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Advice to eat a balanced diet may hold new meaning for people trying to fight off the common cold, as a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that taking a dietary supplement of powdered fruits and veggies eased the severity of cold symptoms in healthcare workers by as much as 20%.
In this study, 529 healthcare workers (who are, by profession, particularly susceptible to colds) were randomly assigned to four capsules of a dietary supplement (Juice Plus+® juice powder concentrates from fruits and vegetables) or placebo, daily for eight months. The participants kept a diary of cold symptoms for six months following the intervention.
Results found that the average number of days with moderate or severe cold symptoms was 20% lower in the dietary supplement group compared with the placebo group, and people in the supplement group also reported fewer days of taking cold medicine. People in either group did not have fewer colds, and there was no difference in the total number of days with any cold symptoms between the two groups.
So while the quest for a cure for the common cold continues, the authors comment, “Given the widespread utilization of concentrated dietary products, the present study has potentially important public health relevance. To our knowledge, it is the first randomized investigation focusing on the benefits of juice powder concentrate in subjects particularly exposed to patient contact.” It should be noted that this study was funded by the makers of Juice Plus. Further research on this important topic is needed.
(Br J Nutr 2011;105:118–22)
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.