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5 ways to stave off colds this winter - number 2

3_2.pngNumber 2 in our list is vitamins...

Although there is no definitive evidence to say vitamin supplements help MS symptoms, their use is not contraindicated unless you take them in excess. Here’s a list of some immune boosting supplements and the evidence behind why we might take them during cold season.

Vitamin C
Many people reach for Vitamin C when they want to prevent a cold, but there is actually no evidence that it has this effect. However, there is some evidence that suggests it could help shorten the time you’re sick for.

In a study led by Dr H. Clay Gorton, D.C., and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 1999, found that vitamin C – in ‘mega doses’ – administered either before or after the start of cold or flu symptoms successfully relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group. These findings suggest that vitamin C is great for boosting your immune system.

There are a number of studies which show that taking zinc gluconate or acetate lozenges every two hours within the first two days of a cold can decrease the duration. However, taking zinc as a preventative measure doesn’t seem to be very effective as a preventative. Zinc lozenges shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach because they can cause nausea.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat raw garlic, garlic supplements work just as well for this one. A British study found that of 146 people who took a garlic supplement for 12 weeks during cold season were far less likely to get sick than those who received a placebo. Those who took garlic and did get a cold also recovered around four days quicker on average than those taking the placebo.

Vitamin E
This is another immune system booster, but unlike the others we have mentioned this supplement won’t shorten the time you are sick, it could actually prevent you from getting a cold. In a one-year study conducted by Tufts University, 451 adults aged 65 and older were given 200 IU of vitamin E or a placebo each day. While 74% of people in the placebo group came down with at least one upper respiratory infection during the study, only 65% of those taking vitamin E experienced one or more infections.

Check back on Friday for our blog about exercise!

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