEM is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital Southampton and a Consultant in Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine. Iain qualified in 1998 and over the past 20 years has trained and practiced medicine in major teaching hospitals both in the UK and overseas. He has been a consultant at University Hospital Southampton for the past ten years, including a three year term as the unit’s Clinical Director. UHS is the main Major Trauma Centre for the South Coast region of England as well as the eighth largest hospital in the UK. Iain is also a highly regarded advisor to television medical dramas, including Casualty and Good Karma Hospital. An acclaimed speaker, Iain has spoken at international conferences in Australia, Ireland, Austria and Germany as well as across the UK. As the father of three boys he is passionate about instilling a love of science and promoting careers in healthcare. You will find him on twitter as @docib

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.