Airborne Barred From Saying the Product Treats Colds and Flu

airplaneAirborne Health, which makes a top-selling product marketed as a cold prevention and treatment remedy, will pay $7 million to settle false advertising claims leveled by 32 states attorney generals, and the District of Columbia.

The settlement also bars the company from claiming that any of its products fight germs, treat cold symptoms or prevent colds, flu and infections, unless it can back up those claims with "reliable and competent scientific evidence."

The company issued a statement denying wrongdoing, and said that it settled the claims to "close the book on these legal and regulatory issues." It continues to market the product as a dietary supplement that "supports" the immune system.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
For those who aren’t familiar with Airborne, it’s a popular “herbal” remedy used largely by professionals who travel frequently by air. Because Airborne is sold as a dietary supplement, it cannot claim to cure or treat any disease (the FDA only allows drugs that honor that), which is why it can no longer be marketed as a cold prevention or treatment remedy.

Well, this is really nothing new, as the FDA and other public health agencies have been targeting supplement makers for some time, claiming it’s all in the interest of public safety. But it doesn’t take much investigation to realize what’s really going on: the FDA isn’t interested in protecting you -- they’re interested in protecting the pharmaceutical industry.

And in doing so, they are intimidating, censoring and threatening to imprison supplement companies that attempt to explain the health benefits of their products.

I’m all for protecting supplement maker’s freedom to truthfully represent their products, however it should be noted that I’m not a fan of Airborne at all. Their products contain sucralose (Splenda), one of the toxic artificial sweeteners featured in my book Sweet Deception.

Interestingly, if you type in Airborne and sucralose in Google this is the number one link on the Web for this association.

Besides, supporting your immune system -- which is indeed a key to preventing colds and flu -- is not something that can be done solely by taking a supplement.

Does Flying Increase Your Risk of Colds and Flu?

One reason why Airborne became so popular was because it was marketed as something you could take prior to a flight to help you stay healthy. In the last two decades, airplane manufacturers have elevated air re-circulation levels to as high as 50 percent of all cabin air in an effort to reduce the engines' workload, thus increasing the planes' fuel-efficiency.

But does this “used” air that is recycled throughout the cabin actually increase your chances of getting sick?

Not likely, according to a University of California, San Francisco study that found recycled air on short-term flights is no more likely to cause colds than flights using fresh air. The researchers interviewed 1,100 passengers before and one week after an approximate two-hour flight and reported that the levels of those with colds and colds with runny noses were virtually the same between recycled air and fresh air flyers.

As always, it is the competency of your body's own immune system that determines whether or not you will get sick. The infectious bacteria and viruses that may circulate around an airplane cabin are merely triggers for an already weakened immune system.

So while simply flying on an airplane will not necessarily increase your chances of getting sick, it still makes sense to keep your immune system at its full functioning capacity (especially since you’ll be facing extra stress as you make your way through airport security!).

The Best Method to Prevent Colds and Flus That I Know Of

Getting appropriate amounts of sunshine (or taking a vitamin D supplement when you can’t get healthy amounts of sun exposure) is one of my KEY preventive strategies against the cold and flu, as it has such a strengthening effect on your immune system.

It has been known since at least 1926 that vitamin D can significantly reduce respiratory infection, colds, and flu. The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.

So if you are low in this crucial “sunshine vitamin,” your defenses will definitely be impaired.

While regular sun exposure is the best way to get your vitamin D, for many of you reading this right now it is winter and sunlight is scarce -- so you will need to use a safe tanning bed or take oral supplements to get your vitamin D.

For those in the winter with no or very limited exposure to sunshine, 4,000-5,000 units of a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement per day would seem appropriate for most adults. If you are very heavy you may need to double that dose, and for children the dose can be half that.

The key though is to make sure you monitor your vitamin D levels by blood testing to make sure your levels are therapeutic and not toxic.

If you haven’t optimized your vitamin D levels and you do get sick you can also use vitamin D therapeutically to TREAT the flu.

But please understand that if you are taking the above doses of vitamin D the odds of you getting the flu are VERY remote. The dose of vitamin D you can use would be 2,000 units per kilogram of body weight (one pound is 0.45 kg), taken once a day for three days. This can be about 50,000 units of vitamin D a day for three days depending on your body weight.

More Natural Methods to Support Your Immune System

If you would like to give your immune system all the extra help it can get, there are eight tips (along with optimizing your vitamin D levels) that I strongly recommend you make a habit of:

1. Eat right for your nutritional type
2. Eliminate sugar from your diet
3. Eat garlic regularly
4. Consume a high-quality krill oil daily
5. Exercise
6. Get adequate sleep
7. Address emotional stress
8. Wash your hands regularly (but not excessively)

+ Sources and References