Yesterday morning, 5 am: Oh s***. I'm done for. The viral infection so potent it fells healthy 20-somethings for a week at a time, the epidemic so ubiquitous in our New York offices that it's now referred to simply as the PopSci Plague, the flu that crushes your brain and blows it through your digestive tract has finally come for me. It is my time. I can feel it: A sore throat and vague headache that are the opening salvos of a dispiriting scorched-earth campaign. It's too late to fight.
Or is it?
My girlfriend came down with this flu about two weeks ago. Since then, I've been downing a packet or two a day of Emergen-C, the fizzy powdered drink mix that contains 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C (1,667% of your recommended daily allowance) along with lots of B vitamins and other goodies. I credited it with protecting me from her strain. Now it was time for one last desperate shot—could it boost my immune system enough to stave off a sure week spent moaning in bed?
It's almost a cliché to say there are lots of conflicting reports about the efficacy of natural cold and flu remedies. The LA Times recently did a great round-up of the consensus findings about vitamin C, echinacea, zinc, ginger and the like. Verdict: eh, maybe. But my dad has always sworn by mega-doses of vitamin C, and if nothing else, the placebo effect is a helluva thing.
And so I began the regimen: One Emergen-C at 5 am. Another once I woke up (again) at 8. Another when I got to work, two more after lunch. In all, I think I must have had six or seven packets of that goodness yesterday—probably not a dosage you want to subject your body to every day, but these were trying times.
Those, plus the 11 hours of sleep I got last night, are what I'm crediting with my slow return to health today. The throat feels better, as does the head. I'm not 100 percent, but I'm moving in the right direction. At least I feel well enough to head to the PopSci mixer this evening, thrown to toast the end of the Plague.
What do you use to stave off the flu? And do you think it really works, or is it just the blessed placebo effect in action?
Is that much vitamin C even healthy?
I've read that doses under 100g a day are fairly harmless. Michael had less than a tenth of that, hence he is still alive and kicking.
What I really want to know is whether Zicam works to stave off colds. I swear by that stuff, but again, how can you prove that something prevented you from getting sick? That whole proving the negative thing is tricky.
Oh please, I thought this was supposed to be a science site? Massive doses of vitamin C do feck all to combat a cold.
Scroll to the bottom of this link for some references: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/colds.html
I'd also be interested to know just how much vitamin C your body was actually absorbing and how much was passing straight through.
If anything is helping you stay healthy it's the extra sleep.
I actually buy Emergen-C from time to time, not so much because I think it will cure my ailments, but because a little extra vitamin C in my diet can't hurt. And if you're already sick, it's not going to make you worse. As for the immune boosters, myself and a colleague have had fairly conclusive results from this stuff called Kick-Ass Immune Activator from Wish Gardens. It tastes bad (drink it with OJ), but seems to get you over the hump faster. It has echinacea, osha root and a host of other herbs and organic junk. I've not tried it with the flu, just colds (hopefully I won't have to anytime soon). I've also used Zicam a few times, and it may have made my recovery faster, but it's just hard to say for sure. I've heard Zicam has caused people to lose their sense of smell, so be wary if your olfactory glands are precious to you. Bottom line, the best two things you can do to get better are get lots of sleep and drink a ton of WATER.
I live by Emergen-C, so I have to agree that this is probably what saved you from the flu plague! 1000mg of Vitamin C is not bad for you, and I recently heard the drink also has B vitamins to give you a boost of energy(if you were drinking 3 packets a day you probably felt pretty good!). Whether you believe it works or not, it can't hurt to take it and there are so many flavors to choose from that it makes drinking water fun and not a chore to try and drink 8 glasses or more a day(you know we hardly ever drink that much). Glad to hear it worked for you, I'm such an advocate of this stuff!
Here is the thing about all the hype surrounding Vitamin-C supplements: You are mixing them with WATER! Of course you are getting the vitamins but the most important thing to remember is all the hydration you are getting when you are drinking them. Staying hydrated is one of the key factors in staying healthy besides hand washing and eating right. I do drink Emergen-C sometimes if I feel a cold coming on, but I also down at least 1-2 gallons of water a day. You drank alot of water with your Emergen-C so you should attribute that to your health success as well.
What is that homeopathic stuff, o-scillo... something?
Among the alternativists I interact with, you'd think the
stuff should be worth it's weight in platinum, and in
every doomsday survival kit.
Never seen one study on whether it works or not. Somethings
ARE better kept a secret though.