Increasing Immunity: The Vitamin C Controversy
- Reported, May 09, 2012
TX (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Right now, your immune system is hard at work trying to
protect you from diseases and infections. At the same time, doctors are hard at
work trying to figure out how to increase your immune systemís fighting power.
But is there anything you can do to boost it yourself?
You feel it coming on, a symphony of sneezes and sniffles. Donít think your safe
during the hot season, according to Cardiff University in Great Britain, summer
colds can be just as nasty as winter ones. A 2011 report says theyíre worse
because they can last longer and have a better chance of coming back. Right now
researchers are busy investigating ways to increase our immune systems to better
ward off viruses and diseases. Doctor Jeffrey Actor is studying the
immune-boosting molecule thatís naturally produced in our bodies.
"Lactoferrin has the ability to balance the immune system in a way that protects
you," Jeffrey K. Actor, Ph.D, from UTHealth Science Center in Houston, told
His plan is to one day add it to tuberculosis and flu vaccines to increase the
bodyís natural response to the infections, and give it to people in pill form
before they go in for surgeries. It could protect them from hospital-acquired
"Youíve allowed them to become more protective almost ahead of time," Dr. Actor
Doctor Actor says that will take years. So what can you do right now to give
your body a fighting chance? Weíve all heard vitamin c can help with colds but
there are some controversies. Doctor Amitava Dasgupta believes it works. He
drinks OJ when he feels a cold coming on, but a comprehensive analysis of 29
vitamin c studies shows it wonít protect most people from catching the common
cold. The study does show doses of 200 milligrams or more can slightly reduce
how long your cold lasts.
"The studies are mixed," Amitava Dasgupta, Ph.D, a professor of pathology &
laboratory medicine at UTHealth Science Center in Houston, explained.
Doctor Dasgupta takes 500 milligram capsules of vitamin c two days during a cold
but no more than that.
"It can crystalize in your kidney causing very painful stones," Dr. Dasgupta
If you donít like orange juice, a little booze might help.
"Just one glass of red wine a day can give you protection against the common
cold," Dr. Dasgupta added.
Research shows polyphenols and resveratrol in red wine stop cold and flu viruses
from multiplying in your body. As for food, garlic, oats, barley and mushrooms
can help keep your immune system healthy. Also, just relax! Stress raises
cortisol levels and makes you more prone to illness.
"Whatever you can do to lower your stress is very helpful," Dr. Dasgupta said.
Laughter really could be the best medicine. Research shows it increases the
production of anti-bodies and activates protective cells. So drink up, eat up,
chill out and laugh it up! They could be the best things to protect you from the
The federal trade commission doesnít take any companyís exaggerated health
claims lightly. In 2010, yogurt maker Dannon claimed some of its products could
help people ward of colds and flus. It settled out of court for those unproven
ads, paying 21-million dollars to 39 states involved in the federal lawsuit.