Did you know that over the counter (OTC) cold remedies do little to combat an illness and might even make you sicker? The drugs found in OTC cold medicines act to suppress the normal immune function of the body and inhibit your ability to detect your symptoms. While this might make for a better night’s sleep, it is also likely to prolong your cold and lead to harmful long term consequences.
A cocktail of artificial ingredients, the popular cold medicine Nyquil® is a whopping twenty-five percent alcohol, which, by volume, contains five times more alcohol than the average beer and over twice the amount of the average glass of wine! Let’s just stop there and consider the addiction potential from the alcohol content alone. There are many instances of teenagers and adults starting down the dark road to an alcohol/drug addiction by frequent use of a cold medicine containing a high alcohol percentage. You can read one young woman's very honest struggle with cold medicine addiction here.
Coal-based dyes are mixed with synthetic sugars to give it a palatable color and taste that acts as a delivery system for what is commonly known as ‘medicine.’ The active ingredients are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan HBr, doxylamine succinate, and phenylephrine HCl. While all of these ingredients are included for different purposes and each has unique properties, they ALL increase the risk of seizures and muscle convulsions.
Found in many different OTC medicines, acetaminophen functions as a pain reliever and fever reducer. A fever is one of many immune responses that your body uses to rid itself of potentially dangerous invading organisms. While fevers can be uncomfortable, they are rarely dangerous unless a more serious underlying cause is to blame. In addition to stopping an important immune response, acetaminophen is extremely hard on the liver and continued use can quickly lead to irreversible liver disease.
One of the most annoying elements of any cold is the dreaded cough that comes with it. However, just like a fever, a cough has a very important immune function to help you return to health as quickly as possible. Your body uses mucous secretions to expel toxins, which includes any germs that may be causing your cold. The cough clears these secretions as well as other irritants such as dust from the air, leaving your airways clean and breathable. Dextromethorphan HBr turns off the part of your brain that tells your lungs to cough, enabling the irritants to continue to manifest themselves in your throat, lungs, and sinuses. In addition, dextromethorphan HBr has been known to have psychedelic properties similar to ketamine and PCP when taken in larger doses. Remember the discussion above regarding frequent use/abuse of cold medicines leading to alcohol and drug addiction? This is the drug addiction part of the story.
Doxylamine succinate is an odd ingredient to be included in cold medicine because it is an antihistamine. A histamine is a chemical released by your body’s immune system when you come into contact with an allergen. Histamines can make you feel drowsy, congested, and itchy. An antihistamine disables the immune response, but may also make you feel drowsy, clumsy, and might even interfere with short term memory retention. The addition of antihistamine to cold medicines such as Nyquil® is troubling because during a cold your body does not release histamines, so effectively you are taking a drug with serious side effects that has no purpose.
An uncomfortable effect of colds is congestion and sinus headaches. The phenylephrine HCl in cold medicines shrinks the blood vessels in the nasal passages to allow mucous to drain. You will be able to breathe like a champ, but the use of phenylephrine HCl comes with the risk of high blood pressure, blurred vision, uneven heart rate, and a handful of other nasty side effects.
Nyquil® and other cold medicines do not address the cause of the cold, only the symptoms. The quickest way to get over any illness is to get rid of the root cause and nourish the immune system so that the body can recover. For cold support, we recommend our Nasal Clear or a regimen that includes Paraclear A, Paraclear B, and Bio Immune.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 949-651-6355.