Before you reach for the Lemsip there are natural, and more effective ways to beat a cold, or, at least reduce the symptoms and shorten its duration.
Vitamin C - does it work?
Vitamin C works but you have to take a lot – ideally 1 gram (that’s 20 oranges worth) an hour. One study gave volunteers 8 grams on the first day of a cold and almost half, 46 per cent, were cold free the next day (1) In a study involving 700 students those taking hourly doses of 1000mg of Vitamin C for the first 6 hours and then 1 gram three times daily thereafter reported an 85% decrease in cold symptoms compared to those receiving conventional cold and flu treatment.(2)
Immune Boosting Foods
Especially immune-boosting are blue-red foods. Black elderberry, for example, stops viruses from penetrating cells and spreading their germs. In a double-blind controlled trial elderberry extract given to those with flu, produced a significant improvement in symptoms – fever, cough, muscle pain – in 20 per cent of patients within 24 hours, and in a further 73 per cent of patients within 48 hours. After three days, 90 per cent had complete relief of their symptoms compared to another group on a placebo, who took at least six days to recover. (3) In another double-blind controlled trial, black elderberry extract cut recovery time in those with influenza by four days.(4) The hero ingredient in blue red foods is anthocyans (cyan means blue). Most people think of blueberries but one of the richest sources are cherries, and particularly Montmorency cherries. A single shot of Cherry Active, a concentrate of pure Montmorency cherries, provides the same level of anthocyans as 180 blueberries. During an infection it’s worth having two or three shots a day, in a hot drink with pieces of fresh ginger, which soothes sore throats.
What I take
I take both high dose vitamin C (a formula containing black elderberry, extra zinc and ginger) and Cherry Active. “At the first sign of a cold I take 3 grams of vitamin C with a shot of Cherry Active, then 1 gram an hour, plus more Cherry Active. Invariably I’m symptom free the next day.”
Find out more
To find out more about boosting your immune system and protecting against colds and flu read my book Boost Your Immune System. REFERENCES 1. Anderson TW et al. The effect on winter illness of large doses of vitamin C. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1974:111:31-6. 2. Gorton HC, Jarvis K. The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 Oct;22(8):530-3 3. Zakay-Rones, Z. et al., ‘Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama’, J. Altern. Complement Med., vol. 1(4), pp. 361–9 (Winter 1995). 4. Zakay-Rones, Z. et al., ‘Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections’, J. Int. Med. Res., vol. 32(2), pp. 132–40 (Mar–Apr 2004).
If you are not registered, don't worry it only takes a few seconds to sign up.
I've told numerous people about the benefits of vitamin c, but almost invariably, they only partly take the advice on board, in that they will go and buy vitamin c, but a low dose front Boots or a supermarket, then dismiss it as 'doesn't work'.