What Works and What Doesn't: The Verdict on Cold Remedies

Unsure what to do when the sneezing starts? Read on to get the real scoop (10 Photos)

Madelyn Fernstrom on Jan 9, 2012 at 11:26PM

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What Works and What Doesn't: The Verdict on Cold Remedies

Echinacea- James And James/Getty Images; Grapefruit- Jamie Grill/Getty Images

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Can vitamin C or Echinacea help you get over a cold faster?

While there’s been a lot of interest in the role of vitamin C and Echinacea in cold recovery, repeated studies have not shown any clear association between their intake and a speedier recovery. What’s more, Echinacea products can be problematic since these items are not currently regulated by the FDA. This situation has sometimes spurred questions of both safety and purity; these include the possible presence of filler ingredients, or processing contaminants that might be damaging to health.

Slurping down vitamin C rich orange juice and other citrus fruits while you’re sick won’t hurt, but experts say it isn’t a cure-all either. In fact, downing high doses of vitamin C (in products like supplements) can actually be a risky move since hefty amounts of the mineral (above 2000 mg a day) can spur an upset stomach and may actually interfere with the absorption of other health-enhancing vitamins and minerals, setting back a smooth recovery.

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