A Few Things That Are Presumed To Be A Remedy For A Cold Do They Honestly Work? Health and Wellness

A Few Things That Are Presumed To Be A Remedy For A Cold  Do They Honestly Work?  Health and Wellness

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A Few Things That Are Presumed To Be A Remedy For A Cold Do They Honestly Work?

Posted by HealthInfo Posted on 09-02-2009

1. Zinc. The mineral zinc, sold as over-the-counter cough drops, nasal sprays, and gels, possibly work by preventing the assembly of proteins necessary for a normal cold virus to reproduce.

Despite all the hoopla about zinc for treatment of a normal cold, scientific studies are minimal. Its said that only 14 published studies that researched zinc the scientific way, with both placebo and treatment groups. They say zinc cough drops, dont have any effect. One well-designed research said there was a positive effect on treating a normal cold with zinc nasal gel. But the study results have not yet been replicated.

2. Vitamin C. For many years, supporters of vitamin C have said using this vitamin supplement can end a cold. The belief is partially triggered by research that find vitamin C affects resistance to virus in animal studies.

But in human beings? Researchers disagree on this slightly but lean toward the negative. Some say vitamin C has not been proven to decrease the time of a normal cold. One 2007 scientific study showed that if vitamin C is taken after a cold begins, it doesnt decrease the cold or make it less severe. But when it is taken daily as a preventive treatment, not just after that first sneeze, it can very slightly decrease cold duration, by about 8% in adults and by about 14% in children.

Very athletic people, marathon runners, for instance, might cut their risk of a normal cold in half by taking the vitamin, the study also showed.

But Dr. Gwaltney does not agree. The extensive evidence and the well-done studies prove that vitamin C does not keep us from getting colds, says Gwaltney. It may have some mild effect on treating colds.

3. Echinacea. The herbal supplement echinacea, like Vitamin C, sparks argument among cold scientists. Advocates say its an immune builder with antiviral properties and other benefits, so its good at preventing colds. However, two recent studies on the natural remedy have yielded conflicting conclusions. In one 2007 scientific study, University of Connecticut researchers concluded that echinacea decreases the odds of developing a normal cold by 58% and reduces its duration by 1.4 days. But a previous study, conducted by Gwaltneys colleagues at the University of Virginia and published in 2005 in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed no benefit from the herb in either reducing the severity of a cold infection or preventing a normal cold.

Echinacea drew a no vote from our three experts Gwaltney, Blandino, and Owen Hendley, MD, professor of pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Virginia, Charlottesvile.

4. Chicken Soup. Advocates of hot chicken soup, forever as a cold treatment, say it may help soothe inflammation that can make the symptoms worse.

The problem with proving scientifically that chicken soup actually works, says Gwaltney, is finding a legitimate placebo food to research against it in a scientific manner. We were contacted by a soup corporation to do a study on chicken soup, he explains. We thought we could use another hot liquid for placebo, he says. But its got to be just [like chicken soup]. They didnt find anything that did the job. Gwaltney calls chicken soup a waste of time.

Thats despite the well-publicized report published in 2000 in which researchers reported that chicken soup, which they studied in the laboratory, may have an anti-inflammatory effect on easing symptoms of upper respiratory infections. But the report doesnt prove chicken soup does anything for cold symptoms, Gwaltney says, because it didnt include a test of people nor include a placebo for comparison.

Although chicken soup may not actively treat a cold, it can help to prevent dehydration that can occur when you have a normal cold or the the flu.

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