Vitamin C is one of the most popularly suggested cold remedies around (besides chicken soup.) But lately it has experienced some criticism over whether it actually works or not to help colds at all. Instead of vitamin C what is currently being suggested as more helpful supplements are zinc and probiotics. This is an important concept since people on average get more than one cold a year. They are quite common and while usually not too dangerous they can be quite a nuisance and lead to taking sick days at work.
There have been a lot of studies done about vitamin C but they have not been able to link large doses of it with making a significant reduction in cold symptoms. Vitamin C might however be more helpful for people who are under significant stress and can use the immune boost it might give them. This does not mean that you should stop taking your vitamin C supplements however. They might not make a big impact on the common cold but they are certainly necessary for their antioxidant power, immune function, and cell communication in the body. Taking vitamin C is still helpful for your body when you are fighting an infection. It is just not clear that taking specifically large doses shortens the length of a cold.
Recent studies suggest that taking zinc supplements may be able to prevent colds and that taking them during the duration of a cold might be able to reduce the length of the cold. Zinc is an essential mineral that works as an antioxidant and can repair tissue in the body. It’s ability to fight colds might be due to its ability to prevent cold viruses from growing in the nasal cavity, which is a common point of entry. You can take zinc as a supplement and also take it in the form of lozenges, which can feel good on a sore throat and encourage you to keep taking them.
Regularly taking probiotics seems to have a positive effect in avoiding infections of the upper respiratory tract where colds usually thrive. Taking probiotics might be able to both prevent colds and also shorten the duration of them once they arrive. Probiotics populate the gut with the god bacteria that it loses during any type of disruption to the body. They can be effective at helping raise the fighting power of the body’s immune system. In a recent study on probiotics as compared to a group taking a placebo pill, people who took probiotics had on average a shorter cold by two days. The probiotics may be able to help reduce the symptoms in the respiratory system that we usually equate with having a cold.
As a natural alternative to cough medicines honey can be taken at bedtime to help sooth the throat and reduce nighttime coughing. Hand washing is one of the biggest steps you can take to avoid getting a cold in the first place.