is a very common problem indeed, especially during the winter time. In 2016, there were over twenty million users of cold and flu remedies in the UK.
WHAT IS COMMON COLD
Common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract affecting throat, nose, and sinuses.
Over 200 viral strains are involved in the cause of the common cold; the rhinoviruses are the most common.
A sore throat, runny nose, cough, headache.
Poor hygiene, winter, and especially weak immunity caused by deficiency of vit. D, C, zinc, antioxidants, refined diet high in sugar and white flour products, cheese, pizza, stimulants, lack of sleep, psychological stress, sedentary lifestyle, hypoxia (lack of oxygen in the body).
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLD & FLU
Cold and flu are caused by different viral strains. People with influenza often show similar symptoms but usually more severe. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose and usually do not have fever. Flu is usually much more serious than a cold.
PREVENTION & TREATMENT
There is no vaccine against cold. Vaccination has proved very difficult as there are too many strains of viruses involved and they also mutate rapidly.
Antibiotics should not be used for cold and flu as they are not effective against viral infections.
HERBAL & NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
- Vitamin C: Being an antioxidant Vitamin C helps maintain the strong immune system by protecting it against oxidative damage caused by free radicals: “Vitamin C is known as an essential anti-oxidant and enzymatic co-factor for hormone production, collagen synthesis and immune potentiation.”
According to Linus Pauling, “Effectiveness of ascorbic acid in providing protection against viral diseases results from its function in the synthesis and activity of interferon in preventing the entry of virus particles into the cells… For many people 1000 mg to 2000 mg of Vitamin C per day is the optimum rate of ingestion.“
A 2013 research maintains that “Vitamin C Is an Essential Factor in the Anti-viral Immune Responses through the Production of Interferon-α/β at the Initial Stage of Influenza Virus Infection.”
To prevent cold and reduces its symptoms, apart from vitamin C, also zinc and vitamin D3 are recommended for better results.
- Zinc keeps the immune system in check; Inhibits influenza & cold viruses; Taking Zinc at the start of a cold or flu helps minimise duration and severity of symptoms.
In 2014 meta-analysis of 67 studies researchers have found that zinc is the best supplement for warding off colds!
According to the 2013 study, “Zinc (lozenges) administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration of common cold symptoms.”
- Vitamin D3: Recently researchers investigated and compared data from 25 studies on vitamin D that involved 10,000 people to explore the effect of vitamin D in preventing colds, flu, bronchitis and pneumonia. Their conclusion suggests vitamin D supplementation was very beneficial in preventing respiratory tract infections. According to the NHS new guidelines on vitamin D, everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements during the winter months: “…The advice is to consider taking vitamin D supplements because it is difficult to get enough from food alone.”
- Bee Propolis has been shown to be effective against bacterial and viral infections (including cold & flu virus); It’s also been used to enhance the immune system pathogen-fighting capabilities. Taking propolis by participants suffering from cold resulted in 2.5 faster recoveries, when propolis was used in the initial stage of the disease. A 2002 research demonstrated that “Bee propolis can prevent viral replication within the cells and reduces viral activity.” Also according to the 2004 research, “Propolis increased the number of lymphocytes and antibodies in response to viral infection.” In addition, “The vaccine in combination with propolis boosts immune defenses stronger than the vaccine alone.”
- Rutin: Contains anti-inflammatory properties; Useful in alleviating the symptoms of respiratory infections such as a runny nose.
- Quercetin: Helps protect against influenza virus as it has been known to have antiviral benefits; Helps reduce inflammation and symptoms cold & flu.
- Maitake mushroom powder: A potent immune stimulant. According to a 2014 trial, “Immunomodulating glucans from Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms strongly stimulated both the cellular and humoral branch of immune reactions.”
- Astragalus extract: Effective energy and immune system booster. A 2012 study displayed its ability to control T-helper cells 1 and 2, essentially regulating the body’s immune responses. As a result of taking astragalus extract, the macrophages and the natural killer cells of the immune system have a markedly enhanced ability to fight intruders (five- to six-fold!).
- Echinacea: “Largest ever clinical study in Echinacea finds herbal remedy CAN protect against colds… In the majority of participants, the recurring infections were cut by 60%... The duration of the illness suffered by patients also went down by an average of 26%… Researchers also found that Echinacea caused no adverse side effects in the participants.” Also, a 2000 meta-analysis based on sixteen trials revealed that the majority of studies reported positive results for echinacea in the prevention and reduction of symptoms of the common cold.
- Garlic: Studies have demonstrated that garlic helps reduce the risk of flu or clods and may reduce the severity of symptoms. One study gave 146 volunteers either garlic supplements or a placebo for three months. The garlic group had a 63% lower risk of getting cold, and their colds were also 70% shorter. Another study also concluded that colds were on average 60% shorter for subjects on garlic, compared to a placebo group. Their colds were also less severe.
NUTRITIONAL AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS
- Avoid foods with refined sugar as it makes leukocytes behave like drunken soldiers. Also, white flour products weaken immune system because they are quickly converted to sugar.
- Avoid or significantly reduce consumption of cheese & dairy. They weaken immune system and are mucus producing making symptoms worse
- Hot steam inhalations for relieving congestion in nose, sinuses, and throat.
- Gargling with warm salt water for a sore throat.
- Drinking plenty of water and herbal teas.
- Linus Pauling, Vitamin C and the Common Cold, p. 38, 84
- Yejin Kim, Hyemin Kim, Seyeon Bae, et al (2013) Immune Netw. 2013 Apr; 13(2): 70–74
- The Telegraph, G. Michael Allan, MD and Bruce Arroll, MB ChB PhD (2014) Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. 28 Jan 2014 CMAJ. 2014 Feb 18
- Singh M1, Das RR (2013) Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 18;(6)
- V Vetvicka, J Vetvickova (2014) Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake.
- Propolis: Otolaryngologia Polska 1989;43(3):180-4.
- Propolis: Isr Med Assoc J 2002 Nov;4(11 Suppl):923-7.
- Propolis: Int Immunopharmacol. 2004 Jul;4(7):975-82.
- Propolis: Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2007 Mar 15;116(1-2):79-84.
- Echinacea: Daily Mail 10/10/2012
- Melchart D, Linde K, Fischer P (2000) Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD000530.
- Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6583 (Published 15 February 2017): https://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i658
- Nantz MP1, Rowe CA, Muller CE, Creasy RA, Stanilka JM, Percival SS. (2016). Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;31(3):337-44. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.11.019. Epub 2012 Jan 24.
- Josling P1. (2001). Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther. 2001 Jul-Aug;18(4):189-93.
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.