There may not be a cure for the common cold, but there are many supplements and vitamins you can take to help you deal with it. NY1's Jill Urban looked at which ones work and which ones don't in the following report.
Sniffles, sneezes, aches and cough. Winter is near, and that means cold season is upon us.
Many people will turn to vitamins and supplements to ease and shorten the misery of a cold. But do they really work? There's not a lot of science behind most them, and NY1 looked at some of the more common ones and asked Drs. Steven Lamm and Roberta Lee if we should take it or leave it.
"Zinc has been shown, actually, to reduce the severity, sometimes by one or two days, when used early on, and used as a lozenge, primarily," Lamm says.
Echinacea is another common cold go-to. Some say that it can help boost the immune system, but there's little data to support it.
The same goes for Vitamin C. People are often told to use Vitamin C to fed off a cold, but it’s not as good as you may think.
"The evidence is not too great for curing or preventing the common cold," Lee says. "It does work for people that are in extreme environments, in other words, if you're a mountain climber or you're working in the Arctic zone."
The vitamin that can have a big impact is Vitamin D. While it might not prevent or shorten a cold, it boosts your immune system, which would help your body fight it off.
"Winter's coming. We're not going to get enough sun exposure. Your Vitamin D levels will be low," Lamm says. "Vitamin D is really important for your immune system. It's a good idea, even if there's very little data that it prevents you from getting the cold."
Ginseng is another one people look for to battle a cold, but experts say ginseng will more likely boost your energy level than you immune system.
So what should we take?
"Astragalus boosts the immune system," Lee says. "It can help fight off viral illnesses. "You can find it in capsules, and you can also put it in soups.
Lamm cites a recent study that suggests the French Maritime pine bark Pycnogenol, mixed with zinc and vitamin C, could reduce the duration of a cold.
You should always check with your doctor before taking any supplements, but no matter what we take, the only things guaranteed to ease the common cold are rest and time.