Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial
Reviewer: Dr. Alan Gaby, MD
Author: Tiralongo E, et al
Reference: Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutrients 2016;8:E182.
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Participants: Three hundred twelve individuals undergoing a transcontinental flight.
Study Medication and Dosage: An elderberry extract standardized to contain 22% polyphenols and 15% anthocyanins, at a dosage of 600-900 mg per day. Treatment was begun 10 days prior to the flight and was continued for 4 to 5 days after arrival at the destination.
Primary Outcome Measures: Incidence of colds, number of days with cold symptoms, and symptom severity.
Key Findings: Compared with placebo, the elderberry extract decreased the number colds by 29% (p = 0.2), decreased the total number of days with cold symptoms by 52% (p = 0.05), and decreased mean symptom severity by 58% (p = 0.05)
Practice Implications: Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) has been used traditionally for respiratory infections, and clinical trials have confirmed its efficacy in the treatment of influenza. The results of the present study indicate that administration of an elderberry extract to air travelers can decrease the number of days with cold symptoms, decrease symptom severity, and possibly decrease the incidence of colds.