Today’s Prompt: Smoke. More about food labels – immunity boosters

Who doesn’t want to boost their immune system? Most everyone which is exactly what food industry put to life in marketing. Looks like just about any product has to do with boosting immune system due to the vitamin content. But this is mostly blowing smoke. These words are sometimes used to give an aura of health to a product that may or may not deserve it.

Companies that do that walk a fine line. If they start making medical claims, FDA and FTC are going to take a close look. This is exactly what happened to the company that makes Airborne, a supposedly vitamin and mineral containing product. This product was marketed as being designed in the 1990s by a second-grade school teacher that appealed to a lot of people. It sounded like a local production, almost as if your next door neighbor made it versus the Big Pharma. Besides, the mere fact that it was made by a teacher, carries a certain degree of an authority.

The Airborne label stated that it could “boost your immune system” and prevent colds. However since this product was marketed as a dietary supplement and not a drug, it wasn’t subject to the mandatory testing and research like the drugs are. There was one lone research effort but that turned out to be a two-person project sponsored by Airborne and not available for anyone to see it. In February 2006, ABC News discovered that the company has no official clinic, scientists, or even doctors. Subsequently, all references to said study were removed from the product packaging and website.


In 2008, The Airborne agreed to settle a $23.3 million in a class-action lawsuit by FTC over false advertising.  In the complaint, FTC stated that “there is no competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the claims made by the defendants that Airborne tablets can prevent or reduce the risk of colds, sickness, or infection; protect against or help fight germs; reduce the severity or duration of a cold; and protect against colds, sickness, or infection in crowded places such as airplanes, offices, or schools.” It further states that the company has “made false claims that Airborne products are clinically proven to treat colds.”

The multimillion-dollar penalty, however, didn’t put an end to Airborne. They simply switched gears and instead of promoting to prevent colds, the concoction now claims to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression by, you guessed it, boosting the immune system. Airborne company continues making the same old claims on their website. Their product allegedly “helps support your immune system” and is “crafted” with a total of “14 vitamins, minerals and herbs”, whatever that means.

The problem is that all the vitamins that Airborne contains, come from food sources. The website lists 3 vitamins, C, E, and A.

Vitamin C for once is water-soluble meaning it isn’t stored in the body, versus some others like A, D, E, and K.   High Vitamin C foods include bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwis, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas.


One medium strawberry contains 7 mg of Vitamin C. A large orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper or broccoli provides enough vitamin C for the day. Any extra vitamin C will simply be flushed out of your body in your urine.

Some animals such as goats make their own Vitamin C but this is another story.

The RDA (recommended dietary allowances) of Vitamin C for adults is 75 to 90 mg a day. A healthy diet provides an adequate amount of Vitamin C. Believe it or not, there is such thing as too much of Vitamin C (toxicity). The symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, bloating, upset stomach, heartburn, headache, insomnia and kidney stones.

Basically the same is true for the rest of the vitamins listed, except that Vitamins E and A are fat-soluble, meaning they are stored in the body, mainly in the liver and fat tissue which makes it easier to develop toxicity if too much of said vitamins are stored.  More definitely doesn’t mean better.

Bottom line:  eat your vegetables, and fruits, too.  You’ll get all the vitamins you need.

Inspired by The Daily Prompt:  Smoke

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3 Responses to Today’s Prompt: Smoke. More about food labels – immunity boosters

  1. Pingback: Featured Posts – Share Your Post Links | a cooking pot and twistedtales

  2. Anna says:

    Good for you! I like that Italian saying 🙂


  3. One doesn’t need vitamin C supplements if one eats a bit of fresh vegetables or fruit. The vitamins and supplements industry is a big business bent in making as much money as possible at the expenses of gullible hypochondriac consumers. As you rightly say extra vitamin C is expelled by the body and some vitamins such as D and A can be very toxic and even lethal if taken in excess. My C vitamins come from just a couple of fruits a day such pears, kiwis, prickly pears, tangerines or whatever is in season that I like. For me this intake is more than enough and I’m as fit as a fiddle and as healthy as a fish as we say in Italy.

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