Whether you are at the gym, boathouse or traveling, you're bound to come in contact with someone who is sick where they, often unknowingly, will spread their germs around everything they touch. That's why the common cold still exists.
While there isn't a cure for the cold and flu, there are definitely ways to at least do your best to stay healthy. Although, some methods are better than others regardless of how they are presented to the public.
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You've seen these advertised with plenty of evidence (i.e. personal testimonials) supporting the claim to "enhance" or "boost" our body's immune system. The only thing that can truly boost our immunity would be something similar to vaccinations or other medically related interventions. In most cases, these products often contain a mix of multiple vitamins, minerals, and/or herbals that claim to provide immune support and reduce the chances of getting ill. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely and so are many of the empty promises by supplement companies.
For example, in 2006, the makers of a popular herbal/vitamin supplement—Airborne—came under fire for its assertion that their product would "boost the immune system with seven herbal extracts and a proprietary blend of vitamins, electrolytes, amino acids and antioxidants" along with claims that it would cure the common cold. To make matters worse, their advertised clinical study did not involve scientists or health professionals. The man who ran things said he had lots of clinical trial experience however, the news media reported he could not provide proof of a college degree. Ultimately, the company paid out $23.3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit for false advertising,
More: How to Keep Your Immune System Strong
In reality, you could get the same exact mixture of these nutrients through your diet in addition to others such as fiber and phytochemicals that have scientific research to support their use. Instead, save your money for something better, like new winter gear.
The body needs vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, blood vessels, and aids in the absorption of iron. And while it is widely sold as a preventative and therapeutic treatment, the scientific community has had mixed results on the use of it as treatment for the common cold.
The Mayo Clinic reports that there have been over 30 clinical trials examining the effects of daily consumption (0.2 g or more) of vitamin C. The overall consensus was that there was no significant difference in severity, duration, or symptoms of a cold for most of the studies. However, a small proportion of participants, namely people in extreme physical stress, including soldiers in Arctic conditions, skiers, and marathon runners, were found that their the risk of developing a cold was cut in half. Otherwise, it doesn't appear to be helpful for the general population until more research is done.
More: 4 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Winter