Avatar universal

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?
336 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.
I have been experiencing the same thing. I have been working out routinely for 2 years. There was no break or anything - no change in the workouts I'm doing - just out of nowhere I get really bad pain in my abdomen, headache, weakness and fatigue, some nausea. (No sore throat or coughing though.) The first time it happened, the pain was pretty severe, so I went to emerge. They found nothing wrong. It went away after a couple of days. It happened again two weeks straight, for a 2 to 3 of days each time. Then after taking it easy for a couple of weeks (first week doing nothing, second week doing yoga) I tried to work out again this week. I was ok after Monday, but after yesterday (Tuesday) I'm feeling awful again. And Monday's workout was more intense than yesterday's. Nothing makes sense!

I already take probiotics and multi-vitamins, etc. Maybe it's all just due to dehydration... gonna pick up some hydralite on the way home.

I just want to say one thing to people who commented they're eating yogurt. Yogurt is not an effective source of probiotics. It's no where near enough of a dose to do anything at all. If you think this might work for you, go get some pills. Also, different pills will effect you differently. Align made me horribly ill. But I have found the Jarrow brand 'Saccharomyces Boulardii + MOS' 5 Billion Cells Per Capsule have really helped me with other digestive issues. So don't expect to be able to buy what someone else has bought and have the same thing work for you. You might have to try a few different formulas before finding success.

Good luck to us all! :)
Probiotics in yoghurt vary a lot by brand.  Virtually all grocery store brands have no probiotics at all in them.  Although they are used to make the yoghurt, they are then killed by the heat during pasteurization.  But if you buy quality yogurt at a good health food store, they will add probiotics back in after pasteurization so there will be live cultures in it.  But the main benefit of eating yogurt that is high quality and other cultured and fermented foods such as kim chi is that they are excellent prebiotics, which is the food probiotics need in order to survive and thrive.  This is probably more important to the health of your natural colonies than taking probiotics, though there times probiotics become important if you've had a die-off.  As for the type, the one most tied to digestive health are bifido-bacteria, not the one you mention, although if it's working for you don't change.  The problem today is, frankly, with the rise of Whole Foods most good health food stores are out of business or altered their business strategies to match Whole Foods.  This means the best probiotics are no longer available in stores or anywhere else either, frankly.  The key is they need to be refrigerated all the way along the process of getting to you, which is probably not true with Jarrow or Nature's Way, the ones you're most likely to find nowadays.  None of the companies you see specialize in probiotics -- those companies are no longer to be found.  Sad, but true.  Still, they are probably good enough if you buy them in the refrigerated section of your best health food store and keep them refrigerated at home.  No idea what's going on with you, just wanted to say that about the actual benefits of yogurt.  Now, eating dairy can be a problem for many people, so while eating yogurt might be beneficial in one way it can be harmful in another, a problem you can avoid by getting your prebiotics from pickles and fermented foods.  Peace, all.
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.
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!
Avatar universal
Wow, I am late in my response but I am so glad to have found this site. I have been experiencing the same symptoms!!!!! It is usually after lifting weights to fatigue! I get very sick with flu like symptoms for days!
Avatar universal

Please remember not to exercise on an empty stomach and make sure to maintain hydration. A multivitamin supplement should help.

Avatar universal

I am in the UK and relate to these symptoms very closely.  I train for triathlon and various other sports and suffer with the 'flu like symptom' frequently, often pushing through.  I put it down to picking up viral infections but often i have no build up of catarrgh or other common cold/flu symptoms except fatigue, headache and malaise.
Please could you specify the dose of probiotic taken - i beleive you can take them by the 4/6/8 billion etc as i am willing to try anything!

Avatar universal
I've spent 14 months with the crazy flu response to exercise, oodles of bloodwork, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (which i think is an excuse for 'I can't figure it out') and I am willing to try ANYTHING that sounds half way reasonable.  I'm headed out for probiotics as soon as I get myself dressed.  Thanks for a new option.
Avatar universal
Great info in this conversation.  I am experiencing the same thing.  Going to try probiotics to see if it helps.

759507 tn?1260456455
I've been mixing probiotic yogurt (plain) in with my protein shakes after lifting, as well as on my off days, but today I am sick. I've been training hard for the past 5 months trying to get back into shape after 12 years of sitting behind a computer. I took up a rigorous weight training schedule as well as two 1/2 hour cardio routines on the elliptical during "off" days. When my weight drops significantly (non-plateaus), I've been getting sharp pains in my "love handle" areas for the past month which is common to what someone said earlier in the post. I pressed on. Two days ago, I got a swollen gland in my neck, followed by muscle/joint ache and later the other gland getting swollen.
Now I am full fledged sick... My point here is that I've survived numerous illnesses from my school aged children, I take probiotic yogurt, keep my protein intake around 200g/day, and drink plenty of water (multiple Mass Krugs/day).

I think there may be something to what bubahotep posted on Sept on 2006. The reason I suspect that, is that my kidneys have been starting to bother me right as I dropped another 10lbs... then sickness. I suspect the toxins in the lost fat were enough to overwhelm my filtering system and get my resistance down.

I will give credit where credit is due by saying prior to mixing the yogurt in with my protein shakes, I was mixing in tofu instead. During that time I did get sick a couple of times. So I believe there is something to be said for the probiotic yogurt as well...

In a blender I mix up frozen strawberries and bananas, the whey protein mix (vanilla), a large glob of plain yogurt, water, wheat germ, and some flax seeds... It works out great since it's delicious, good for me, and I'm lactose intolerant.

Bottom line, next time my kidneys start to bother me, I'm going to kick up the water intake and ease up on the cardio until the ache goes away. I'll report back.
759507 tn?1260456455
So that seems to work pretty good. I've started feeling flu symptoms a couple of times over the past month. Generally within the next couple of days after an intense workout. I started drinking about a shot and a half of apple cider vinegar with about a liter of water... at least twice per day. If I feel a little worse, I’ll have an extra liter of acv/water. One thing to note as well, I never stopped or slowed down on working out since I've started this. There have been numerous illnesses in both my family and work life that I’ve managed to stave off. So... my current conclusion is that water combined with probiotics and daily vitamin supplements is a good thing... I've also been taking potassium gluconate powder and CoQ10 but don't think they are a factor in preventing flu symptoms.
Avatar universal
Incredible, just incredible. I've been battling this for almost a year now. I am 25, have been heavily into weight training since I was ~19. All of sudden in April 2009 I started getting about 24 hours of flu-like symptoms post anaerobic exercise. Included in this is any kind of aerobic exercise with a significant resistance portion such as a "Hill interval" setting on an elliptical machine.

I have taken a huge 5 month break of almost any intense physical activity and the first day back at the gym produces the same symptoms as when I was working out 4-5x a week. I will also note that I eat a ton of fruit but few vegetables by comparison and have taken several strong antibiotics since 07. I am out the door to try a strong pro biotic treatment.

I wonder what we all have in common it would be great to find out!
Avatar universal
I wanted to add that I've been to a sports clinic and done a ton of bloodwork - I am definitely not showing any signs of actual overtraining - no excessive muscle break down, not to mention a huge rest period since previous training cycles.
Avatar universal
Its good to read these and know I am not crazy.  I use to be a personal trainer and workout all my life.  As of 6 months ago I started experiencing the same problems. Extreme nausea and body fatigue that seems to occur after exercising but it is not every time. In fact I experience 3 times in fall and then had no reoccurances until 3 weeks ago and now have had it twice.  This last one though is quite different in that its been going on for about 6 days now but without a lot of nausea just more extreme body ache and fatigue and low appetite.  My doctor is just now beginning the basic series of blood work and test but I believe there is something more non-traditional.  I have some theories and wanted to see if any of you have in commonalities.  Did any of you or do any of you have any histories of:  Mono, recent birth of a son or daughter or kids in general, any mold allergies, hx of rhuematoid arthritis - self or family hx, Recent hx of body fat gain and period of decreased exercise and now getting back into it -- is it related to fat metabolism or release of toxins stored in fat?  I look  forward to your respones.

Avatar universal
Hey guys,  

Well, it has been 5 years since I graduated college and began working 50+ hours a week in a fairly stressful job.  Unfortunately, my exercise routine from college took a back burner after I entered the workforce. I don't smoke, drink coffee, and rarely drink.  Nutritionally, I don't have the best diet, but it's not the worst either.  I could eat more fruits/vegetables, but I don't live on fast food either.   The past few months I've been trying to start an exercise routine, mostly to help buffer against the stresses of work.   Usually I'll try riding my bike, or taking a slow jog, to ease into things.   Literally, within hours, I start developing flu-like symptoms.  My throat starts burning and itching, and by the next day, I feel congested, have a fever, and I feel weak.   Usually within 3-4 days, the symptoms are gone.  This is the second time that this has happened in the past few months, both times, immediately after I exercise, so I don't think it's a coincidence.   I have no family history of illness and, other than the seemingly exercise-induced illnesses as of late, I think I'm fairly healthy.   If I had to speculate, I would say this is related to the release of toxins that have built up in my body over the past 5 years that are now being released into by bloodstream from exercising.  For now, I'll think I'm going to try focusing on nutrition and probiotics for a month before trying to exercise again.  If that doesn't work, I'll seek advise from a doctor or nutritionist.  In the meantime, if anyone has any advice, it would be much appreciated.  I'll monitor this forum for advice and will post any new information that I find.  
Avatar universal
I stumbled on to this page after typing in a search on DanActive. I am a marathon runner, and I have been experiencing the same things for over 8 months. I seem to be in a cycle where I can do a few hard workouts, and then I get "sick" but strangely, I seem to lack any definitive symptoms, like a definite sore throat, or cough. Instead, my body just feels like I have the flu, (extreme fatigue, weakness, inability to do anything except lie on the couch). Like everyone else has said, it sets me back in my training and it's extremely depressing. After getting sick again last week, (there is a severe GI flu going around work, and this time I actually threw up, so this one might be more "legit") I decided to try some DanActive. I have been to a GP, and OBGYN, and to my Naturopath several times. The only thing anyone has been able to conclude, (the Naturopath) is that I have Adrenal Fatigue...which is something that anyone suffering from all of the above should definitely research...Anyway, If I could solve my training/flu vicious cycle with something this simple, I would be ecstatic!!
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