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Flu-like symptoms after exercise

I love running, using aerobic equipment and lifting weights; however, I ususually experience flu-like symtoms for days, sometimes weeks, later. For years now, I have felt as if a virus surfaces in me everytime I exercise.
My PCP is unhelpful.
My ENT recommended L-Lysine which I have been taking with a multi-vitamin everyday for a year.
Any suggestions?
333 Responses
Avatar universal
L-lysine is often taken to enhance calcium absorbtion and promote some help in fighting viruses. You were not specific on the symptoms you experience, but my guess is that when you exercise you don't drink water, or you sweat to excess.   This will dehydrate you and you will lose salt and other minerals.  You can experience shaking of the hands, visual disturbances, headaches, stomach aches, stitches in the sides, exhaustion, low grade temps and other unpleasant symptoms.  If this is the case, try drinking a fluid that has minerals in it like Cytomax.  Make sure you take in salt, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Take several breaks to drink sips (not gulps) of fluid as you jog around.  Wear a hat to protect from the heat of the sun, and keep your head cool. If you breathe with your mouth open you may expect to dry out the bronchs and get a burning sensation in the chest as well.  When you are exercising in an aerobic state, try breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.  The air will get warm and moist going through the nose and you will not experience the burning sensation that is related to dryness.  If you are breathing too hard to breathe this way, slow down your speed, stretch the legs to do a longer stride moving from the hip instead of the knee.  Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
I have been experiencing the same symptoms for the past 2 years.  It came on very suddenly at a time when I was exercising regularly every morning on the stairmaster and lifting weights every evening.

Since that time I have forced myself to work through the weight lifting and have cut out the the stairmaster (which did cause a lot of sweating).  

I found that after a few days the flu like symptoms would diminish from the weight lifting.  However, if a took a break for a week or so and then got back into it I went through the same thing.

I am in very good shape and I don't know what to do to fix the problem.  I had considered the possibility of mineral depletion but I do eat well.  However, I do not take any supplements.  I have never had any other health problems.  I am 35 years old.  I had my blood tested for just about everything from west nile virus to lyme's disease with no results.  I even had my hearing and eyes tested.  Doctor's have said that it is possibly just stress but I don't buy it.  I don't feel stressed and why does it come on when I exercise or do heavy work?  Isn't exercise supposed to relieve stress?

I don't know if I am making it worse by plowing through or if that is the best thing to do.
2 Comments
Me too!  I can't figure it out.  It's been happening for about 2 years and I'm so frustrated. It's worse during that time of the month too.
I am a 35 yrs old woman and I had the same problem. I suffered this problem for months, i got sick 3 days and the fouth I went to gym and had the same problem agai for another 3 days  til i read in a forum a solution.  Take probiotics! One a day, i suggest one that contains a lot of them, I did this for a month, also I supplemented with glutamine 1000mg once a day and all my symptoms dissapeared. 2 weeks made me fee much much better and in a month they were gone and then i could go out and run and go to gym simultaneously and voila loosed weight and could be a notmal person again. I do not sell probiotics but the ones that were more effective in me were Phillips brand, expensive but trust me, i wish some one tell me this before. I hope you get better out of this flu hotrible symptoms and enjoy workouts again. Cheers.
Avatar universal
I'm glad I found this post. Good to know I'm not the only one!
I went through this same thing all last week. I would do a moderate intensity work out on the treadmill for 40 to 50 minute. the next morning I felt tired and heavy, slightly sick in the stomach as well as bloated. The thing the thing that help the most was drinking at leat 2.5 liters of water a day.
For a while it was an unhappy cycle. I would drink water all day, feel better, exercise, feel worse, drink water....
Now I am over it.
I did some reading about toxins in the body and found out that fat may also be a mix of cellular waste, water, unprocessed hormones and other nasty stuff. I guess if your liver is metabolizing this fat, kidneys have to work over time to remove this extra waste. Some might end up back in the bloodstream and you would feel icky. Sort of like the drain backing up in your basement. As I understand it, constantly flushing the kidneys is a good thing.
Avatar universal
did you ever find a cure for this?  i am having  same problem
Avatar universal
drink plenty of water...eat enough calories...if it persist your probably over training.
Avatar universal
I am also glad I found this post, since I was beginning to feel like I was the only one who had such a complaint, and it was just plain weird.

After several years of putting up with these "flu-like" symptoms after aerobic exercise, I think I have finally found out what's going on. While scanning the web searching for answers, I came across a site that deals with digestive ailments, and their possible influences on your body.

Basically, if the balance of bugs (bacteria etc) in you gut are not correct from any of a number of different reasons, they can make you feel like **** even when moderately stressed, like when exercising, working too hard, personal problems and so on. The site suggested that Probiotic therapy might help, so, digging deeper, I found a health food outlet in my town that carried a probiotic capsule that had the best live mix of these. (check for yourself which are best, but the Western Ontario University Professor, Dean, has some good advice on this score).

I began taking 2 of these capsules a day for the first three days, and found that all the usual intestinal and other flu like discomforts I had been experiencing for years, WENT AWAY. Talk about effective!. No doctor I've been to has ever been able to come up with anything other than a lame explanation for what I had, and none have prescribed anything other than lots of sleep and crossed fingers. This didn't work!

I may never know why my intestinal balance was off and these symptoms started, but at least now I know how to get rid of the problem. If this seems familiar to you, what could it hurt to try? I was more than a little skeptical as well, and normally don't believe anything until I can confirm it, but it worked for me. I hope you can get the same relief I did, but you will know within a week. I'm pulling for you because it is not fun to know you're trying to be healthy, and yet the harder you try the worse it gets.

Good luck, and if this works for you, pass it on to someone else who may be in the same position.
Avatar universal
Unbelievable! The same thing thing has happened to me for years! Whenever I start running or weight lifting at higher intensities, sure enough I end up getting very sick with what I think is the flu! I always get so frustrated because as soon as I start making great progress, I seem to take two steps back by getting "the flu" for a week. As a matter-of-fact, I am sick now and have been running quite a bit and weight training. I know I have been eating right and I take supplements. If this is a "gut thing" and taking a probiotic pill is the answer, I will be gloriously happy! So what is this pill? Is that what I should ask for at the health food store? Thanks for the help!
Avatar universal
Hi Poog76,

I posted an answer before, but it doesn't look like it made it. Maybe I wasn't logged in. Anyway, look for "probiotics" by UDE. These worked for me. The specific type was for "advanced adults". You should be able to find it in health food stores, or else call around and see who might have it. These are pricey ($35), and others willl likely work, but why mess with a good thing until you are feeling better. Good luck.
Avatar universal
Hi Poog,  

It's AMAZING or maybe just God sent that I came upon your post today (as I too am sick right now).  What you described is the EXACT same thing that happens to me.  I wanted to cry when I read it.  I have been suffering with this for at least 10 years.  I work out hard, make great progress only to get the "flu" which takes me 10 steps back.  Has the probotic pill helped?  You probably haven't had enough time to evaluate whether it is but when you do, PLEASE post and let me know.
Avatar universal
Hi all, I am happy to see this post too.  I was at my chiropractor's office (a great overall health and fitness person as well) today and in addition to my other various ailments was telling him about how I feel so sick the day after I exercise and then for a few days, and YES backtracking any progress that you have made.  Anyway, he had suggested that it could be.....something to do with our creatin (I believe) and there was a specific name for the condition.  Obviously, I should have written it down at that point.  It can be diagnosed via a blood test and is directly relating with your body not being able to bounce back (due to your creatin?/protein?? levels) after exercise.   I will definitiely get back to you all and let me know if you find anything on this as well.  I had really not defined it as "flu-like symptoms" but the chiropractor asked me those exact words and it was right on.    I had been quite discouraged and thought it has been an endless list of things, allergies, asthma, diabetes, thyroid, cardiovascular, diet, depression, overall lack of energy needing detoxed, just having the "A-G-E"disease and the small kids combo... and have more or less gone to specialists regarding all of these.   In the interim, I will start the probiotics.  I think I will go the route with the Danactive Immunity drinkable yogurts that are "probiotics" .  My kids love those anyway, duh should have been drinking them all along.  AND this Dr. advised protein shakes before working out.  Either of these approaches are  going to hurt me, nor cause me to feel any more tired or "icky" than I already am.  
Avatar universal
please see recent post
Avatar universal
I am happy to report that after taking a probiotic (my nuripath pharmacist said any multi form will do) and some "noni" juice, I haven't had the "flu" after exercise.  Although I must add that I did cut my routines down in intensity and did get a mere cold (no where near that the harrowing symptoms I did have).  My doctor did recommend that I come into the office when I did get such "flu" symptoms as she wanted to run some muscle and other tests but I haven't had any yet.  I will mention to her what ginagum has said about the creatine (protein) levels.  I am curious about what would happen if I worked out at my prior more intense level.  Until my next update!  Thanks to all!
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