Perpetual cold/flu like symptoms

I have been a very strict veggie for 20 years & with the exception of milk & cheese I would vegan.
I have never taken any form of supplements as I believe that if I am not getting from my daily diet I do not need it.
I far from the stereotypical veggie in build & complexion etc etc.

Always been healthy only had 10 days sickness in 14 years from work ,6 of which were spent in Hospital for a Operation.
But over the last 18 months I have constantly suffered with very bad colds.
Friends & work colleagues have noticed & comment daily.
As an example I had a cold between 22nd -28th Nov,then again 6th - 15 th December.
Then again on the 20th of December I actually came home from work with a cold it cleared up on the 24th,I then had Flu like symptoms on the 28th & finally felt better on the 3rd of January.
Here I am today I have woken up with a very sore throat & snotty nose again.
Best mate at work Say's I obviously lack vitamin C.
Given that I religiously have fresh Orange,Grapefruit & Lemon Juice every morning this can not be the case.

Typical days diet for me would be,
Fresh juice & Black coffee
Organic weetbix,1/2 pint of semi skimmed milk,sultanas.


Vegetable pasta ,wholemeal roll,apple & banana.

Evening meal.

Either a home made low fat vegetable curry or chilli & Rice


Baked spud with salad/veg & something quorn.

Drink loads of water during a day

Run 3 times a week.

Bottle of wine & 10 pints of beer a week.

This has kept me health wise in fine form for 20 years.

I would love any suggestions/advice.

Should I consider going back to eating dead animals??

Don't really want to but I feed feel like carp.

I have allergy tests done once & I was not really allergic to anything in particular.

Help me health guru's please!


  • The wine and beer work against the vit C in the fresh juices.

    Try taking echinacea (sp) during the winter months. This is supposed to help you against colds. You don't take it constantly though, so just take it during the week and leave it at weekends or, take 3 weeks on and 1 week off.

  • your diet sounds absolutkey fine to me, and i cant see how eating meat would stop you getting a cold

    are you sure these are all colds, and not just rhinitis(obviously, aches and pains and sore throats ARE viral).But are some of your cold just snotty nose?

    Cos that could be an allergy

    I dont want to blame the running-but a LOT of running can depress the immune system

    or you might be run down cos of your work

    i doubt it has anything to do with diet
    look at what else has changed for you in the last 18 months
  • I'm inclined to see the great God, Co-incidence, at work here. I doubt whether you're doing anything wrong, BRT.

    Have you been stressed during the past 18 months? And do I recall something about an operation?
  • m
    thats what i was thinking
    you have moved and changed jobs too havent you-apart form that knee op
  • It's God punishing you for being a man u fan.
  • "Should I consider going back to eating dead animals??

    well I wouldnt reccomend trying to eat live ones.
  • Do you eat enough selenium? I read that it is supposed to boost the immune system?

  • You may think you don't need supplements, but taking a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement for a few weeks wouldn't hurt, and might help.

    I'd also suggest trying echinacea tincture for few weeks.

    Your diet sounds OK, and I note the quorn, but are you getting enough protien? Do you eating pulses and/or soya regularly?
  • I got very run-down a couple of years ago after a bit of a stressy time - seemed to be a magnet for colds for a while. If you can, get a copy of Patrick Holford's 'Optimum Nutrition Bible' - it's the first thing I turn to if I'm not quite right. Make sure you get enough zinc and vits A, C and E. You may like to try probiotic drinks, as they boost gut flora which is apparently helpful to the immune system. Also, garlic seems to kick viruses in the 'nads, so eat plenty of it (if you cook it, it doesn't smell. According to my friend, who eats a clove a day and never gets a cold or smells of garlic. Result!)

    Can't possibly imagine that being veggie would have a negative effect on your immune system! I'm vegan and seem to be pretty good at avoiding bugs and viruses. I do swear by getting sufficient sleep, so get to bed early.

    Ah, and there's also a product called 'Sambucol' (I think), which is derived from elderberry extract. It is said to be excellent for the immune system.

    Hope that helps and hope you feel better soon!
  • I was told by a nurse that your body needs plenty of iron to absorb the vitamin C properly, you don't seem to have much in your diet...maybe that would help?

    Also, if you're running a lot of miles a week your immune system can be weakened.
  • You don’t really go through the type of training you are doing, but, in a former life I was one of the great over trainers and constantly suffered cold like symptoms and it might be that you body does need something more to counter act the training you do. Your diet might provide you with enough of everything if you were an ordinary person, but as a runner you might need something more, Supplements don’t do any harm (especially vit c and iron), unless you are Dwain Chambers or Marion Jones, Steven Moore one of our great ultra runners a London to Brighton winner several times and Great Britain representative at 100K when into his 50s, swore by metatone when he felt his system needed boosting
  • In response to a question I put on here a few years ago, Paul Tergat said he didn't take any supplements at all, and he did around 130mpw :o)
  • Metatone tonic - tastes vile, works a treat!
  • Nippynora has a good point - your body can't store iron, and you need to consume vitamin C at the same time as iron in order to make use of the iron.

    You can get iron from green leafy veg such as spinach and kale.
  • I am very grateful to you all for your thoughts.

    It's definitely proper full on colds that I am getting & not the sneezes do to an allergy.

    just pick up on a few points I assume I am getting enough calcium as I have 1/2 pint of semi skimmed milk & as far as Cheese is concerned I am like a bloody big mouse.

    I also get a far bit of Iron as I eat mountains of greens.

    I am running a maximum of 15 miles a week at present because I am waiting for my 3rd knee op which is mid Feb.

    But stressed definitely not very happy.

    I will look at supplements certainly echinacea as suggested by Mouse & Wilkie
  • Alcohol depresses the immune system, maybe give it a rest ove rthe winter months?

    Getting plenty fo rest will help as well of course.
  • A few years ago I seemed to be getting a cold every three weeks or so during the winter.
    I think you've probably been a bit unlucky. You may have been exposed to cold viruses that your body's not seen before.

    I try to avoid anyone who I suspect has got a cold, I wash my hands frequently especially at work, I carry 'Vicks first defence' with me and I keep my vit c up. especially after a run, work out etc.
  • Also, ditch the coffee, it inhibits vit C absorption.
  • 'with the exception of milk & cheese I would [be] vegan'
    You do know Quorn is made with eggs, right? (and it's only a few yrs ago it stopped being battery eggs).

    That minor quibble aside, doubt being vegan per se is making you ill - my house has 3 vegans & i run with another, and I don't recognise any of what you are describing.

    I would suggest trying a basic cheap multivit for a few months, on the grounds that it can't do much harm. Try & get one with iron, 'cos leafy green veg isn't actually as good a source as is often thought (oxalacetate inhibits absorption).
    The Vegan Society has more info than you will ever need on optimum nutrition & plant-based diets.
    Mainlining milk & cheese as your main protein source has several disadvantages - you are probably getting more saturated animal fat than a meat-eater, and if you have a dairy intolerance (sore throat & snotty nose could be that) then obviously it won't help.
    You also don't seem to have obvious sources of 'good' fats in your typical day's eating. I'd suggest a handful of nuts & seeds, especially brazil nuts (selinium, for immune system), pumpkin seeds (zinc, omega-3), & walnuts (omega-3). Flax seed oil is another useful source of omega-3 (NOT whole flax seeds, they are just a laxative), but it tastes icky.
  • Thanks DG.

    I had honestly not realised that about quorn & eggs a major no no as far as I am concern.

    I am definitely going down the supplement route as I think realistically it's been far to long for me to consider going back to being a carnivore

  • supplements aren't a bad idea as back-up, but 'proper food' is almost always going to be better for you.
    I really would suggest having a look round the Vegan Society website for nutrition info, or the vegetarian society - apart from anything else, if you've been eating basically the same thing for 20 years it probably wouldn't hurt to see if it needs a tweak at the corners.
    Vegan society also have this book - way more detailed than you actually need to know to just eat healthily, and you probably need A level biology to get much out of it, but i'm a bit of a biology geek & find it interesting - and useful for arguing with those carnivores who keep telling me I'm about to drop down dead (and then decling to race me to the end of the road...)
  • Taken my 1st supplements this morning, just a box standard muti vitamin.
    I have been keeping a record of all of my ailments & I suppose now I will be able to see if there is any sort of real change in the frequency in which I seem to go down with something.
    I have also decided to keep a basic food diary so that I can make any sort of link there also.
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