This was more of an annoyance than anything, but over Friday and Saturday, I started to get a head cold. No sore throat or aches but a stuffy nose and head, general fatigue. Once again, I started up with my favorite combo of beta glucan, Resist Immune and extra vitamin C. I normally take about 4-5 grams a day, so this time I was only adding a few extra grams. Today, Sunday, the head cold is virtually gone, energy is better. This happens consistently when I’ve used this combo and a few people I’ve tried this with have had similar success. I’d say it is worth a shot! Others also swear by Heath Concerns Cold Away (we are out just at the moment but should have more in in a couple of weeks.) What works for you?
Purely anecdotally, I’ve been using beta glucan to nip colds in the bud for years. If I can catch it, just at the onset of that first tickle, one or two do the trick. But if I forget or miss it and something’s trying to settle in, I wind up taking several through the day, along with increasing my dose of vitamin C from the usual 4 grams/day to about 6-8 grams (staying home especially if I’m worried about reaching bowel tolerance).
Some research is beginning to support these anecdotes of mine and several NYBC members. One small (industry) study showed reduced number of symptoms. Another study among 182 marathoners who may be more prone to colds due to suppressed mucosal immunity after a run, showed those using the beta glucans experienced “a 37% reduction in the number of cold/flu symptom days postmarathon compared to placebo (p = .026).” In a second study by the same researchers, they observed that beta glucan use was associated with “a 32% increase in salivary IgA (p = .048) at 2 hr after exercise compared to placebo.” That might provide a partial understanding of how these compounds work to stimulate a key feature of immunity.
Others have found that higher doses (8 g/day) may help lower LDL. Clearly, more studies can help us to understand the benefits, limitations and contraindications or side effects of this intriguing polysaccharides. Would that research were run based on science and the actual needs of medicine instead of the anti-science distortions of greed!
See nybuyersclub entry on Beta Glucan
What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet for Cold and Flu Season?
As the cold and flu season approaches, don’t forget the supplements! Here are some good choices for preventing colds and flus, or for lessening symptoms:
Vitamin D. According to some recent thinking, the “cold and flu season” may actually be the “Vitamin D deficiency season.” As the days grow shorter, people get less sunshine, leading to a decline in the body’s levels of this vitamin, which is essential to good health in many more ways than we used to think. Supplementing with Vitamin D during the winter may therefore be one of the most effective ways to prevent colds and flu. Many researchers who’ve studied Vitamin D now recommend at least 1000 IU/day, but those with a known deficiency may be advised to supplement at even higher levels. Our #1 recommendation for cold and flu season! See NYBC’s D-3 2500IU or D3 1000IU or D3 400IU.
Cold Away. This Health Concerns blend of Chinese herbs is designed to “clear external heat and alleviate symptoms of the common cold.” A key component of this formula is the herb Andrographis, which has been studied in several US trials in the last decade, and was found to significantly decrease cold symptoms and the duration of a cold. See NYBC’s Cold Away.
Vitamin C. Many good studies have shown a decrease in cold symptom duration, but no benefit for prevention. According to a guide to natural products published by the American Pharmacists’ Association in 2006, taking between 1 and 3 grams of Vitamin C per day may decrease cold symptoms (sore throat, fatigue, runny nose) by 1 – 1 ½ days. See NYBC’s C1000 – Ascorbic Acid with Olea Fruit Extract, or C -Buffered Vitamin C (easier on the stomach), or Super C Powder.
NAC (PharmaNAC). N-acetylcysteine (NAC) supports respiratory and immune system function. It has been studied extensively for chronic bronchitis. NAC is also the antidote for acetaminophen poisoning, now the leading cause of liver disease in the USA. (Acetaminophen’s best-known tradename is Tylenol, but it’s also found in many other meds, and so it’s become all too easy to overdose. We like PharmaNAC for its quality packaging, wildberry flavor & fizz! See NYBC’s PharmaNAC.
Botanicals. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus is used for chronic respiratory infections, for colds and flu (both prevention and treatment) and for stress and fatigue. (This herb is a favorite of integrative medicine specialist Dr. Andrew Weil.) An elderberry extract and American ginseng are two other botanicals that have been studied for cold and flu symptoms in recent North American research, with some promising results. The popular Echinacea, however, has generally disappointed in cold prevention studies.