The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that is caused by a virus. Typically, people with a cold will experience general malaise, fever, headache and congestion of the upper respiratory tract (nasal passages, sinuses and throat). Initially, there is usually a watery nasal discharge and sneezing, followed by thicker secretions containing mucus, white blood cells and dead organisms. The throat may be red, sore and quite dry.
What Causes the Common Cold?
The common cold can be caused by a wide variety of viruses that are capable of infecting the upper respiratory tract.
What Dietary Factors are Important in the Common Cold?
Increasing your fluid consumption keeps your respiratory tract moist, which repels viral infections. Drinking plenty of liquids will also improve the function of infection-fighting white blood cells by decreasing the concentration of compounds that are in solution in the blood. The type of liquids you consume is very important. Studies have shown that drinking concentrated sources of sugars, such as the glucose, fructose and sucrose found in sodas, honey or juice, greatly reduces the ability of the white blood cells to kill bacteria. Before you drink them, fruit juices should be greatly diluted. Limit your daily intake of undiluted fruit juices to 4 to 8 ounces.
Which Nutritional Supplements Should I Take for the Common Cold?
Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.
Vitamin C has been shown in more than 20 double-blind studies to be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms and the duration of the common cold. Take 250 to 500 mg every two waking hours for maximum benefit. Lower the dosage if diarrhea, excessive gas or gastrointestinal irritation occurs.
Zinc lozenges are one of the most popular natural approaches to the common cold. There have been several double-blind studies showing zinc lozenges are effective in reducing the severity and symptoms of colds. Use lozenges that supply 15 to 25 mg of elemental zinc. If you feel a cold coming on, dissolve them in your mouth every two waking hours after an initial double dose. Continue for up to seven days.
Wellmune is a special beta-glucan preparation from baker’s yeast that has been shown to be effective in several double-blind studies in boosting immunity in preventing colds and the flu. It can also help support immune function during a cold or flu. Dosage: 500mg per day.
Anti-V from Natural Factors contains the following concentrated extracts:
- Echinamide: A patented, clinically proven, super-extracted Echinacea purpurea liquid that guarantees high levels of the three key active groups of compounds responsible for echinacea’s actions on the immune system.
- Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): The most famous herb in Chinese medicine for strengthening the immune system, which is now backed by scientific evidence.
- Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum): This herb garnered attention during the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1917, after it was discovered that Native Americans were recovering from this flu much quicker than everyone else.
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Referred to in Chinese medical texts as “the mushroom of immortality,” reishi is valued by modern herbalists for its ability to promote resistance during times of stress.
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): A valued, time-tested herb noted in recent scientific investigations for its antiviral properties.
For immune support during acute viral infections, take 50 drops of Anti-V in water or two capsules every two to three hours. For long-term support or prevention, take 50 drops or two capsules two times a day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
We are all constantly exposed to many viruses, yet the majority of us only experience the discomfort of a “cold” once or twice a year at the most. This situation implies that a decrease in resistance or immune function is the major factor in “catching” a cold. In my opinion, maintaining a healthy immune system is the primary way to protect yourself against getting an excessive number of colds. If you catch more than one or two colds per year, it may be indicative of a weak immune system. To strengthen your immune system, please follow the recommendations given in Low Immune Function.
How Do I Know if the Recommendations are Working?
With a healthy, functioning immune system, a cold should not last more than three or four days at the most. Even if you utilize a wide variety of natural healing methods, once a cold is well underway, it is difficult to completely throw it off within two days. Do not expect immediate relief in most instances when using natural substances. In fact, since most natural therapies for colds involve assisting the body, as opposed to suppressing the symptoms, cold symptoms may temporarily worsen. Of course, the illness is generally much shorter-lived as a result.