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"The mechanism of its [vitamin C] effectiveness against viral
infection, such as a common cold, is not yet known. I have,
however, formulated the hypothesis (which has not yet been tested
by experiment) that the effectiveness of ascorbic acid in
providing protection against viral diseases results from its
function in the synthesis and activity of interferon in
preventing the entry of virus particles into the cells. The
discovery of interferon was reported in 1957 by Isaacs and
Lindenmann. It is a protein that is produced by cells infected by
a virus and that has the property of spreading to neighboring
cells and changing them in such a way as to enable them to resist
infection. In this way the interferon ameliorates the disease."
"First, for good health I recommend the regular ingestion of an
adequate amount of ascorbic acid. I estimate that for many people
1 g [gram] to 2 g per day (1000 mg to 2000 mg per day) is
approximately the optimum rate of ingestion. There is evidence
that some people remain in very good health, including freedom
from the common cold, year after year, through the ingestion of
only 250 mg of ascorbic acid per day. The requirements of a few
people for ascorbic acid may be expected to be even smaller. For
some people optimum heath may require large amounts, up to 5 g
per day or more." (p. 84)
"It is wise to carry some 500-mg tablets of ascorbic acid with
you at all times. At the first sign that a cold is developing,
the first feeling of scratchiness of the throat, or presence of
mucus in the nose, or muscle pain or general malaise, begin the
treatment by swallowing one or two 500-mg tablets. Continue the
treatment for several hours by taking an additional tablet or two
tablets per hour." (p. 86)
There are several clues that light therapy might help people with
Parkinson's disease. Experiments have shown that blocking
melatonin might reduce the severity of the muscle rigidity that's
characteristic of the disease — and light therapy seems to reduce
Light therapy may also help with the depression that besets
people with Parkinson's. Australian researchers enrolled a dozen
Parkinson's patients in a light therapy study. They exposed them
to bright fluorescent light (1,000 to 1,500 lux) for an about
hour each day shortly before they went to sleep.
Then they assessed the effect of the treatment at regular
intervals. Within two weeks they observed improvement in
bradykinesia (slow movements) and rigidity. Tremors were not
affected, but the researchers did document improvements in mood,
sleep, and appetite. Light therapy also permitted the reduction
of L-dopa and other medicines without a worsening of Parkinson's
disease, according to the results published last year in a
journal called Chronobiology International.
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Icelandic and Icelandic-Canadian evidence to etiologic
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Caruso TJ et al, "Treatment of naturally acquired common colds
with zinc: A structured review," Clinical Infectious Diseases
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controlled trials of over-the-counter medicines for acute cough
in adults," BMJ (Feb. 9, 2002), Vol. 324, pp. 329–331.
There is still no cure for a cold, and cold medications have come under scrutiny and criticism. Some people may get better results taking separate medications for fever, cough, and congestion, rather than a combination product.
Used by athletes to build muscle, human growth hormone may in
fact make muscles bigger, but not necessarily stronger. HGH is
also marketed as an anti-aging treatment, but there are no data
about possible side effects from long-term use.
Seasonal affective disorder is thought to be caused by decreased exposure to sunlight during the winter months. Light therapy helps some people, and the FDA has approved the antidepressant bupropion for treatment as well.
Expectations for vitamin E's ability to protect the body against
illness and disease have not been met, but certain types of
vitamin E may have more effective antioxidant properties than
Bell's palsy is the paralysis of one side of the face caused by
inflammation of the facial nerve. Treatment with a steroidal
anti-inflammatory medication usually eliminates the condition.
Research suggests that a diet low in carbohydrates could lead to
lower levels of serotonin in the body, which in turn may cause an
increase in bad moods.
My father caught a bad case of pneumonia. He's recovered, but it
seems to have left him confused, and he uses a walker now. Before
the pneumonia he was taking Coumadin for atrial fibrillation. Now
that he's feeling better, should he start taking it again?