(NaturalHealth365) Cold symptoms such as coughing, sleeplessness, headaches, and muscle pain can interfere with your day. Over the counter cold medicine may help you feel better, but natural remedies are actually more effective at treating cold symptoms. Plus, there’s an even greater reason to think twice about using typical cold medications.
Recent research shows certain medications may be bad for your brain. Some of the ones to be concerned about include a group of medications called anticholinergics, with brand names including Benadryl, Demerol, and Pamine.
Research reveals the scary side effects of cold medicine on the brain
One study looked at 451 individuals with an average age 73. Those whose regular medications included one or more anticholinergics had a higher risk of dementia and poorer performance on cognitive tests. They also had smaller brain volumes, compared to people who were not using these types of medicines.
The result can be an increased risk for cognitive problems including memory loss.
Another concern with these anticholinergic medications is that they also appear to slow brain glucose metabolism. Your brain uses glucose as a fuel source, and slower glucose metabolism is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The change occurs in parts of your brain that are used for memory, and lower metabolism in these areas can cause memory loss and dementia as you get older.
A smart choice: Fight colds naturally with vitamin C
Cutting back on cold medicine doesn’t mean you are left without any defense against colds. For example, vitamin C is a natural remedy that is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. This antioxidant vitamin is also one of the most popular and best studied nutrients for fighting colds.
You can get vitamin C by following a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines, strawberries, and kiwi fruit are among the fruits high in vitamin C. And, let’s not forget, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and broccoli are some of the vegetables richest in vitamin C.
Can diet (alone) give me enough vitamin C?
The short answer is ‘not always.’ While eating lots of fruits and vegetables (on a daily basis) can help – dietary supplements are often needed to obtain much higher intake levels, especially when dealing with an illness.
The resulting boost in your levels may be good news according to research showing that people with cold and flu symptoms tend to have low vitamin C levels compared to people without them. And, remember, a simple rule of thumb is: the sicker you are, the more vitamin C you need. Keep in mind, vitamin C supplements are known for their safety but, it’s always best to work with trusted healthcare provider that has experience with nutritional medicine.
Editor’s note: To learn more about how to properly take vitamin C, take a look at the “multi-C protocol” by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD
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