There are always viruses and bacteria in our environment. A healthy diet that emphasizes nutritious fruits and vegetables and a lifestyle that maintains adequate hydration, sleep, and keeps stress levels in check is the key to optimizing your immune system and living well.
However, during times when nutrition, water intake, and rest and sleep is poor or stress levels are high, the immune system becomes vulnerable to infections. These situations can be the result of any number of things and may include:
- Long or Irregular Work Schedules
- Stressful Life Situations
- Close contact with others who are sick
- Chronic Disease (Diabetes, etc)
- Smoking & High Alcohol Consumption (yes, all of the good stuff in life)
It is in these instances that there is a clear role for supplementation to support the immune system to bridge the gaps that are not being met by a more healthy diet and lifestyle. This is why EZC Pak was created.
Related to this issue, antibiotics, which are increasingly ineffective due to rampant overuse, only work on bacterial infections. Antibiotics DO NOT treat viruses. Over 80% of upper respiratory infections, including over 93% of sinus infections, are viral.
While a limited number of antivirals and vaccines for viruses exist and are continuing to be developed, their effectiveness does not approach that of most of their antibiotic counterparts that are used for bacterial infections. This is primarily due to the rapid manner in which viruses mutate.
Of vitamins, minerals, and herbs used to support the immune system during these situations, zinc has the highest level of clinical data supporting its use. However, it is important to know that the majority of data on the use of zinc supplementation in prevention and treatment of viral respiratory illness is significantly higher than what you find in most over the counter zinc products, which are mostly composed of small amounts of diluted zinc and larger amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and fillers.
Zinc acetate is the most bioavailable form of zinc and is the most well studied. Supportive studies demonstrate a range of 50-100 mg of Zinc acetate, with lower doses (~50 mg) supported for prevention and higher doses (~80 mg) for treatment. To put these numbers in context, current US RDA guidelines recommend 8 mg daily for healthy women and 11 mg daily for healthy men.
It's important to note that using chronically large doses of zinc is not recommended. Large zinc supplementation should be limited to no more than 14 days, but preferably less than a week and used only when needed. This reduces the risk of malabsorption of other heavy metals such as copper.
While vitamin C is commonly used both in the management of colds, influenza, and similar viral upper respiratory infections, the data on vitamin C both in prevention and treatment remains limited.
The data on vitamin D supplementation is actually much stronger than vitamin C, especially for prevention of viral illness. In fact vitamin D deficiency, which has become an increasingly more recognized problem in the US and globally, is a common risk factor for upper respiratory infections.
So to answer this frequently asked question, it is reasonable to use EZC Pak as directed on the box along with adequate rest and hydration to support the immune system during viral illness. In the instances described in the bullet points above, the use of EZC Pak twice a day for no more than 14 days straight is reasonable.
Sarath Malepati, MD