Fever is the elevation of body temperature above normal, and it varies from person to person, although “normal” generally falls within the range of 97 degrees to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, giving supplements such as echinacea, vitamin C and zinc seem to have potential in controlling fever. Giving vitamin and mineral supplements during a fever may or may not reduce the duration or symptoms.
Fever accompanies a wide range of diseases, from the common cold to other, more serious bacterial or viral infections. According to the Mayo Clinic, a fever acts as a warning that something is wrong within the body. Symptoms associated with fever include flushed face, headache, nausea, body aches, little or no appetite and occasionally diarrhea or vomiting.
Complementary and Alternative Medicines
The increased energy expenditure that occurs during a fever increases metabolism, which can increase the need for certain vitamins and minerals. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, research is ongoing to investigate the effectiveness of natural supplements to treat the common cold, fever and flu symptoms. Because vitamin A, the B complex and vitamin C are involved in the process of metabolism, deficiencies of these nutrients often arise.
Vitamin C, found in a majority of fever, cold and flu supplements, has mixed reviews. Studies proving vitamin C is effective in “treating” a fever are as varied as the number of brands of vitamin C on the market. According to MedlinePlus, vitamin C does not seem to affect a fever. However, vitamin C is thought to minimize the length of time a person has the symptoms. Increasing vitamin B complex can be beneficial because these vitamins stimulate the appetite, which is often lacking during a fever. A vitamin A deficiency makes you more susceptible to infection, so replenishing this vitamin during illness will help your immune system fight future attacks.
Taking a calcium supplement may be beneficial because of decreased absorption of this mineral during a fever. Iron should not be taken during a fever because the body’s defense mechanisms have pulled all the iron reserves, and adding more can stress the body. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, study results on zinc are inconclusive as to the effectiveness of this mineral in reducing a fever and minimizing cold symptoms. However, because zinc is not absorbed during a fever, its effect would have to occur before or after the illness.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Colds and Flu and CAM
- “Prescription for Nutritional Healing”; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2008
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin A
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin C
- MayoClinic.com: Fever