Winter Is Coming... Oh yes, and Flu Season

Hey all,

Hope you found some good information in my article regarding L-Carnitine and Cardiovascular Disease. Personally I found it pretty reassuring finding all that information, and made my next steak even more enjoyable.

I started writing this article exactly a week ago before FILEX, but because I've been busy I sort of fell behind and am only finishing it now. I had a bit of a cold and a scratchy throat last week and it got me thinking about the massive crowd that would be there in that not nearly big enough space at the Convention Centre, over the two days. And I considered just how many people there would be in the similar situation I am in. Eager to go out and do stuff, but a potential biohazard to the general population.

Granted it being a 'health expo' you would expect that the average attendee would have a better than usual immune system and possibly a better tolerance to a simple cold, yet we have myself as a prime example where thats not exactly the case. So what I'd like to quickly cover here is what can help beat a cold and beat it quick. Because theres nothing worse than someone who is promoting a healthy lifestyle, not being able to live a healthy life.


This time of year, we see an increase in the consumption of oranges and orange juice for the vitamin C content and we've always been told to get some sun when we are sick with a cold or flu, for the vitamin D("Go outside and dry your nose out" I believe were the exact words my parents would say). These are perfectly useful ideas but do not directly assist the bodies immune function. Although, what does is Zinc. Please remember, the following is research and not advice.

Zinc is an essential mineral. Its role in the immune system can be somewhat complicated to fully explain but put simply...

Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and natural killer cells.

There have been numerous animal studies that show zinc deficiency decreases resistance to infectious diseases. One example,

Zinc-deficient mice infected with T. musculi harboured > 3 times as many parasites as control mice, and this was associated with delay in production of protective antibodies.

shows in a simple way how a deficiency reduces antibodies in circulation within the body. In human trials we see a similar pattern.

Doubleblind, placebo-controlled trials of daily zinc supplementation showed that zinc... can reduce the incidence of acute lower respiratory infections by 45%

Acute Lower Respiratory Infections, are a symptom of pneumonia, which is most commonly caused by viral infection of Influenza A or B. This by association suggests that Zinc supplementation will decrease chances of influenza infection.

An article in the Journal of Family Practice covers a study conducted to see the effects of Zinc supplementation in patients who had recently contracted the 'common cold'. The study was fairly wide scope, using various forms of zinc that the body can absorb.

The researchers included only randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in which oral zinc supplementation was used for [greater than or equal to]5 consecutive days for treatment or [greater than or equal to]5 months for prevention. Studies included patients of any age, taking any dosage and any formulation of zinc.

Despite the wide scope for research, the experiment was divided into control groups to ensure an unbias result.

had a total of 996 patients in the therapeutic trials and 394 patients in the prevention trials. Participants ranged in age from 1 to 65 years.

Out of these studies, the prevention trials are most interesting. Using children aged between 6 1/2 to 10 and a dosage of 10 - 15mg daily for 5 - 7 months. Researchers found a difference of 1.8 colds per season compared to the average of 2.5.

This study shows a great reduction in cold duration and severity through the use of Zinc as a preventative measure.

review provides convincing evidence from 13 randomized placebo-controlled trials that taking zinc soon after the onset of symptoms of the common cold significantly reduces both the duration and severity of symptoms.

What both of the preceding studies show is a direct boost to the immune system, through the use of Zinc. The startling improvements we see in both studies show us that an increase of serum Zinc levels can not only shorten time of infection, and the severity of an infection but t can also reduce the risk of susceptible to the common cold and the development of other related viruses. The studies make the use of supplementation although we can find foods with high level zinc all around us. Red meats like beef and lamb, dried seeds such as pumpkin seeds and most well known for its aphrodisiac qualities... oysters. These and many more wholefoods can increase your consumption of Zinc