The effects of headstart ensure that our entire organism (body) is constantly and optimally supplied with energy from blood glucose for hours.
This results in increased physical vitality, which in turn leads to an increase in immune capacity.
The open window theory explains why athletes often get sick after a series of strenuous competitions.
It began with a notable study, led by Dr David C. Nieman, a professor in the Department of Biology at the Appalachian State University, which found that 12.2% of the runners who took part in the 1987 Los Angeles Marathon, reported an infection in the week after the marathon. In contrast, only 2.2% of similarly experienced runners who did not participate in the marathon reported illness in the same period. The study also found a positive correlation between the number of kilometres run weekly and the episodes of infection in the two months leading up to the marathon.
Dr Nieman published this study on the infection rates of the participants in the Los Angeles Marathons, as well as many other studies on the relationship between strenuous physical activity and infections. In 1994, Dr Nieman presented a theoretical model for the relationship between physical exertion and a risk of upper respiratory infections, showing a J-curve relationship between the two. This model provided a simplified relationship between physical activity and the risk of contracting an infection, but could not explain in biological terms, why the relationship existed. In 2000, Nieman published a follow-up paper on immunology and cell biology, which explained how exercise influences the human immune system. The open window theory states that the immune system is weakened for 3–72 hours after extended, strenuous activity. Monocytes and neutrophils rush to the inflamed area which has been caused by a muscle injury during training. Despite this invasion of neutrophils, it is proven that the neutrophils’ ability to phagocytose foreign invaders is reduced in athletes after training (Müns 1993). Furthermore, the excretion of saliva is reduced for up to 18 hours after intensive training (Steerenberg 1997), which shows a disruption to the physiology of the body. A 1997 study by Neiman showed that the activity of natural killer cells is reduced after training. The concentration of cytokine changes during intensive training, disrupting the body’s ability to react to and target invaders. Training, leading to muscle aches and soreness, is associated with a stronger anti-inflammatory reaction. The changes in the immune system can be an aetiology for over-training syndrome, which is responsible for under-performance and mood fluctuations in over-trained elite athletes. Nonetheless, it was shown that movement increases the immune system’s ability to fight tumours. According to Dr Nieman, excess mental stress also leads to an increased risk of upper respiratory infections.
By drinking headstart, we reduce stress, which in turn means we significantly reduce the risk of developing an upper respiratory infection. Scientifically proven.