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Airborne a Placebo?

 Images 2008 02 29 Us Airborne
I honestly thought that the super infusion of Vitamin C from Airborne kept me from getting *really* sick last week. I guess that’s the power of positive thinking.

From The New York Times:

The following news may not astonish many of you, but feel free to quietly claim your cut: The makers of Airborne, a line of popular herbal supplements that was marketed as a “miracle cold buster,” have decided to settle the false-advertising complaints in a class-action lawsuit for $23.3 million, according to one of the plaintiffs in the suit.


March 5, 2008 - Posted by | News


  1. It’s true all the go to remedies for the common cold; Vitamin C&E, Zinc and Echinacea are useless.

    I remember watching a PBS program hosted by Alan Alda (Hawkeye Pierce from M.A.S.H.) I think the show was called “Scientific America Frontiers”.

    Here’s the transcript of the segment

    In fact, in Ron Turner’s opinion, many of the clinical trials of popular cold remedies are fatally flawed by this very problem. His list includes even that old stand-by vitamin C — and, distressingly, two of my personal favorites, zinc lozenges and echinacea. He’s tested both in carefully controlled trials like his current one, and found they don’t work.

    All right. I’ve got one left. If you kill this, I’m never going to be able to fight off a cold again. Vitamin E.

    Well, vitamin E is interesting, and we’ve looked at vitamin E as well. There’s some biologic rationale for vitamin E, and for vitamin C for that matter, in the sense that they are both anti-oxidants, and we do think that oxidative stress in the cell has something to so with production of the symptoms of the cold. And so we did a study of vitamin E, where we gave vitamin E supplements for a couple of weeks to a group of volunteers. We drew blood from ’em, we showed that the vitamin E levels in their blood were substantially higher than in the placebo group, and then we challenged them in our model with our virus and had absolutely no effect.

    So it was no good as a prophylactic, but…

    Or as a treatment.

    Or as a treatment either?


    Comment by xraytech | March 5, 2008

  2. Hand washing
    Hand washing
    Hand washing

    That’s the best defense against the common cold.


    You don’t not catch the cold after taking a shower and going out in the cold. Niether does being exposed to a very warm environment then quickly going to a very cold environment.

    Comment by xraytech | March 5, 2008

  3. I dunno. There may not be any scientific proof that these remedies work, but they’ve worked for me. I used to ALWAYS get sick from flying, but I started using Airborne and a few other herbal supplements just before I got on the plane. Haven’t caught so much as a sniffle on a plane since then.

    It could just be placebo effect – won’t rule it out. But the results are worth the few bucks I spend.

    Comment by MikeM | March 6, 2008

  4. Is there anyway that they can sell the stomach virus in pill form? Every time I’ve had it I lost 5 lbs! I figure if I get it twice this year I should finaly get down to my goal weight.

    Comment by Jim Savage | March 6, 2008

  5. Funny this shows up on the site today. I was just having an argument about Airborne at work yesterday. I’m in the “not convinced it does anything” camp, but the person I was debating with was *positive* it does work.

    Comment by Joe | March 6, 2008

  6. I am a nurse. All of us know that airborne is nothing but crap and garbage.

    Here, read this:

    This was written by the surgeon general himself (he is a doctor). If you don’t believe…I feel sorry for you.

    Comment by Hugh Laurie (real nurse) | July 28, 2009

  7. Super interesting post. Honestly!

    Comment by Terri Mcclendon | May 27, 2010

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