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Extreme exercise may lead to blood poisoning, researchers find

On analyzing blood samples from marathon runners taken immediately after the extreme endurance event, researchers identified markers of blood poisoning PHOTO:  medicalnewstoday.com

On analyzing blood samples from marathon runners taken immediately after the extreme endurance event, researchers identified markers of blood poisoning PHOTO: medicalnewstoday.com

THE health benefits of exercise are well documented, but two new studies by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, find exercising at extreme levels may do more harm than good – it could lead to blood poisoning.

On analyzing blood samples from marathon runners taken immediately after the extreme endurance event, researchers identified markers of sepsis.

The studies – both led by Dr. Ricardo Costa of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Monash – are published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine and Exercise Immunology Reviews.

Blood poisoning, also known as septicemia or sepsis, occurs when immune chemicals leak into the bloodstream, triggering an overactive inflammatory response. This can lead to blood clots and leaking vessels, impairing blood flow and preventing the body’s organs from receiving the required oxygen and nutrients.

Infants and children, elderly individuals, people with chronic illnesses – such as cancer or Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) – people who have suffered severe burns or physical trauma and those with a weakened immune system are at highest risk of sepsis.

However, the latest research from Costa and colleagues suggests extreme exercise may also be a risk factor for the condition.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.

But while it is estimated that almost half of us fail to meet these guidelines, some of us are on the other side of the fence, exercising to extremes.

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