Zinc lozenges do provide an aid to your boost in vitamin C intake in the cold and flu season. Zinc tends to be difficult to absorb so its best used in lower doses, more frequently. I like the zinc lozenges with vitamin C and Elderberry.
When purchasing lozenges, read the pagkage label carefully to make sure you aren't getting a prodcut containing aspartame, acesulfame K or sucralose.
Zinc helps boost the number and strength of T-Cells, differentiated in the thymus gland.
Remember to use natural lotion to keep the skin on your hands lubricated when using hand sanitizers. Most contain alcohol which is drying to the skin.
The Next Best Thing to a Cure for the Common Cold?
As cold and flu season heats up, good news comes in form of a lozenge. A study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests that taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of a cold could lead to milder symptoms and quicker recovery.
In the study, within 24 hours of contracting a cold, 50 people were given either lozenges containing 13 mg of zinc (in the form of zinc acetate) or a matching placebo to be taken every two to three hours while awake for as long as they had cold symptoms.
People who took the zinc lozenges had cold symptoms for a significantly shorter time than the people taking placebo (four days versus seven days). Compared with the placebo group, the zinc group's coughs, runny noses, and muscle aches lasted significantly less time, and symptoms were significantly less severe. Side effects were mild and similar between both groups.
The common cold may be caused by more than 200 different viruses, with rhinoviruses leading the pack. The average adult experiences two to four colds per year, while children may suffer as many as ten. The viruses are spread in the droplets of coughs and sneezes and can be passed from person to person by handling objects such as telephones, door knobs, and toys that an infected person has touched.
Runny nose, sore throat, body aches, cough, congestion, sneezing, and low-grade fever are some of the uncomfortable symptoms that herald a cold's onset, and these may last for a couple of weeks. Until now, there wasn't much to do for a cold besides getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and gargling with salt water. The American College of Chest Physicians discourages use of cough suppressants or expectorants and cautions that these medications shouldn’t be used by anyone younger than 14 years old.
Some studies have suggested that zinc might help relieve cold symptoms, but the evidence hasn't been conclusive. On these promising new results, the authors proposed "that the beneficial clinical effects seen in the zinc group were due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of zinc." The zinc acetate used in new study is easily released in the mouth in a cherry-flavored lozenge.
When dealing with colds, prevention is still the best medicine. Remember to wash hands frequently and use and dispose of tissues promptly. When washing isn't possible, try a natural hand sanitizer.
(J Infect Dis 2008;197:795–802)
simple, inexpensive ways to beat cold and flu
The common cold can be one of the most fatiguing features of winter, often lasting weeks. The flu is another situation that can move from a viral to a debilitating infection, often more serious and may be accompanied by a high fever, body aches, and chills. Here are some good ways to help you shorten the life of a cold or flu:
Stay hydrated—Noncaffeinated drinks, including water and low-sugar juices, may help loosen and clear out mucus, soothe a sore throat, and replace fluid loss due to a fever or runny nose. Warm liquids, like herbal teas or soups, not only hydrate but their heat may also help fight off the infection and relieve congestion.
Take it easy—Lie down, stay warm, and sleep if you feel tired. This keeps all the body's energy available for combating the virus. If you have trouble relaxing, dim the lights, watch your favorite movie, or take a bath (add a few drops of lemon and or eucalyptus pure essential oil and you'll add virus fighting foes).
Don’t dry out—Because the cold and flu thrive in cold, dry environments, you can help boot out the virus infection by staying warm and raising humidity levels. Also, at very low levels of humidity, the nose mucus dries up and isn’t able to defend as well against harmful viruses and bacteria. Try using a nasal mist to keep your nose mucus moist. Or try this comforting stand-by: warm your hands and put your face over the rising steam as you sip your herbal tea.
portions courtesy DSIB
Scientists turbo-charge immune cells to fight cancerSun Nov 2, 2008
PARIS (AFP) – Scientists in the United States have created super-charged immune cells that helped beat back cancer tumours in half of a small group of patients tested, according to a study released Sunday.
Adding an artificial receptor to T-lymphocytes immune cells boosted their ability to fight a deadly form of cancer called neuroblastoma, the researchers reported.
Neuroblastoma attacks the nervous system. While fairly rare, it accounts for seven percent of all childhood cancers, and 15 percent of non-adult cancer deaths.
In two-thirds of cases, it is not diagnosed until it has already spread to other parts of the body.
In their natural state, T-lymphocytes do not survive very long and lack the molecules that would target cancer cells in tumours.
To overcome this double deficiency, a team of researchers led by Malcolm Brenner at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas first selected immune cells naturally stimulated by a common but harmless virus called Epstein-Barr.
They then modified these cells to express a receptor keyed to specific proteins found in human neuroblastoma cells.
"In effect, the T-lymphocytes trampoline off the virus and onto the tumor," said Brenner.
In tests on 11 neuroblastoma patients aged three to 10, the re-engineered immune cells -- stimulated by the Epstein-Barr virus -- lasted for as long as 18 months, the study reported.
In five cases, tumours regressed and in a sixth the disease receded completely.
"For the first time, we started to see tumour responses," Brenner said. "We have one complete remission and others who have had stable disease for more than a year."
In future research, Brenner and his team plan to add receptors for other cancers to see if they get the same cancer-fighting effect, he said.
The study was published online in the Nature Publishing Group's journal Nature Medicine.