Hand-Washing Better than Vitamin C for Cold Prevention

According to the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), simple hand-washing can do more than Vitamin C or dietary supplements for cold prevention. In fact, high doses of vitamin C can be harmful, yet many people continue to insist otherwise.

Professor Peter Sawicki, director of IQWiG reminds us, “Not only is there no proof that some antioxidants prolong life, but there is some evidence that certain products may even lead to earlier death" - a fact we should all keep in mind as cold and flu season approaches.

Advances in research regarding the benefits of Vitamin C for cold prevention, and anti-oxidant supplements for longevity or thwarting cancer, have yielded opposing results from the earliest studies. Yet, many people continue to embrace the notion that better health comes from taking a vitamin or supplement. Professor Sawicki says, "It can be very difficult to accept that these beliefs are myths, but they are not true if further research does not confirm them or the research points to the opposite conclusion."

Rather than relying on costly, and ineffective ways to combat respiratory viruses, it may be more sensible to use simple hand-washing, proper tissue disposal, and avoidance of hand-shaking to prevent the spread of germs this winter. Remember to keep your hands away from your face – a simple practice that can greatly reduce your chances of sniffling, sneezing and coughing.

Remember to eat and sleep well. The combination of good hand-washing and good dietary habits should help all of us get through flu and cold season unscathed. Sometimes simple is just better.

Preventing colds: Washing your hands is more effective than taking vitamins

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