Common ColdConsumer AlertHerbalsVitamins

“No credible evidence” for Airborne

Airborne, the “natural” product that claims to prevent the onset of the common cold has agreed to pay $23.3 million to settle a lawsuit over false advertising.

Airborne contains vitamins A, C, and E, and other nutrients, the amino acids glutamine and lysine, and an “herbal extract proprietary blend.”

Airborne’s problems started in 2006 when ABC News revealed that Airborne’s only study in support of their advertising was conducted without any doctors or scientists — just a “two-man operation started up just to do the Airborne study.”

After the ruse was exposed, the company stopped mentioning the study and toned down the overt cold-curing claims in favor of vague “immunity boosting” language.

There’s also a potential safety issue. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says, “Airborne may provide too much vitamin A.” Two pills provide 10,000 IU, which is the maximum safe level for a day. Yet, the package directs customers to take 3 per day.

More on studies of the individual ingredients in Airborne and their ability to treat/prevent the common cold is here.

Thanks to Terra Sigillata for the heads-up.

3/5/08 09:15 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.