by Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr. Patrick Bouic, Head of Immunology at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, reported on a double-blind study that was done with a group of marathon runners. They were evaluated pre- and post-marathon run to determine if the addition of a proprietary blend of plant sterols/sterolins (100:1 ratio of sterols to sterolins) would prevent the immune suppression and inflammatory reaction characteristic to high intensity athletes.
The group who utilized the sterol/sterolin mixture were protected from immune suppression as well as the excessive inflammatory response, and they showed a marked improvement versus the control group in their adaptive response to stress; i.e., the cortisol and IL-6 (Interleukin-6) decrease was accompanied by an increase in DHEA that was statistically significant. This demonstrated that the sterol/sterolin mixture buffered excessive release of cortisol, raising DHEA levels through a lowered cortisol/DHEA ratio. The athletes were able to quickly rebound post marathon with fewer upper respiratory infections.
This is most promising when you consider that most of the negative effects of over-exercising can be attributed to excess cortisol production, an increase in inflammatory chemical IL-6 and the subsequent drop in DHEA.