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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?
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Avatar universal
I believe a significant subset of the posters here are experiencing histaminosis (histamine intolerance).  Histamine is an important  compound that plays a role in a variety of physiological functions.  It occurs naturally in the body and is present in the gut, brain, smooth muscles, and other muscle tissues (e.g., causes the itch and swelling after a mosquito bite).   Some of us struggle to break it down and when it builds up to an excessive amount in blood serum and tissues, it can cause a wide variety of symptoms, one of which is flu-like symptoms after intense exercise.  Intense exercise provokes the production of histamine, which in turn provokes an inflammatory response.  Allergens do so as well.  So if you are allergic to mold or dust mites and ride an exercise bike in a moldy or dusty environment, your symptoms will intensify.

Certain foods contain significant amounts of histamine, including fish that is not freshly caught,, fermented products (yogurt, sauerkraut, beer, wine, etc), canned meats, leftovers, aged cheeses, tomatoes, and many others.  Other foods, such as bananas, strawberries, chocolate provoke histamine release in the body.  A clue that you may have histamine intolerance is that you have digestive problems or other reactions after eating some of these foods.  I have found that I can tolerate more intense exercise when I reduce my histamine load from dietary sources and from exposure to allergens.  Supplements can be helpful as well and include vitamin C, quercetin, DAO, and probiotics such as B infantis and B longum.  These help reduce histamine release or facilitate its breakdown.  Vitamin B6 has been mentioned as well but I do not recommend supplementing with this because it can cause neurotoxicity, including peripheral neuropathy, at relatively low doses.  There's plenty of additional information on the web about histamine intolerance.  

Good Luck
Helpful - 2
Avatar universal
I find it interesting that no one has researched medical journals.  I have been having this same issue for about 2 years.  I played sports in college and I am still in good shape.  Whenever I push myself harder than normal, I have the flu-like symptoms.  

I have had this happen in CA, OH, and in DC.  I have had it happen in all seasons and indoors and outdoors.  I do not think it is allergies, although I do have asthma...but it is under control.  

As a researcher (in another field), I went straight to the peer-reviewed medical journals.  I quickly discovered a 2007 article in a journal from the American College of Sports Medicine, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.  Here is a link to the abstract: http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2007/11000/Cytokine_Responses_to_Treadmill_Running_in_Healthy.5.aspx.  

The study looks at distance runners who do not get sick after exercise versus those who do.  As a professor at an American university, I have access to the full articles.  I have put in a request for the article and, if people are interested, will summarize it to try and get to the bottom of all this.  

All the best,
Chris    
Helpful - 1
1 Comments
I am also surprised how there is little reference to medical journals.    Reading the article you posted now.

I also have found this study:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475230/#!po=0.420168

What I took away from the latter study is the only known thing we can control to reduce the post exercise inflammation is proper carbohydrate loading before and during exercise.

That said, it still doesn't explain why some of us are so susceptible to this post exercise trauma.
Avatar universal
I was a professional ballerina and I had this problem for 7 years. I would come home from rehearsal and feel terrible, like I had the flu and poison running through me. My joints would feel swollen even though they didn't look it. I kept pushing myself as I have a sister who has been diagnosed with CFS and I didn't want to believe I had it too. I ended up bed bound/house bound for 3 years. Turns out I have bartonellosis, Lyme relapsing fever and babesia as does my sister! I suggest you get tested for all tick borne diseases, just 1 can cause major problems. You will need to find a Lyme literature doctor and have your tests done at Igenex labs and Galaxy labs. I had 4 Lyme and babesia tests before it came back positive as the bacteria hides in the body, so a negative test doesn't mean you don't have it. A great film to watch- Under Our Skin. I have been on IV antibiotics for 1 1/2 years and am finally out of bed and I hope to return to dance in the coming months. I hope this helps!
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Avatar universal
Absolutely. What most people are describing here is best labeled as EXCERCISE INDUCED IMMUNOSUPPRESSION. What's interesting is that any athlete will experience this from prolonged intense excercises. As for the rest of us here, seems we are genetically more sensitive to excercise (especially with age!)

Read the article below my comment. It's the most compelling read about EXCERCISE INDUCED IMMUNOSUPPRESSION. Let me know if you find something more on the topic. I had prior read something about histamine release, however I find this IMMUNOSUPPRESSION study far more compelling.

What's happening to our bodies? Seems the scientists have not reached a concensis on this yet. But they do know that our body is flooded with excessive inflammation markers when we excercise too hard (yes, unfortunately for some of us that threshold is low).

WHAT TO DO? According to this article, the best way to manage this is to increase carbohydrates before and during excercise. In simple terms, this provides glucose to your muscle so they don't starve and are less stressed. Sorry, there is no compelling evidence of magic pill in the following of a a vitamin or mineral.

Anecdotally speaking: Carbohydrates seem to be helping me reduce post excercise problems. Sports drink powders is an easy way to achieve this during the excercise - keeps your carbs and electrolytes up.  As well, building my excercise routine extremely slowly (I started with 10 minute jogs, then added a minute each week). If try to stay consistent and if I miss a week I dial back the length of my jog a few minutes and start building it back. I can say I've successful reduced my flu like symptoms with this.

Don't take my word for it. Read the study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475230/#!po=0.420168
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
I am a physician and noticed there are a lot of posts here with people who actually have different problems (though overlapping symptoms).  Some are talking about thyroid problems, some are talking about food allergies and celiac, others histamine intolerance and yet others chronic EBV and autoimmune symptoms plus CFS.  I'm sure all are correct for their individual conditions.  

I have had similar symptoms to the CFS/EBV camp - primarily "cold-like symptoms" for 15 years on and off apparently induced by exercise, exertion or strangely enough, alcohol.  Ironically one of the "treatments" for CFS is routine exercise!  

Unfortunately, these topics aren't really covered much in traditional Western medicine either in medical school or residency because it is not well understood (as opposed to Celiac, which is often simply overlooked by health care professionals).  EBV is ubiquitous, though it is not understood why some people respond to it differently, though likely immune mediated.  I like some of the ideas posted here (passion flower, bee pollen).  In order to find help, most people will have to turn to "alternative" medicine, the results of which may not be consistent or even reliable, but they're simply aren't many other options of which I'm aware at this time...some options could include seeing a Naturopath, energy healer (like Reiki, Healing Touch or Pranic Healer), Chinese medicine doctor or massage therapist.  Psychiatry and psychology can also help in dealing with the stress of having the problem (which may be helpful in and of itself!)  Good luck to everyone!
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
I had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) during 2006 and 2007, had Epstein-Barr virus (EBV/mononucleosis) in 2004.

I am better today (thanks to pacing, sleep regime, antidepressants, stress reduction methods, cut off alcohol, tobacco, etc.) but still have residual symptoms.

I sleep poorly and have post-exercise malaise. Searching for post-exercise malaise gives a number of results mostly revolving around CFS issues, but as I am much better these days I feel that this is an issue separate from CFS or residual due to unresolved immune issues.

As of 2010 I am studying biology and medicine on a bachelor level and have the privilege to discuss this matter with professors working in this and similar areas.

EBV is a double stranded DNA virus, that seems to have a permanent effect on the immune system. For example, it seems that human lymphocytes cease to express interleukin-15 receptors after mononucleosis.

Interleukin 15 is involved in several immune system activities, for example it seems to be active in the maturation of Natural Killer Cells (NK cells, see here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715685 ).

NK Cells are a kind of lymphocyte, which is a kind of white blood cell involved in the defence against virus-infected cells and intracellular pathogens.  

It is uncertain as to how the lack of IL-15 receptor affects the immune system, but shows that EBV infection does have some profound effects on how the immune system and more, and it does not take a far stretch of imagination to see how decreased maturation of NK cells leads to a weakened response to further, reccurring EBV episodes, or even persistent infections with the bacteria chlamydophila pneumoniae, as chlamydophila pneumoniae is an intracellular pathogen as well.

Several antidepressants seem to improve NK cell activity, possibly because they change the expression patterns of several interleukins, which  are the main regulators of immune system activity. This could be a likely explanation to why the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline seems to help a lot of CFS sufferers.

Some studies have shown that moderate exercise have beneficial effects on immune system activity, as long as one does not exercise to exhaustion.

There is some research going on in this area, but not as much as needed, by raising this question you could help the lives of not only yourselves but all others in similar positions.

So, to sum up, post-exercise flu symptoms, immune dysfunction, depression, EBV infection and CFS symptoms seem to go hand in hand, and there is some research that backs up the theory that it is due to that the immune system goes avry.
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Avatar universal
Hi Rachel
Sorry to bother you I know your post is from 2012 I have just read it I have the same condition you had any advice would be helpful and are you still okay
Darran
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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.
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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.
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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.  
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Avatar universal
please see recent post
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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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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!
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Avatar universal
Hi,

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


Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi,

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!

thanks
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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.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Great info in this conversation.  I am experiencing the same thing.  Going to try probiotics to see if it helps.

Thanks!
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.

Thanks
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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.  
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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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