Vitamin C Vitamin D Zinc And Other Supplements May Provide An Edge Against Colds And The Flu But They Should Only Serve To Complement Your Main Defensive Arsenal: Good Hygiene Proper Hydration Healthy Diet Restful Sleep Stress Control And Exercise
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Colds and the flu are caused by viruses that travel from person to person. Although you fend off infections year round, you may be more vulnerable during the colder months: the ambient cold may weaken your immune system, according to preliminary human and animal evidence, and if it makes you spend more time inside with other people, it also gives you more opportunities to trade viruses and microbes.
Unfortunately, even if you follow these best practices, you can still get unlucky and catch a cold or contract the flu. This is why, once winter hits, one of the most popular questions we get is: among the manysupplements used to ward off an infection or lessen its symptoms, are there any that work?
Do Hot Liquids Ease Cold And Flu Symptoms
Hot liquids, like a warm cup of tea, are said to clear up congestion but is this true?
The answer is yes. Researchers at the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University in Britain investigated this claim. Their results supported the belief that hot drinks can provide helpful relief for most cold and flu symptoms.
The hot drinks provided immediate and sustained relief from a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, a sore throat, chilliness, and tiredness. On the other hand, the same drink at room temperature only provided relief from a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.
Supplements With Preliminary Evidence
Many other supplements might help reduce the duration and severity of colds and the flu, but the evidence tends to be mixed, scarce, or low in quality. Among the most promising supplements are echinacea, elderberries, Pelargonium sidoides, and probiotics.
Taken daily, echinaceamight reduce the risk and duration of upper respiratory infections, yet trial effects are so small as to lack statistical or clinical significance. Moreover, many of the trials were low in quality, or their quality was difficult to determine.
Echinacea can interact with medications, particularly immunosuppressive drugs. If you take any medication, you may want to consult a physician before trying this supplement.
Echinacea might reduce the risk and duration of upper respiratory infections, but many of the studies are of low quality and the effects are very small at best.
Elderberries are known for their antioxidant properties, and in one randomized controlled trial, an elderberry extract reduced the duration and severity of colds more than placebo. Also, a few human trials have shown elderberries to reduce symptoms of the flu, but here the evidence is weakened by small sample sizes and, in some cases, low methodological quality.
Elderberries are a promising but understudied supplement: they may reduce the symptoms of colds and the flu, but the evidence is still preliminary. Beware: the plant is poisonous, and even the berries can be dangerous if not prepared properly.
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Are There Any Treatments For The Cold
There is no cure for the common cold, but there are medications that can help relieve some of the symptoms. Before you use any product, you should speak with a healthcare provider.
Nasal/sinus congestion: use a decongestant, such as pseudoephedrineRunny nose: use an antihistamine and various nasal inhalers such as NasalCrom and FlonaseFever, sore throat/headache/body aches: use a mild pain reliever such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent such as ibuprofen or naproxenCough: common ingredients include guaifenesin and dextromethorphan
‘routine Vitamin C Supplementation Is Not Justified’
A 2013 review of 29 trials which involved more than 11,300 people found “no consistent effect of vitamin C … on the duration or severity of colds.” The only place the authors observed some benefits of vitamin C supplementation was in marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers on “subarctic exercise” and even in those small populations, the observed effect was small.
“The failure of vitamin C supplementation to reduce the incidence of colds in the general population indicates that routine vitamin C supplementation is not justified,” the study authors wrote.
And megadoses of vitamin C on the order of 2,000 milligrams or more may come with substantial harms, including raising your risk of painful kidney stones.
If you want to increase your overall vitamin and mineral intake, research backs getting it from fresh fruits and vegetables. This is the best way for your body to process it and ensures you get the most nutrients possible.
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Vitamin And Mineral Recommendations For People Over 50
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommends how much of each vitamin and mineral men and women of different ages need. For example:
Vitamin B12: 2.4 mcg each day. If you are taking medicine for acid reflux, you might need a different form, which your health care provider can give you information about.
Calcium: Women over age 50 need 1,200 mg each day. Men need 1,000 mg between age 51 and 70 and 1,200 mg after 70, but not more than 2,000 mg a day.
Vitamin D: 600 IU for people age 51 to 70 and 800 IU for those over 70, but not more than 4,000 IU each day.
Vitamin B6: 1.7 mg for men and 1.5 mg for women each day.
Sometimes, too much of a vitamin or mineral can be harmful. Most if not all of your daily vitamins and minerals should come from food. When thinking about whether you need more of a vitamin or mineral, think about how much of each nutrient you get from food and drinks, as well as from any supplements you take. Check with a doctor or dietitian to learn whether you need to supplement your diet.
Tomato Tea A Satisfying Dose Of Healing And Nutrients
Sometimes, when youre ill, convincing yourself to eat can be hard. Drinking tomato tea can help you get a little more nutrition into your body.
Though tomato tea takes a few more steps than these other suggestions, its worth it. And even better, it tastes great.
To make tomato tea, combine a couple of blended tomatoes or 2 cups of tomato juice , 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, and some hot sauce in a pan and heat until warm. Fold in a dash of fresh lemon juice before consuming. Drink throughout the day.
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Vitamin C May Not Reduce Cold Symptoms But It Helps Your Immune System
Vitamin C doesnt appear to prevent colds or do much when it comes to reducing cold symptoms. However, it still plays an important role in your health. It helps with cell protection, absorption of iron, immune system functioning, and producing collagen, which helps heal wounds.
Most people should get vitamin C from their diets, not over-the-counter supplements or products like Emergen-C and Airborne. But some groups may be at an increased risk of not getting enough, including smokers, people with limited food variety, and people with certain chronic diseases or absorption issues.
The National Institutes of Health recommends daily intake of 90 mg of vitamin C for adult males and 75 mg for adult females. Smokers require an additional 35 mg daily. Thats easily achievable through fruits and vegetables. For example, a medium orange has 70 mg of vitamin C, and a medium grapefruit has 78 mg.
Be careful not to take more than the recommended amount, though. Taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.
Astragalus Tea A Home Remedy For Preventing Colds And Flu
If you frequently get colds and the flu, this earthy herb can help you strengthen your immune system. In fact, Chinese doctors have prescribed it for this purpose for thousands of years.
I make astragalus tea throughout the winter and sip it often.
The main reason to use astragalus is for prevention, but it may also give you an immune boost when youre sick.
Reasons You Feel Nauseous After Taking Vitamins
It’s probably one of these issuesand they are fixable.
1. You’re taking your vitamins on an empty stomach.
This is a no-no, says Dr. Sonpal. When you take a vitaminregardless of the typeit causes some minor irritation in your otherwise empty stomach. It typically takes two to three hours for the vitamins to pass into the intestines, at which time there will be no more irritation and no more nausea.
If you take your vitamins with an actual meal, you avoid the issue altogether, says Dr. Sonpal. Not hungry for a full meal, but want to take your vitamins while you remember? Enjoy a small snack with your vitamins to avoid any feelings of nausea.
2. Youre overloading on irritating vitamins.
The yucky feeling could have to do with which vitamin youre taking. Vitamins C, E, and iron all tend to cause more irritation to your stomach, says Dr. Sonpal. If your multivitamin is high in one of these three and youre having stomach problems, you might want to consider switching formulas.
You’ll also be more prone to nausea if you go over your daily recommended dietary allowance . That’s 75 milligrams of vitamin C, 15 milligrams of vitamin E, and 18 milligrams of iron, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Make sure to stick within the guidelines unless a doctor told you to do otherwise.
The caveat: Dr. Sonpal points out that some people will experience nausea or other GI issues regardless, due to individual sensitivities.
Lowering The Risks Of Catching A Cold With Zinc And Vitamin C
To lower the risk of catching a cold, it is advisable to pay attention to the vitamin C and zinc balance, and not only during the flu season. The German Nutrition Society recommends healthy adults a daily intake of at least 7 to 10 mg of zinc and 95 to 110 mg of vitamin C, depending on gender, to satisfy the normal need. If there is no illness or another acute deficiency situation, this can be accomplished simply by a balanced diet. Zinc is found, for example, in cheese, peanuts, and oatmeal, whereas vitamin C is found in products like citrus, onions or bell peppers, as well as in various berries. Together with other biofactors, zinc and vitamin C help us to have a healthy immune system and to reduce the risk of disease. Find out here, how we can strengthen our immune defense with biofactors.
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Does Vitamin C Help With Colds
In the 1970s, Linus Pauling, a double Nobel laureate and self-proclaimed champion of vitamin C, promoted megadoses of the vitamin. He recommended the equivalent of 12 to 24 oranges a day to prevent colds and some chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. And on one aspect, he was right: Science does support daily intake of vitamin C because, as a water-soluble vitamin, the body doesnt store it easily. But high doses of vitamin C dont prevent disease.
No studies have conclusively shown vitamin C has any benefit in preventing illness, especially the common cold. It does play an important role in boosting the immune system, but most people in the United States are not vitamin C-deficient, so taking extra vitamin C doesnt necessarily boost the immune system, says Oladimeji Oki, M.D., a family physician at the Montefiore Medical Center and a professor of family and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. There are some exceptions to this rule, he says. We tend to see vitamin C deficiency in people with little access to food or severe poverty, people who are institutionalized and not eating well, or those who have an aversion to most if not all foods and vegetables, such as some children with autism.
Mechanism Of Adaptive Immunity During Common Cold
Around 72h after infection, DCs with antigen-MHC complexes migrate through the afferent lymph vessels to secondary lymph nodes where they form interactions with naive CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes. These T lymphocytes activate, proliferate, and differentiate into effector T cells and migrate via efferent lymph vessels into the circulation. Multiple chemokines are expressed in the respiratory epithelium and result in changes in integrin affinity, allowing effector T cells to bind to the endothelium and migrate into the infected tissue . For efficient and effective viral clearance Th1 effector T cells are required, which produce IL-2, TNF-, and IFN- to activate NK cells and induce generation of cytolytic molecules. CD8 effector T cells and NK cells can then induce apoptosis of infected cells . B cells have also been demonstrated to play an important role in the immune response to highly pathogenic viral infections. Contact between CD4 T cells and naive B cells in secondary lymphoid tissues results in their proliferation and antibody class-switching, with neutralizing virus-specific antibodies crucial for optimal viral clearance. Additionally, viral components expressed on infected cells allow antibodies to bind, thus initiating antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity , whereby CD16 on NK cells recognizes the Fc portion of antibodies bound to the surface and kills the target cell .
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What Should You Be Drinking When Youre Sick
Youve probably heard it before. When youre sick, you need to drink plenty of fluids.
Its true. You want your body to be well-hydrated so it can fight off germs.
But it is possible, though not very likely, to drink too much water or other liquids. So you shouldnt be downing buckets of water or even guzzling gallons of green tea.
Its true that most people dont drink enough water. But as in so many things, the answer is balance. Even when youre well, drinking too many fluids can overwhelm your kidneys and liver, making it harder for them to get rid of toxins.
Instead, you may want to drink a little more than the often recommended eight glasses of fluid throughout the day . Doing this should help you get what you need without going overboard.
You may not feel like drinking anything. But you really do need to drink a good amount of fluids when youre sick.
Water Critical For Every Function In Your Body
Water helps clear your body of toxins. Drinking water can also help clear away some types of illnesses by lessening congestion in your body.
Additionally, water helps your mucous membranes work, so they can trap things like dust and bacteria and prevent them from getting into your lungs.
Drinking enough water will help your body cleanse properly, allowing it to heal and get you back to feeling good again.
Especially when youre sick, drinking clean, filtered water is best.
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Cut Back On Hand Sanitizer
Yes, hand sanitizer is known for killing germs that cause illness. But studies have shown that only hand sanitizers with 60 to 95 percent alcohol are effective at killing germs. Those with lower alcohol concentrations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control states, may cause germs to become resistant to the sanitizing agent. Plus, hand sanitizers are less effective at bacterial removal compared to regular soap and water.
Tip to remember: Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. In circumstances when you cant wash your hands, opt for hand sanitizer. Just dont swap the antibacterial for soap.
Vitamins To Take When You Are Feeling Tired
Fatigue is a hallmark of today’s fast-paced, go-go-go culture. According to the National Safety Council, fatigue costs employers about $136 billion a year in lost productivity. Worse, fatigue leads to depression, obesity, heart disease and other chronic conditions.
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Supplement manufacturers don’t hesitate to use this as a money-making scheme, marketing vitamins for fatigue that promise to perk you up when you can’t get your zzzs. Don’t believe the hype. The only time vitamins will help give you energy is if you have a deficiency that causes fatigue.
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Sage Tea To Dry Up Extra Moisture In Your Body
Sage tea is another easy home remedy for sore throats and coughs.
To make sage tea all you need to do is pour hot water over about two tablespoons of dried sage. And then, steep for 10 minutes and strain.
Sage can also boost your mood. And some people believe that burning sage can help to clear the energy in rooms something that you might also find useful when youre sick.