Does being skinny mean you get more colds and bugs?

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  • Does being skinny mean you get more colds and bugs?
  • Premier Icon Kona TC

    oldgit – Member
    That’ll refer to people that are underweight because they don’t eat (probably)

    I agree it is a bit un-clear and as with most medical things it is probably very complex; but my simple take is either;

    Your underweight because you don’t eat enough (eating disorders, stress, trying to lose weight).


    Your underweight because you don’t eat enough to replenish your energy stores (active lifestyle, CX racer who has just finished a season of 3rd and 2nd cat road racing)

    But either way the NHS site leads you to believe that being underweight weakens your immune system making you more likely to catch a cold, the flu or other infections.


    Dara chats to leading biologist professor Steve Jones and finds out how the bicycle did more to improve the human immune system than any other invention,..

    sounds interesting. Dara’s science club – 9pm tonight on bbc2


    Surely both things are symptoms of the same thing, rather than one leading to the other ? (there really is some poor understanding of cause and effect and causal links in here)

    Perhaps you are both skinny and get colds because you over-train and don’t recover properly ??

    Eat more vegetables, eat less rubbish, recover properly after rides. Vitamins and That Sort Of Thing are hokum, witchcraft and superstition for the modern world.

    And drink more water, and always make your bed in the morning, and put on an extra jersey.

    And wash your hands lots.



    Once again with the throwing witches at turnips thing.

    You can only get a disease caused by a virus by coming into contact with that virus. The virus is strangely uninterested by your current BMI. People who come into contact with viruses like the cold virus will get infected and some of them will display the symptoms of a cold.

    As noted above, the commonest form of transmission is by hand to mouth or nose or eyes, so wash your hands often.

    I deal with folk on a daily basis who have actual documented, reproducible, well researched problems with their immune systems, and who have any number of rather grim infections.

    I wash my hands a very lot.


    You don’t sound that skinny!

    I’m 5’9″ and been down to 54kgs when fit and strong and didn’t get many colds. I felt the cold a lot and always hate winter, but I rarely got ill.

    Over training and being run down and not getting decent sleep is more likely to get you ill than being slim. I got a lot of colds last year but that was more because I didn’t sleep due to a baby waking me every 2 hours :'(

    If you feel the sniffles coming on, take a bit extra vit C and Zinc to give yourself a boost in fighting it off. And go to bed early, if you do this just before it properly takes hold you can often shake it off in a day or two. Drinking green tea and eating brocoli also helps.

    It’s hard work not getting ill when riding Cyclocross because it’s such a full-on effort in horrible conditions. If you are getting ill lots, perhaps ease up on the mid week training. Remember that racing is the hardest form of training.


    My cycling habits have changed little over 20 years. Sometimes I’m fitter than others but always pretty static weight wise 6’1 and 11 & half stone. Never ailed much at all. 4 years ago when i met my wife she had a little un (2 y.o) and since he started nursery/school i have never had as many colds etc etc.


    Seeing as it seems compulsory to add your own vital statistics to this thread, I’m a 29 year old 88kg 5’11” mtb’er who doesn’t train particularly hard but does have a physical job outside in all weathers all year. Apart from just before meals and just after going to the loo, I rarely wash my hands but I guess I’m not in contact with enough other sick people to get ill as I genuinly cannot remember the last time I had a cold of any description.


    thank god for crosshair i was begin to feel the odd one out all this 66/ 70 kg people, dont you eat? at least 88kg nearer the mark.. for me at least….

    Had a Royal Marine Commando out riding in September. He said the view in his trade was a bit of meat on the bones, too thin was frowned upon. “the ones who are ripped to the t1ts are the ones who are always going down sick”.

    Also have a regular who is a nutritional consultant for the US army. Similar view.

    IMO I think if you have a very low body fat you can push yourself to the point where there is nothing in reserve, your immune system (and everything else) takes a dive.

    EDIT: I think weight and height are only 2 parts of the equation. % lean body mass to fat is the most important. Its is hard to measure accurately tho.

    Premier Icon DoctorRad

    Are you getting enough Vitamin D? A lack of it can do all sorts of nasty things to your immune system, and there’s increasing evidence that a large proportion of the population in northern Europe is deficient due to lack of sunlight. It’s quite difficult to eat as much VitD as you need, so supplements are the answer.

    As for VitC, my own personal experience is that large doses in the winter (2x 2000mg a day) with some extra zinc helps keep colds at bay and helps prevent ‘little sniffles’ becoming full-blown colds. I always take it if I can feel that I’m fighting off something viral.

    Do you travel or work in an enclosed space with lots of other people? I found that when I was commuting by train – and also stupidly skinny – I got cold after cold, and managed to catch full-blown flu twice in one winter. If you’re always getting infected, it may be worth looking at where the infections are coming from.

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