Does Airborne Work to Help Boost Your Immune System?


Does Airborne really work?If you’ve ever gotten sick after taking a flight, you might have considered taking Airborne for your next trip. It was all the rage for a while and then met with much criticism that it didn’t work and was over-hyped. But was it worth the hype, or were the naysayers right?

Overview
Following on the heels of Vitamin C lozenges that people would take at the first sign of a cold, Airborne used a clever marketing strategy to convince travelers that they could help them feel better on and after flights.

The Claim
Airborne hints that you can prevent yourself from getting sick in crowded places like airplanes, airports, buses, workplaces, etc. The trick is they don’t come right out and state that you’ll be able to prevent yourself from getting sick, as this would be a violation of FDA regulations.

They do lead you to believe that you’ll be better off by taking their product before entering these types of places.

Despite their savvy marketing most people take Airborne because they think that it will keep them safe from germs and colds when they’re trapped in an environment with lots of other people. It gets its name from being up in an airplane, as many people feel they are breathing recycled air, and sharing the same air as a few hundred other people all coughing, sneezing, and breathing into it.

This strengthens the misconception that many fliers have that airplanes are toxic environments and havens for germs. This is a myth that has been debunked by experts for many years. Airlines use state-of-the-art HEPA filtration to keep the air clean in an airplane. If you need any further proof, you would see many flight attendants and pilots come down with colds on a regular basis, but they don’t suffer from anything other than jet lag.

The Hype
Everyone seemed to jump on board with this product and it enjoyed a large amount of sales in its heyday, earning the creator a hefty sum of cash that they’re probably still operating with. After several news stories came out, as well as a scathing article in Scientific American, people changed their tune and apparently stopped buying. The website for the company still exists and you can still purchase it at your local drug store.

Because it’s a smaller company there’s no way to tell how they are doing, or how long they’ll be staying in business. By making so much money in such a short amount of time they could keep operating for years without earning a profit. They do seem to keep adding to their product line, so there must still be some demand from a core group of firm believers.

The Cost
Airborne doesn’t cost very much, and they encourage using their product repeatedly in order to get repeat business. To make it even cheaper you can get a coupon for $1.50 off your next purchase. It’s currently going for $6-7 at WalMart.

The Commitment
There’s not much commitment involved, just take the tablet in either chewable form, or the original tablet that requires dissolving it like an Alka-Seltzer into a glass of water. After that they recommend that you continue taking it every three hours as needed.

Evaluation
If it will make you feel more secure by taking large doses of vitamins before getting onto an airplane, it may be a good idea for some. There’s nothing bad for you in Airborne per se, but that doesn’t mean it works, and that doesn’t mean you should take it just for the heck of it.

Does Airborne Really Work?

The scientific evidence is lacking that Airborne actually does what it is designed to do. There may be a placebo effect if you take it believing that it will work. Many times a placebo effect can be just as powerful as a pharmaceutical drug, so it’s not a complete write-off.

Our Recommendation
Don’t buy into this quick-fix mentality of Airborne. A healthy lifestyle that you follow every day will provide a much bigger boost to your immune system than just popping an Airborne the day of your travel. If the immune system were so instantly malleable we’d be able to tinker with it as we see fit. A mix of healthy eating, exercise, and whole food supplements that contain all of your required nutrients is the best way to avoid getting sick, regardless of where you are.

What do you think? Does Airborne really work?


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

X-man January 17, 2012 at 9:20 am

I bought Airbourne last year, not reading what it was, just knew it was supposed to help with sickness on flights etc.
If it was anymore money i’d have taken it back to complain, but for the price it was not worth my time.
I felt no different on my flight and still managed to pick up a sore throat after it!

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sara March 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I don’t care who says what I bought it not knowing a thing i was actually advised to buy emergen-c and I could only find this.. so i tried it and my girlfriend told me the emergen-c works better the airborne wont work and it did work! like a miracle or something!! I also know how to cure myself with garlic tea very powerful healing, but this was better and did wonders with 1500mg of vitaminc how can u go wrong?

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Denise November 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

We have two people in our office who have been extremely sick with the flu and I was also starting to feel like I was getting ill, so I bought the Airborne and had three doses yesterday and one today so far and I haven’t gotten any worse. It worked for me last year. I’m a believer in this product.

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Anna November 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Honestly I swear by the product! As a busy mother of 3 I dread when my kids come down with a cold..not just for them but for me…I usually get it last and worst! I don’t believe that the product prevents colds, however I do believe that it shortens the length and severity of it. As soon as I feel the symptoms coming on I start on the chewables and take it religiously. The cold unlike my kids never gets me to the point of having to be bedridden and I last at least 2-3 days less of being sick. For me it’s well worth the money.

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tnichols December 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I see their commercials on T.V. as soon as they start talking about all of the “special” erbs and the “blast” of vitiman C, I know this is just a load of B.S. There is not a shed of scientific proof that this stuff will boost your imune system, and yet, here they are on T.V. hawking this stuff…….isn’t that called….consumer fraud? Oh….I forgot. People actually think that companies advertising product must be truthful….Nope! By the way, I have not had a bad cold for at least (15) years. I boost my imune system the old fashion way, through proper diet and excersize and getting the right amount of sleep.

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Barb July 9, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I tried Airborne while teaching special education in a high school setting. Most of my students were self-contained and when one kid had a cold, we all caught it. I was very disappointed that Airborne didn’t help me from being sick. At a doctor’s appointment, my doctor advised me to add Vitamin C to my diet, drink a glass of orange juice every morning, and eat plenty of fruits and veggies. He said if I followed his recommendations, it would protect my immune system much more that Airborne. I think like most anything else, Airborne alone won’t boost a person’s immune system. You need to thoroughly wash your hands throughout the day, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy foods.

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pgcorky February 10, 2013 at 3:36 am

I love that I took airborne and it also totally kept away all elephants.

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LS July 10, 2013 at 2:30 am

I have found that a better alternative to Airborne is taking an all-natural tincture of Echinacea, which is an herb known for stimulating the immune system. As soon as you start feeling any signs of illness, you have to take this herb so that it can get to work. If you wait too long, it won’t really help. Airborne contains ingredients that are artificial and that don’t do your body any good. I used it a few times and didn’t see the same results that I do with Echinacea. I agree that it could be a placebo effect for some people, or perhaps it’s the high dose of vitamin C, which you can also purchase at a cheap rate at any pharmacy.

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Vanessa B. July 13, 2013 at 6:49 am

I agree. I take echinacea and goldenseal when I start feeling a cold coming on, or when someone in my family is sick and I’m afraid I’ll catch it. I also take vitamin C in these cases.

I did try a free sample of airborne before. They sent a full tube of it which was nice. The flavor is not bad, could be better. Since it was only a free sample, I don’t think I can confidently rate it since I didn’t take it regularly. Like Barb’s doctor advised her, though, I think actual foods that provide vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients are better and more effective than supplements.

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Kelly K. July 10, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Airborne is basically the same thing as Emergen-C: a ridiculously high dose of vitamin C, around 1000%. I’m surprised at the hype that both products received, especially since any excess vitamin C that your body can’t use ends up in your urine. Even if you’re already sick or about to be, whether your illness is flight-related or not, you get about the same effect from two glasses of real orange juice. I could understand taking this if you’re on a strict diet and can’t afford the calories of juice, but real juice is cheaper and if you’re sick you’ll need the calories and hydration anyway. It does work, but you don’t need to take nearly as high a dose as is recommended, so it’s not worth the hype, or the cost.

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Josh B July 14, 2013 at 12:54 am

I was recommended that by a co-worker prior to taking a flight overseas. She told me that because of Airborne she was the only one who didn’t end up sick during her entire trip. It looks like it might help in some situations but I’m definitely skeptical of buying it though. Especially if I can the benefits elsewhere such as eating an orange. Especially since too much of anything is bad! So when I travel again I’ll just take vitamin C while staying hydrated and I should be fine before I travel.

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Mike Doherty July 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm

One thing you should get straight about this product is that you should not take it everyday. Airborne contains huge amounts or vitamin C and other good stuff kind of compounds, but your body can only absorb so much at a time. Most of it will run right through you and end up useless. It can also put your system through a workout processing it and be detrimental. But it does have a use. Developed by a school teacher (who was also a chemist or something?), this can provide a temporary boost to your immune system. If you fell run down or a cold coming on, this could help get you over the hump. Just don’t take it all the time.

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RL August 4, 2013 at 3:28 am

My doctor told me to start taking Airborne because I am so low on my iron and vitamins. I take Airborne along with my daily vitamin and iron and I feel great. It is loaded with Vitamin C which I need anyway, but I haven’t been sick with any flu for two winters. I work with the public and was always getting sick. I think it works great!

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