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Do VLCD's lower your imune system?

G: 12st0lb

I am a bit worried and concerned. I have another bad cold, cough , sore throat etc.etc the second one in the 8 weeks on LL. Before dong this diet I very rarely caught colds, so much so I cannot remember when the last one was , but it must be over 3 years ago. I am concerned that its the diet. I constantly feel cold , and I know we are in Ketosis and thats the reason , lower body temp etc, and its good becuase it forces our bodies to burn fat for fuel. I am more than happy with my weight loss so for and love the diet for its amazing results and its simplicity, although it is hard core amd requires amazing will power as well. Its both the hardest and the easiest diet I have ever done, and Ive done alot.
I hate the idea that the diet may be having this very unwanted side effect , and it worries me that it may be detrimental to my health, because I am doing this for the good of my health not for vanity or to please anyone else. My motivation is to get to a healthy BMI and hopefully extend my life as I was suffering from many Obesity related conditions , HIgh BP, High Cloresterol, high blood glucose, osteoarthritis, lethagy, depression, and low esteem. As my tag says heaven can wait for me another few years I want to live to see my grandchildren and at 19stone plus I know it was touchand go (maternal heart disease, going back generations).
Does anyone else feel they have beeen more prone to illnesses while doing a VLCD?
I am honestly not looking for an excuse to give up , I fully intend to see the 100 days through, and know that end of foundation being 3 plus stone lighter will yield enormous long term benefits that far outweigh the minor illnesses on the journey. I am just seriously worried about carrying on after foundation to lose the remainder of the weight I estimate about another 3 stones by doing a VLCD. The medical guidlines do state that VLCD should only be carried out for a maximum of 14 weeks, and this must surely be for a good reason?
I would be interested to hear form people who have gone the distance , as well any other takes on this.
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Hello Heaven, I've no idea what if any proper research has been done, one of the experienced CDC's on here may know, & i'd be surprised if no studies have been performed.

speaking personally i've only had one viral illness since starting CD in Jan. though the kids have brought various germs home from school. the virus had the whole family outof action for a couple of days, I didn't have it any worse than the rest.

hope you are feeling better soon

Mrs Lard

Silver Member
Dear HCW

I was so sorry to hear that you are not on top form while on LL. I was asthmatic and prone to bronchitis and chest infections before I started and yet, in 12 weeks, my chest/lungs etc have really been good. I have also got an auto-immune disorder but...this has stabilised since LL.

I've also been sleeping much better too after years of insomnia. Don't worry, this isn't all about how great I feel because that would be no help to you!

But - and it's a big 'but' - I initially felt dreadful on LighterLife, to be honest. Getting into ketosis was awful, it was winter, I was cold, blah, blah. And I never had the energy upswing that other people raved about; I felt like a giant slug.

However, when I went on holiday to New York, it made all the difference. I abstained for about 80% of the holiday. I'm not sure if it was the small bits of food (and I do mean small!) or the change of environment that made the difference but I felt better.

In response to your comment:

I hate the idea that the diet may be having this very unwanted side effect , and it worries me that it may be detrimental to my health, because I am doing this for the good of my health not for vanity or to please anyone else. My motivation is to get to a healthy BMI and hopefully extend my life as I was suffering from many Obesity related conditions

I really urge you to see your GP and/or get in touch with the LL medical team. You never know, you could be intolerant to something in the packs and that will be affecting your immune system.

I really wish you well and please get in touch with the medical professionals. Sometimes the LLCs cannot answer all our medical questions so go straight to the people who can.

Take care.

Mrs L xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Hey Heaven
Sorry to hear you're feeling rubbish :(
Like Mrs L, I too seem to have had a massive turn around health wise and havent had a symptom of even a sniffle in 13 weeks.
There will of course be a mini along soon who I'm sure can give some proper advice. Everyone has their own 'thing' it seems in reaction to a VLCD and this sounds like yours.
Did you strike lucky with your GP when you got sign off for LL? Will they be sympathetic if you go see them to discuss this, or immediately tell you to eat a giant pie? :D
Hope you get some answers soon and feel better.


Silver Member
S: 17st2lb C: 11st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st6lb(31.67%)
I'm sorry to hear that you haven't had the best of health.

A little bit about me - I started in January at 18st 2.

For as long as I can remember I have had at least 3 colds between January and June each year. I also regularly suffer from infected wisdom teeth (they're coming out this year!) which lead to me getting very run down and having swollen glands every March or April without fail.

Since starting LL I have not had any of these regularly occurring illnesses - I haven't even suffered from chestnut pollen hayfever. The worst I have felt is a bit weak and a bit dizzy and very cold. Oh - and my cold sore attacks heal much much quicker and are less virulent than they have ever been.

I have no medical knowledge beyond common sense so my take on it is that a lot of my regular infection/immune problems were probably to do with food intolerances and an imbalanced diet.

I was insistent when I started that I wouldn't sole source past week 16 in line with BMA guidelines - however, I have felt so great whilst on LL that I'm still SSing and happy to continue to week 30 as long as nothing untoward occurs. I've went from being hypertensive to having completely normal blood pressure in 12 weeks.

There are so many variables from person to person that it is impossible to prescribe LL in the same way for all people. I understand LL's rigidity in trying to get everyone to toe the line to make sure that everyone gets the basic principles. But now I understand a little more about how the programme was designed in the first place, I think that some people may need a little tailoring. I just wish LL could put more effort into getting the NHS on side (I mentioned this in my 100 day feedback) - it would mean that GPs could make recommendations to their patients about the best way to follow LL long term to ensure optimum health. For people who need to lose 3 stone I truly believe that one size fits almost all (the fact that COMA research only goes up to 12 days is telling)- but for the morbidly obese I do think they need to do far more research into following the programme for longer periods.

The question I would ask is do you usually have a couple of bad colds a year anyway? Most people have 3-4.

There was one person in my group who had a viral infection she just couldn't shake for several weeks and in the end she had to stop LL whilst she tried to get better.


Silver Member
S: 17st2lb C: 11st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st6lb(31.67%)
Ah - it would have helped if I'd read the first part of your post properly you haven't suffered from colds. I see. In which case it's either the diet or the viruses you've been exposed to. There was a very persistent cold running about in February (I monitor sickness in my company) - almost everyone in my office went down with it for 3 days - except for me. Some people got a second one a few weeks later. So it might have been that.


is happy being Yorkiegirl
I have been one of the people who have been very healthy whilst on LL. Perhaps it would be a good idea to get checked out.
I am asthmatic and usually spend most of the winter on antibiotics, steroids and a nebuliser. This year I have been fine. Given the stress I have been under since last summer, my doctor told me that I have defied medical science. They were fully expecting me to be horribly ill this winter.

Definitely check this out with LL and your doctor. Could it be all the toxins you had in your body from before LL that are coming out now and causing these colds? A bit like detox?
G: 12st0lb
Thanks for answering everyone. I Never considered it could be an allergy Mrs lard, I guess it would be worth checking with the meds at LL. I will have to go see my GP on Monday as I think I may have a chest infection, (hubby migrated to the spare room cos I coughed all night and he didnt get a wink all last night) neither did !
My Gp is a very young, incredibly slim lady who probaly dosent personally, rather than proffesionally, know anyone Obese, and displays lots of ignorance and predjudice of obesity I'm afraid. She was quite supportive in a very detached 'oh yes I'm happy to sign that' anything to get you thinner cant understand why your so fat anyway, that will be £13.00 kind of way. She had initially suggested I went on a 1000 cals a day diet , but gave me no advice on how to actually achieve it what so ever. That was just after she told me that with a BMI of over 40 I was morbidly obese and needed to take drastic and urgent measures to reduce it (charming).:sigh: Lets just say she probaly does her best but, is a bit luxe warm on the emotional support or sympathy. I guess she may suggest coming off LL and 'just go eat healthily like #a normal person#' (whatever that is). This is the woman who signed my form but refused to do my monthly BP check even though I am on prescription hypertension drugs saying 'oh we havnt got the facilities to do that' !!!:eek: (Sorry I thought it was a medical centre).
When I mentioned that I could possibly see a significant reduction in Bp she said 'oh , not that quickly you wont'! Proper little inspiration she is !(not) :( .
Oh well, I will just have to hope she is supportive, if not well, I dont what I will do, but I will keep you informed.
Thanks again girls much appreciated feeling a bit low and alone and it helps to know spme of you care enough to answer and try to help.
Night Night
Love Carole xxxx


has started again!!
Hi HCW, hope your feeling a bit better today. Just caught up with your post, and thought I would add my own thoughts (for whatever its worth!!).

I have suffered suffered at least two or three really heavy colds each with, between January and abut now. They took ages to get rid of, I was plagued with catarrh, and my OH often resorted to ear plugs because that and the fat on my neck made me snore terribly. (or so he says!) The snoring had completely stopped, and I have not a cold yet this winter, (Started LL in Feb.)

I have two children of 13 and 8, who have both had filthy colds, and one had a really bad case of tonsillitus, but I have been able to stay fit and healthy through out. TBH, yesterday, I did think a cold was starting, but today, my throat is a little itchy and thats all!

I do wonder if the others are right and it could be an allergy or some other reason for feeling so low. Is there another GP at your practice you could see? Maybe one that is a bit more understanding? My own GP is a male, about my age , and also a bit chubby, I wouldnt go so far as to say he was supportive, but he did say it would be a good thing to try, just before he charged me £20, because "its a commercial business, not a medical diet."

Let us now how you feel soon!

Love xx


Silver Member
S: 17st2lb C: 11st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st6lb(31.67%)
I'm going a bit off topic, but I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that we need to take these rebuffs and offhand comments from out local clinics more seriously. When I went to register last year the practice nurse inhaled sharply (she didn't know that I had been treated for depression and self-esteem issues) and said 'You have to lose weight now' and gave me a booklet from the British Heart Foundation that suggested I exercise and eat three healthy meals a day. 'No sh*t!' I thought to myself - that's where I've been going wrong for 20 years!

We are sort of responsible for educating these GPs that there is another solution. It doesn't defy medical science, it incorporates recognised psychological techniques for treating addiction and it has a huge success rate. Life is hard enough without professionals making snap judgements about things they don't understand.

I heard one GP suggest to an obese woman that she follow 'French Women Don't Get Fat' (I think it was because there was a special on it on Tonight Wth Trevor Macdonald rather than on her having actually read it). In the first chapter of the book it explains that the weightloss programme in the book is not suitable for anyone with more than 10KG to lose. Therefore not a solution for obesity. The same GP was completely anti-LL.
I have had a cold that has left me with bad catarrh BUT other than that have never been as healthy as I have been on LL, and my group are the same. In fact I have not caught bugs that my family and friends all went down with. I was staying with family at Easter and, over the course of the week the other 6 people got a sickness bug- I was the only one who didn't! As they all got it on different days it wasn't food poisoning.

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