Let's face it; nothing puts a dampener on gains like getting sick. A cold or flu can throw a real spanner in the works, when it comes to performing optimally in the gym, gaining muscle and they can leave you on the sidelines for days.
Below we are going to take a quick look at some supplements for staying cold-free.
What is a cold?
It may come as a shock, but you can't catch cold from cold weather. So all those times your mum told you to ''rug-up'', or you'll catch a cold, well she was wrong.
There are around 200 different viruses that can be the cause of what we know as the ''common cold''. The most common of these is a strain known as the Rhinovirus, which is responsible for around 80% of cases.
A cold is a virus and can only be transmitted by coming into contact with someone's body fluids who is infected with the virus, which is usually done when someone coughs and sneezes near you.
What Supplements Help?
We have all heard of the many so-called ''cures'', home remedies and preventive herbal supplements for the common cold. The main culprits often touted to stop colds in their tracks are Vitamin C, Zinc, and garlic - but is there any truth to these claims?
Vitamin C is probably the most mainstream supplement taken for preventing and reducing the severity and duration of the common cold. Despite this, very little definitive research exists on the benefits of doing so. One recent analysis of research on Vitamin C's use as a preventive supplement for the common cold, shed some light on this.
The analysis showed that consistent supplementation of Vitamin C did not stop the average joe from catching a cold. But, it did show a minor reduction in the overall duration and severity of the virus (8% in adults and 14% in children).
With that said, for those who exercise it was a different story. The analysis showed that those from athletic populations (good news for us gym-goers) had a 52% reduction in the number of colds.
While Vitamin C may help prevent you catching a cold and reduce the duration if taken consistently, Zinc show's promise as a useful supplement once symptoms have set in.
One study showed that taking 75mg of Zinc within 24 hours of cold symptoms being present, reduced the overall duration of the cold. If taking Zinc for a cold, it is suggested that you spread these doses throughout the day.
Along with Vitamin C, Garlic is often used as a go-to cold cure but is there any basis to this? It turns out there is.
Studies showed that Garlic has effects on preventing colds at high doses. Daily garlic consumption may help reduce your chances of catching a cold and the length by 70%.
Daily supplementation or sufficient food consumption of garlic can help strengthen your immune system and significantly reduce the risk of catching a cold.
When it comes to the cold, prevention is better than cure. Taking Vitamin C and Garlic may help reduce the risk of catching a cold. If you do get sick, then there is some potential benefit of Zinc supplementation.
Whilst these supplements may help, the best methods for managing sickness and preventing colds are the fundamentals. Manage stress, get enough sleep, wash your hands, stay active and most importantly eat a nutrient-dense diet (like Gym Meals Direct).