Opinions concerning zinc and vitamin C common cold remedies vary. Some studies support their use, while others conclude that they are ineffective.
Most in the news, these days, is a zinc nasal gels and zinc lozenges, which reduce the duration of symptoms in some people. For years, vitamin C common cold remedies were all the rage. Some experts say that you can get too much vitamin C and too much zinc. Others say that vitamin supplementation is unnecessary. Those who are pro-supplementation say that they are interested in optimal good health and that those against supplementation are only interested in health that is marginally better than being malnourished.
The facts, which cannot be disputed, are that both zinc and vitamin C common cold remedies may be helpful in getting rid of common cold symptoms. Both are necessary for human health. Both are important for proper immune system function. Both have been shown in clinical studies to reduce duration of cold symptoms. Both have been shown to reduce the number of colds that a person experiences per year. The question and debate concerns the appropriate amount.
The U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 60-95 mg per day. However, if you are interested in preventing or getting rid of common cold symptoms, vitamin C intake may need to be higher.
A recently concluded study, five year study of 439 participants in a village in Akita, Japan, concluded that in those people who received 500 mg per day of vitamin C, common cold frequency was significantly reduced.
The Nobel prize-winning biochemist Linus Carl Pauling advocated the use of 6000 to 18000 mg per day, but this recommendation is considered unorthodox by conventional medicine.
Mega doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea and anyone who is beginning a vitamin C regimen should note if symptoms of diarrhea appear and reduce dosages accordingly.
Two double blind, placebo controlled clinical trials appear to prove that zinc nasal gels, specifically the over the counter product called Zycam, can get rid of common cold symptoms in a matter of days. The gel must be used within the first 24 hours after symptoms are noticed. In those participants who were given the zinc, symptoms were gone in as little as two days. Those who received the placebo exhibited symptoms for as long as two weeks.
Other studies contradict these findings, saying that zinc does not get rid of common cold symptoms in a significantly reduced amount of time. In fact one study concludes that it is unethical to recommend a substance that could cause a permanent loss of smell for treating a temporary discomfort, such as a common cold. A number of people, who lost their sense of smell after using Zycam to get rid of common cold symptoms, sued the company. The company settled out of court without admitting fault. The risk of losing the sense of smell associated with zinc nasal gels is not associated with zinc dietary supplements or zinc lozenges.
An overabundance of zinc in the diet, for extended periods of time, can inhibit the body's ability to absorb iron and copper, which could lead to anemia. A lack of zinc in the diet can lead to hair loss, skin lesions and diarrhea. If the zinc deficiency is allowed to continue, death can result.
A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to muscular weakness, bleeding gums, low infection resistance, loss of appetite and nosebleeds, among other things. Vitamin C common cold remedies are not believed to have any serious side effects, other than diarrhea, if daily amounts are far greater than the individual needs. Most cases of zinc overdose have occurred in children and dogs that swallowed a number of US pennies minted after 1982. Rather than copper, US pennies minted after this date are composed mostly of zinc.
There are several herbs and other plant products that may help you get rid of common cold symptoms.
Herbalists still support the use of Echinacea, both for preventing and treating a cold. Some studies indicate that Echinacea can be toxic to the liver, when taken over an extended period of time. Andrographis paniculata, green tea, piperine, olive leaf, and turmeric all have clinical studies supporting their safety and effectiveness at boosting the immune system, possibly reducing the frequency of colds and other viruses.
Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience as a healthcare professional and currently writes informational articles for the Immune System Booster Guide. To learn more about the common cold, influenza and other viruses, as well as natural immune system boosters.