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April showers bring May sniffles? Getting a cold or two is par for the course in winter. But it seems that this year people are getting more spring colds, at least in my neck of the woods. There”s nothing worse then curling up with a box of tissues and hot chicken soup just as the weather warms up enough to get outside. A recent study gives a glimmer of hope (but don”t ditch the soup just yet): EpiCor, a fermented yeast product that also contains fiber, B vitamins and minerals, was shown to help prevent the cold and flu as well as reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. In the study, half of the 112 participants took 500mg of EpiCor each day for 12 weeks of winter while the other half took a placebo.

This study did have its flaws. First, the cold and flu symptoms were evaluated on the basis of diaries kept by the participants – this methodology is a bit problematic as there”s obviously a lot of subjectivity involved. Further, more than half of the researchers involved work for the company that makes EpiCor, meaning that there”s a very good chance that the results are biased. Finally, the study itself was small.

While EpiCor appears to be safe, there need to be more independent studies done before we will know if it”s really worth buying. In the meantime, here are some additional ideas to help keep those sniffles and sneezes at bay:

  1. Chicken soup has been scientifically proven to help relieve cold symptoms
  2. Echinacea may help prevent or treat a cold.
  3. Zinc lozenges may also be beneficial.

To prevent a cold try adding some Vitamin D and yogurt into your daily diet.  Vitamin D, besides being good for your bones, may help prevent you from catching the flu. The probiotics in yogurt may also have flu fighting powers.


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About Sarah Atwood, MS, RD

Sarah is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University where she completed her dietetic internship in partnership with NYU Langone Medical Center, the NYU Pediatric Dental Clinic, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Her interests include pediatric and maternal nutrition, food policy, and sustainable food production. She is an enthusiastic cook and foodie who taught nutrition and cooking lessons with City Harvest’s Operation Frontline while in NYC. When she’s not chasing her newly mobile baby girl, Sarah enjoys exploring her new Boston neighborhood, discovering restaurants, and enjoying the occasional craft brew.

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Cold & Flu, News

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