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Supplement Combination Linked to Reduction in Common Cold Symptoms

While there is no cure for the common cold, there are steps you can take to shorten the length of time you suffer from it. A recent study suggests that taking a supplement that contains zinc, vitamin C, and Pycnogenol® (French maritime bark extract) may shorten the length of colds and noticeably reduce the severity of cold symptoms.

This was a two phase study conducted by researchers at the University of Milan. The first phase included 73 healthy adults. As soon as cold symptoms appeared, 40 of the participants were given 50 mg of Pycnogenol® twice daily, while the other 33 were given only over the counter treatments.

The researchers found that the supplement group had notably shorter colds, which resulted in fewer lost working days and less time taking over the counter drugs.

The second phase of the study included 196 individuals with colds. For five days or more they participated in one of four daily interventions: 100 mg of Pycnogenol® plus 200 mg of vitamin C, 100 mg of Pycnogenol® plus 30 mg of gluconate zinc, all three supplements or placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the combination of all three supplements shortened the duration of symptoms to four days from an average of seven. All three interventions reduced the severity of cold symptoms faster than placebo.

The study was published in the September, 2013 edition of the journal Otorinolaringologia.

Pycnogenol® has been shown to help with high blood pressure, muscle soreness, osteoarthritis, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, ringing in the ears, erectile dysfunction and retinopathy. It is currently included in dietary supplements, cosmetic products, and a variety of foods and drinks.

An essential mineral, zinc has been linked to maintaining a healthy immune system, healing wounds, helping with growth, supporting the reproductive system, and better eye health. Zinc can be found in many foods, including oysters, beef, crab, fortified cereals, lobster, beans, yogurt, nuts, milk, chicken, cheese, and oatmeal.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has been linked to numerous other health benefits including heart health, brain health, eye health and improved mood. It can be found in high levels in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens such as cantaloupe, oranges, kiwis, and papaya, and in dark leafy greens such as broccoli and kale.

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