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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cold fx & pajamas

I have been "burning the candle at both ends" lately working on a couple of projects with looming deadlines. I knew I had pushed myself pretty hard by Monday night and Tuesday I woke up feeling "off". Felt totally exhausted, nose kind of runny, head kind of stuffed- beginnings of a cold feeling. Everyone around me it seems has a cold so it was certainly a distinct possibility.

Always up for an experiment, I decided to try Cold-fx as it was staring at me from the kitchen table (along with a lot of other things that truly don't belong on the kitchen table!). I have been considering the merits of Cold-fx for awhile so I did some research.

It truly is a "natural" product from everything that I can find. It is also a Canadian product- first developed out of the University of Alberta. It is made from North American ginseng root. The extraction process is kept proprietary. Apparently there is quite a difference from using North American ginseng as opposed to Asian ginseng which is the more common health store variety. The only other ingredients I can find in the capsules are gelatin and some dye colors. The regular strength version lists titanium dioxide in the ingredients. This is commonly used in pigments and has been flagged as a possible carcinogenic agent. The Extra Strength label doesn't list titanium dioxide.

The claims for Cold-fx are that it stimulates the immune systems. Studies conclude it stimulates both innate and acquired immune systems (different responses at the cellular level). Innate you are born with and responds immediately, acquired can be thought of as your antibody reactions that are something most people build up with time and exposure and are slower to respond- your body's back-up system.

There have been a number of clinical trials of Cold-fx and this is perhaps the difference between it and a lot of other "natural cures". There is scientific research to back the claims. This research allows it to be classified according to Health Canada under it's National Health Products Directorate and it has a license and product number giving it the Health Canada seal of approval. I think this really opens the doors for marketing and sales. It also perhaps creates some suspicion in those of us who are cautious of pharmaceuticals! Clinical trials have been done mostly with persons without any underlying medical conditions. Therefore the packaging does not recommend it for persons with underlying medical conditions or pregnant or breastfeeding women because of the lack of clinical trials, not because of any evidence of potential harm.

A lot of marketing has been done with this product. The company has really gone the pharmaceutical route of doing the trials, marketing widely and even getting celebrities to back them. Hockey players were the first to promote the product. Don Cherry (Coach's Corner?) endorses it. It was an official sponser of the winter olympics and was everywhere with that one.

So... yesterday I took the suggested first day dose of 3 tablets twice a day. I also stayed in my pajamas for most of the day. Although I did some work on the computer I didn't start any new projects (despite the looming deadlines) and generally took it easy. My lifestyle supports this ability to modify my work day something I am very grateful for - at least on the days that I'm not burning the candle on both ends!.

This morning I don't feel like I have any cold symptoms! I am continuing with the dosage which is now 2 tablets twice a day for today, then down to 1 tablet twice a day. It is suggested for daily use even without symptoms which I won't be doing but I will be adding to my "stash" of health products.

I am open to comments about this though. If anyone knows anything different, including information on that titanium dioxide and if it actually is in the Extra Strength ones- I'd be happy to hear about it!

I'll admit it feels like a "strange animal". It seems like it is natural yet with the traditional pharmaecutical approach to marketing, the ease of finding it(it's everywhere in drug stores and grocery stores),and the packaging it feels like it is almost "too good to be true".

Anybody have any thoughts???

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