(NaturalHealth365) Every year, millions of people heed the barrage of dire warnings and make their annual pilgrimage to a local clinic, pharmacy or community center to become inoculated against seasonal influenza. By the time winter begins to fade a few months later, over half the U.S. population will have received a flu vaccine. Yet, many will still suffer side effects, some of them quite severe.
Meanwhile, the market for over-the-counter pharmaceuticals geared toward countering symptoms of the common cold has climbed to an astonishing $8 billion annually, according to business research firm IBISWorld. Yet, a recent study by University of Florida researchers found that the primary decongestant included in these medications is no more effective than a placebo.
Safe alternatives to dangerous medications
A 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that older adults receiving the flu vaccine were just as likely to seek medical attention for flu symptoms as those not receiving the vaccine. Research on pharmaceuticals marketed to cold and flu sufferers often show lack of effectiveness and high risk of side effects. Often, in the rush to get these drugs to market, safety can take a backseat.
But there is better news. The growing demand for natural dietary supplements to combat cold and flu symptoms has led to extensive research revealing the effectiveness of large doses of vitamin C in preventing and relieving such symptoms.
Editor’s note: The NaturalHealth365 Store offers the finest quality vitamin C powder on the market. To learn more about the proper way to take vitamin C – read about the “multi-C protocol” written by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD
In a study led by Dr. H. Clay Gorton, D.C., and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 1999, more than 800 students were divided into control and test groups. Investigators then tracked the number of reports of cold and flu symptoms within each group.
Those reporting systems in the control population were administered pain relievers and decongestants, while those suffering symptoms in the test group were treated with doses of 1,000 mg of vitamin C hourly for the first six hours and then three times daily thereafter. Those in the test group, not reporting symptoms, still received 1,000-mg doses of vitamin C – three times a day.
Reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group following treatment with vitamin C were a whopping 85 percent lower when compared to the control group. Researchers concluded that vitamin C – in megadoses – administered either before or after the start of cold or flu symptoms successfully relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group.
Building a healthy immune system is the key to success
The secret to vitamin C’s success in combatting and preventing symptoms of flu and colds lies primarily with its ability to greatly boost the immune system.
“One fact that all doctors and all lay persons agree on is that a strong immune system is key to recovering from an infection, neutralizing and eliminating a toxin, and bringing diseased cells back to a state of good health,” says Dr. Thomas Edward Levy, M.D., J.D. Dr. Levy is a board-certified cardiologist and has written six books on vitamin C benefits and other health-related issues.
You may be wondering: “What’s the ‘magic’ behind vitamin C?”
While vitamin C is probably best known as a powerful antioxidant, research has also shown it directly supports and stimulates a number of very important functions of the immune system. Immune cells have active vitamin C transporter molecules embedded in their membranes that vigorously pump the vitamin into the cells – especially when more vitamin C is required like under stressful situations.
When inflammation or infection occurs – such as with colds or flu – those special transporters ramp up their activity to provide enough vitamin C to the cells’ inner workings. This is why blood levels of vitamin C drop during times of disease or infection.
Obviously, a health crisis can create a potentially vicious cycle in which, just when you need extra vitamin C, your body’s stores are depleted. Which is why it only makes perfect sense to increase one’s intake of vitamin C when sick.