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CR and Cold / Flu Survey Results

Dean Pomerleau

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Hey Everybody,


The CR Cold & Flu survey has been active for about a week, and we got 14 responses, with no more coming in lately, so I figured I'd summarize the results. I've screen captured the entire results as an image below so you can see the details, but here are the highlights:


  • We got half of our respondents from the CR Forums, and half from the Facebook CRS group.  
  • We got a pretty good split of genders (9 male / 5 female)
  • A pretty wide distribution of ages and time practicing CR, with quite a few veterans.
  • A good number of low-BMI, apparently serious CR practitioners, so it was a pretty good sample.
  • 80% of people reported getting a single cold / flu or less per year on average. This seems a lot lower than the general population.
  • Nearly 80% say they get fewer colds / flu now than they did before starting CR.
  • 54% say they get colds / flu less frequently than others in their household.
  • 85% said they have low or low-normal white blood cell counts.
  • 57% percent never get the flu shot.

Overall, I think this confirms our hypothesis - that CR folks have a less inflammable body (reflected in low WBC count), but if anything possess a more competent immune system, as reflected in contracting fewer colds and flu than before they started CR, than others in their household, and than is average in the general population.






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Thanks Dean.  Good information.  It might be interesting to see whether there is a relationship between years on CR and cold frequency.


Might we see a persuasive correlation showing lowest cold frequency among those with longest time on CR, and vice-versa?


Good question. Since there were only 14 respondents, I've included all their data below in a table, with the 7 green rows being the more "serious" practitioners (> 5 years and BMI <= 21) and the 7 yellow rows being the less "serious" practitioners.


Among the serious CR practitioners, the mean number of colds/flu per year was 0.72 and the median was 0.35 (less than one every two years). If we exclude one female outliner (2-3 colds/flu per year), we get a mean of 0.43 colds/flu per year - again less than one every two years.


Among the less serious CR practitioners, the mean number of colds/flu per year was 1.26 and the median was 1 per year.


So your hypothesis is correct - the reduction in cold/flu frequency is strongest among those who have been practicing CR the longest and with the most rigor. In fact, the serious CR practitioners had approximately half the frequency of colds/flu than the less serious practitioners.


The same appears true for WBC count, with there being a tendency for the serious practitioners to have a lower WBC than the less serious practitioners.


While the sample size was small and therefore conclusions must be tentative, I think it is a pretty interesting result.


Citizen science in action!





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Thanks, Dean. These surveys are both fun and useful.

Overall, I think this confirms [Zeta's emphasis] our hypothesis - that CR folks have a less inflammable body (reflected in low WBC count) [...].


Well, is consistent with... (But you know that!)


Rodney, yes, low leukocyte count is a typical CR finding in all species (that have leukocytes), and, as Michael Rae pointed out recently (something I hadn't known/realized/seen), absolute lymphocyte count is the most robust marker of degree of CR'dness we have (at least among reasonably easy to measure markers).



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