- rhinovirus as pictured above is responsible for most cold infections
- Americans spend $3 billion annually on over the counter medications for the common cold that may not provide symptom relief
- rhinoviruses require a very narrow temperature range for survival - 33- 35 degrees Celsius or 91.4 degrees - 95 degrees Fahrenheit a range fairly restricted to upper respiratory tract
- Once attached to target sites the viruses cause infected cells to produce interleukin-8 an inflammatory mediator that causes all the common signs of a cold including gland secretion
- Although evidence suggests there is no connection between exposure to cold and getting chilled, studies have demonstrated that psychological stress and allergic conditions contribute to susceptibility to infection
- Usually, the common cold will last 4-5 days from inoculation until symptoms resolve. However the infection, in people with medical conditions or smokers, can lead to further respiratory complications
- Vitamin C has been shown in some studies in doses >200mg, dosed frequently (usually about 200mg every few hours) to decrease symptom severity and length of infection but not prevent against incidence in the first place
- the verdict is also still out on zinc supplementation with studies being impeded by zinc form (zinc acetate is very poorly absorbed) and length of trial. Zinc is also limited in dosage (20mg - 30mg/day) as it can interfere with other mineral and nutrient absorption (such as copper and iron) and cause stomach upset
- N-acetylcysteine is a potent antioxidant and has been shown to be effective in decreasing inflammation in bronchitis. Subjects receiving 600mg of NAC were shown to be less symptomatic than control by a large margin. This means even if they were infected they didn't show or feel any of the tell tale signs of a cold.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, gonads and brain. This is why we need to treat stress when people constantly get immune infections. It is a stimulant for T-cell activation, a powerful anti-viral and immune enhancer. DHEA decreases with age, so in the elderly it is important to supplement. Doses of 50mg in the elderly have shown dehydroepiandrosterone to effectively help prevent colds and flu.
Please see my previous post for herbal medicines used in common cold by Naturopaths.
Yours in health