Research scientists for the tongue-twistingly named Department of Preventative and Rehabilitative Sports Medicine of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen at Klinikum rechts der Isar have obtained documented proof of this, gathered during the world’s largest study of marathons.
Under the direction of Dr Johannes Scherr, physicians examined 277 test subjects three weeks before and two weeks after the 2009 Munich Marathon.
They discovered that, after running a marathon race, athletes can experience heightened susceptibility to illness following strenuous activity.
It was also shown that non-alcoholic wheat beer containing polyphenols has a positive, health-promoting effect on the human body: inflammation parameters in the blood were significantly reduced and there was a lower frequency of infection with milder symptoms.
Runners who drank the non-alcoholic wheat beer were up to three times less susceptible to infection than those in a placebo group.
Dr Scherr, who also serves as physician to the German National Ski Team, explained that compounds in the test drink had a compensatory or balancing effect on an immune system weakened by physical stress. It also prevents the system from over-performing.
“Drinking the non-alcoholic test beverage reduces your risk of developing a cold by one third,” he added, stating that people in the active group who did succumb to a cold experienced a milder or briefer infection than those in a placebo group.
“Results showed a Number Needed to Treat (NNT) of eight,” he said, “That means that for every eight people who had the test drink, one of them was prevented from succumbing to a cold.”
Dr Scherr recently presented his study to some 5,000 scientists, physicians and trainers attending the world’s largest congress for sports medicine in Denver (US), hosted by the American College of Sports (ACSM).
It will be published in the January printed edition of the professional journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (MSSE).
cap: Non-alcoholic weissbier can have positive effects on the immune system and protect against infection.