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Ways to boost immune system for summer colds

May 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Summer is right around the corner but that doesn't mean you're out of the woods when it comes to catching a cold. In fact, summer colds can actually be worse.

A 2011 report finds summer colds are worse because they can last longer and tend to return. Right now researchers are investigating ways to increase our immune systems.

Doctor Jeffrey Actor from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is studying one immune-boosting molecule.

"Lactoferrin has the ability to balance the immune system in a way that protects you," said Actor.

His plan is to one day add it to flu vaccines to increase the body's natural response to the infections and give it to people before surgeries to protect from hospital-acquired infections.

"You've allowed them to become more protective almost ahead of time," said Actor.

While this breakthrough is years away, there are things you can do right now to give your body a fighting chance.

We've all heard vitamin C can help. But a comprehensive analysis of 29 studies shows it won't protect most people from catching a cold. The study does show doses of 200 milligrams or more can slightly reduce how long your cold lasts. Or, you can try a little wine.

"Just one glass of red wine a day can give you protection against the common cold," said Doctor Amitava Dasgupta.

Research shows polyphenols and resveratrol in red wine stop cold and flu viruses from multiplying in the body.

It is also important to relax. Stress raises cortisol levels and makes you more prone to illness.

"Whatever can help you reduce your stress is very, very helpful," said Dasgupta.

Finally, laughter really could be the best medicine because it activates antibodies and protective cells.

Keep in mind, the Federal Trade Commission doesn't take any company's exaggerated health claims lightly. In 2010, a yogurt maker settled a multi-million dollar claim with the FTC because of ads containing unproven allegations that their product would help fight colds and flu.


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