Last updated May 4th.
Tips I've learned over the years from books, magazines, tv shows:
Taking Vitamin C supplements at the first sign of a cold doesn't really help. It's too late at that point!
Making sure to consume lots of foods with Vitamin C and/or take a Vitamin C supplement daily CAN increase immunity, so that you never get colds in the first place.
Too much Vitamin C supplements can cause diarrhea and stomach upset, plus it's a waste of money because your body can only use so much. We're talking about 1000's of milligrams.
Speaking of 1000's of milligrams, there is a study that's shown that megadoses of Vitamin C supplements can actually have an oxidizing effect on the body--not good...free radicals, like toxins and pollutants, are oxidizers...Vitamin C is supposed to be an anti-oxidant! In the right small doses, it is a powerful antioxidant.
Stress, smoking, air pollution, taking birth control pills or other medications makes your body need more Vitamin C, so supplementing may be helpful, but talk to your doctor about what's right for you...200-500mg daily might be what they suggest.
Foods high in vitamin C: strawberries, brocolli, bell peppers, citrus fruits and more: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/foods-high-in-vitamin-c/
*VITAMIN C increases the mobility of phagocytes, the type of cell that eats bacteria, viral cells, and cancer cells, as well as other harmful foreign invaders.
People usually don't think of zinc when it comes to immunity, but in my opinion it is almost more important than Vitamin C! Zinc is very important when it comes to boosting your immune system! People usually do not get enough zinc through foods in their diet, so low zinc levels means lots of illnesses like the cold and flu.
I personally take a Cold Eeze zinc lozenge a day as a preventative (13.3 mg for one lozenge). If you take a zinc lozenge or supplement, avoid citrus fruits and products containing citric acid for 30 mins before or after taking zinc. Citric acid reduces the absorbtion of zinc. *Look for a good zinc lozenge WITHOUT citric acid as one of their ingredients!
Get zinc thru foods: pumpkin seeds, oysters, lamb, peanuts and more: http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/zinc.php
The recommended daily intake of zinc is 15 mg daily. Taking megadoses is DANGEROUS and HARMFUL, creating free radicals! Plus, megadoses of zinc will DECREASE immunity, which is the opposite of what it's supposed to do in the right amount. Do not exceed 50 mg daily thru food and supplements.