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With oldman winter approaching many of us are concerned about falling victim to coldsand flu. According to the CDC the mosteffective way to combat the flu is with the vaccine. The vaccine is controversial for two reasons. First the vaccine contains thimerosal, whichis a mercury based preservative. Secondly, the vaccine often doesnt match the strain of flu for thatparticular season. A study has shownthat a well-matched vaccine may prevent pneumonia and decrease hospitaladmission rates due to pneumonia and flu.

Researchhas shown the flu vaccine didnt help decrease deaths from the flu. We simply acquired normal immunity to theemerging strain of flu. With this inmind, many people are looking for natural ways to prevent viruses. These natural remedies include garlic, tea,vitamin C, echinacea and zinc.

Garlic hasbeen used for 5,000 years and has antibiotic properties and affects our generalimmunity. Two groups of people weretested and had garlic supplements and the other did not. The group that had the garlic supplements hadsymptoms lasting 1.52 days while the non garlic group had cold symptoms lasting5 days.

Green andblack teas have been studied for their effect on cancer and the cardiovascularsystem. A recent Harvard study showedthat people who drank 5 cups of black tea for 2 to 4 weeks increased theirlevels of an important immune defense hormone called interferon up to fourtimes its normal level. The same amountof coffee showed no effects at all. L-Theanine a substance in tea was shown to fight bacteria, infection,viruses and fungi. But you must be awareto much can cause diarrhea, insomnia, dizziness and headaches.

Vitamin Chas been widely researched. Some studiessuggest vitamin C can influence the duration and severity of symptoms ofrespiratory infections. Other studiessuggest it can reduce susceptibility to colds. The results of one study, which compared 29 clinical trials, concludedthat vitamin C helped people recover from their colds faster and reduced theseverity of their symptoms. People withkidney disease should not take vitamin C.

Echinaceahas been popular in the treatment of colds. One study found no clinically significance effects on the commoncold. Critics of this study state that 900mg per day was too low a dose. Echinaciamay lead up to abdominal upset, nausea and dizziness. People with auto immune conditions or HIVshould not take echinacia. Zinc lozengesis a home remedy for fighting viruses. Ihave used this method personally to help minimize a sore throat. This is another product that has had someconflicting reports. But one studyshould school aged children had fewer colds and shorter cold duration whentaking zinc gluconate glycine. You mustbe aware of long tern use of zinc. Longterm use has been linked to impairment of the bodys immune response, decreaselevels of HDLs (good) cholesterol in the blood and can lead to a copperdeficiency.

Otherremedies include stress management, acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. The preliminary results of an ongoingchiropractic study shows that the chiropractic adjustments may increase immunoglobin A levels and decreases glucocorticoid levels which is a majorcomponent of stress.