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Insanity Day 11: Midi-chlorians & Your Immune System

Admit it. Midi-chlorians got you here right? 🙂

Well, today I’m not talking about Midi-chlorians per se, but I am talking about another unseen magical wonder in your body which helps you Use The Force (sort of).

Just as I started the Insanity workouts a friend and colleague of mine said something I wasn’t really expecting:

Watch you don’t get ill cause with that much high aerobic excercise in such a short space of time your immune system will take a pounding.

Wait. What? How can exercising regularly actually hurt you? That doesn’t make sense. I’ve never ever seen any health or fitness guru say “better stop working else you’ll end up sick”. Sure they tell you to rest and stuff, but make me sick? Shit you crazy. So off I went, I proceeded into Insanity without really thinking much about what he said and … well you know that story up until now. It’s going good. However.

I got sick.

Cruel coincedence? Maybe. I’m nursing what is commonly referred to in medical circles as a Grade Three ‘Mannus Flu-us‘ I’m told it’s quite serious, but I’ll survive and recover. It’s not impacting the exercise but is a mild annoyance. I will soldier on and whinge like a wookie to anyone who will listen.

It did get me thinking about what I had been told barely a week before, could he be right? I felt compelled to do copious amounts of Googling research. Turns out, he might be right.

These are not the Midi-chlorians you are looking for …

They’re actually Neutrophils. I know, I had never heard of them (by that name) either. The best (simple) description I’ve found for us non-biologists is:

These are key players in the immune system, responding to the site of infection in the body and attacking any invaders they find. Neutrophils are short-lived cells, committing cell suicide (called apoptosis) after only a few days in the bloodstream. If these white blood cells are too enthusiastic about offing themselves, it can weaken the immune system.


White blood cells. Committing suicide. Way cooler than Midi-chlorians. Probably.

So effectively with all this high intensity exercise, you are at risk of your immune system being less than great. I have to say though this doesn’t make me want to stop, but does give me a very healthy respect for something which can balance things out a little which honestly, again, naive-exerciser that I am … never really gave a rats ass about.


Five points if anyone can reply and tell me the now mildly disgraced author behind that one.

General Googling research seems to suggest that to help combat some of the breakdown, Vitamins C and E would be a good choice. I’m in the Scattergun variety though when it comes to things like this, and thinking too long or hard about it leads to boredom. So I’m opting for plain old Multi Vitamins. They’re cheap, they’re cheerful and … yeah you get the picture.

Hopefully this is sufficient to help me along, although I’ve got a trip to my doctor booked in as I do seem to be taking this quite seriously. Which is new ground for me friends! New ground.

Disclaimer and Progress

I can assure you there are a plethora of good reads about Neutrophil suicide rates and high intensity exercise (and also how Vitamins help you combat it) out there, I’ve linked to one of them above which I found the easiest to read and the most interesting. This blog is not the place and I most certainly am not the person to be authoritative on the subject. I’m just a fat gaming geek trying to get healthy, so please, before you make any rash decisions to replace food with vitamins or any such crazyness like that. Consult with your GP or Physician. Seriously.

Progress is great. Tonight was my second “Cardio Rest” … you have no idea how good it is to reach these days and your body can take a bit of a rest. Still got that Christmas party on the horizon … stay tuned.


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