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Lactoferrin and whey are proteins found in cow and human milk, and both are believed to affect immune function. Lactoferrin in particular plays a role in immunity in the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract. Given that cold viruses often make their way into our bodies through these areas, it is logical that supplementing your diet with lactoferrin and whey may help ward off the common cold and its worst symptoms.
For this study, researchers randomly selected 126 healthy adults to receive a 600 mg lactoferrin-whey dietary supplement or no active ingredients (placebo) once daily for 90 days. The study participants did not know the group to which they were assigned, and they were similar in terms of age, body mass index (weight adjusted for height), and diet and physical activity habits. Approximately 89% of the treatment group and 83% of the placebo group completed the full, 90-day study.
Compared with the placebo group, the lactoferrin-whey supplement group developed significantly fewer colds (48 vs. 112), and reported significantly fewer cold-related symptoms during the study period.
This study was small and of short duration, but still, it points to a relatively simple thing that may help keep the common cold—and its annoying sniffles, sneezes, coughs, and sore throats—at bay. Plus, the study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the gold standard of research, which is considered the only type of study that can prove cause and effect.
Our tips and cold-quashing ideas can help you stay healthy the next time the common cold is making the rounds:
(Complement Ther Med 2013;21:164–171)