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Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Risk

Upper respitatory tract infections (URTIs) are sicknesses that mostly affect the lung and breathing capacities, and is the cause of many cold symptoms. Supplements that reduce the risk of developing URTIs are said to promote immunity.

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Human Effect Matrix

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The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies to tell you what supplements affect Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Risk.

Full details on all Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Risk supplements are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Supplement Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-a Minor High See all 14 studies
The reduction in the rate ofUPRTIs seen with echinacea as a daily supplement is highly effective in some instances, but subject to a high degree of variability. Overall, the evidence supports small-moderate efficacy, with the caveat that heterogeneity is moderate.
grade-b Minor Very High See all 16 studies
Studies overall support a modest-moderate reduction in the rate of upper respiratory tract infections overall, with greater reductions for those with low vitamin D levels. There is some evidence that daily or weekly supplementation of vitamin D is more effective than large bolus doses, and while suggestive of a benefit, it's unclear if large bolus doses themselves are meaningfully beneficial.
grade-b - See all 25 studies
When used as a prophylactic, vitamin C's effects are very inconsistent, and overall it doesn't seem to reliably reduce the risk of getting a common cold. It's possible that those undergoing extreme exercise (a known risk factor for developing colds) see a meaningful reduction in risk, however this is based on much less research and requires further study. It's unclear if other infectious diseases are affected by vitamin C supplementation.
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