Thursday, September 20, 2012

The "Eezy" way to zap a cold

I always worry that I’m going to peak too early in my training. Two weeks ago I had a great 10 mile run. I ran at a decent clip and felt energized afterward. Last weekend, I had one of my best brick workouts, running my fastest pace ever over five miles.

But in the four days since that brick workout, I’ve slipped into a state of fatigue and lethargy, my arches and hips aching. To top it off, I woke up today with a mild headache, a sore throat and a generally feeling of weakness in my arms and legs.

In what is supposed to be my last training push before tapering, I’ve already skipped or altered two workouts: swapping Tuesday’s 40-minute run for a 30-minute aqua jog and, after a weary 2100 yard swim this morning, I skipped my 55-minute afternoon run altogether and took a nap instead. Last week, I also opted for a nap instead of a run.

What gives?

I can only hope that by honoring my body and listening to what it is telling me, I am giving it what it needs to rest, heal and conserve energy, and will be ready to rock come race day.

First thing this morning, I started popping zinc lozenges, a homeopathic remedy my husband and I discovered last year and we both swear by. I upped my fluid intake, ate soup for lunch and, after a nap, kept my scheduled acupuncture appointment—which did little for my cold, per say, but, like magic, zapped the soreness in my hip flexors.

As a bonus, I walked away with a bottle of Chinese Herbs called Monor Bupleurum, which is used to treat many ailments, including colds, by boosting the immune system.

By dinner time, I was already feeling better and managed to serve my family fresh acorn squash, zucchini and tomatoes along with the fish sticks I’d chosen as a last resort, having little energy to prepare anything else.
Now, to top it all off with a good night’s rest and hope for the best in the morning.

So, if you’re looking to quickly zap an oncoming cold, check out one of my tried and true remedies:

 Cold-EEZE Oral Spray

The debate continues as to whether or not zinc lozenges does anything to help the common cold. A February 2011 Reuters Health article stated that “medical evidence shows zinc may take the edge off the common cold. But not a whole lot.”  How’s that for wishy-washy?
However, the article adds that “researchers found that people who started taking zinc-loaded lozenges or syrups within 24 hours of showing symptoms -- a sore throat, say, or runny nose -- shortened their cold by one day. The bottom line: After seven days of treatment, those taking the supplements had less than half the chance of still being sick.”

According to, “recent clinical research has shown that administration of zinc lozenges can cut the time of suffering from a cold in half.”

And who doesn’t want to do that? Sign me up!

The claims that that Zinc works as a lozenge (and not as a supplement) because it must be present at the site of infection—in the throat and nasal passages—reducing the number of infected cells and making it easier for your immune system to clear the cold infection more quickly.  (Note: citric acid can reduce the effectiveness of zinc lozenges.)

Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I start popping the Cold-Eeze and, so far, have had good results. They are homeopathic and come in a wide variety of regular and sugar-free flavors. Though Wild Cherry and Honey Lemon seem to be the most readily available in my local stores, I once lucked into the Chocolate Mint—definitely my favorite.

Chocolate Mint flavor Cold-EEZE is an easy to take zinc lozenge cold remedy that can shorten colds.
Despite this research, the Mayo Clinic poo-poos the effectiveness of zinc, including it on its list of cold remedies that don’t work, citing flawed studies, while at the same time, admitting that “in studies with positive results, zinc seemed most effective taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.”
So what does the Mayo Clinic recommend? The usual suspects—water and other non-dehydrating fluids, gargling salt water, saline nasal drops and chicken soup.

Be well!

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