Do Cold and Flu Meds Do More Harm Than Good?

Do Cold and Flu Meds Do More Harm Than Good?

Cold and Flu and Chiropractic in Fort Wayne IN

Did you know that over-the-counter cold and flu medicines DON'T cure colds and flu? They are intended only to cover up your symptoms. You take this for runny nose, that for cough and sore throat, and something else for fever and body aches. You could go all out and take one all inclusive medicine for all your symptoms. We are here to help at New Life Chiropractic in Fort Wayne, In.

But here is something important to consider: those meds you are taking might actually make you more sick in the long run. We took a look at some of the top cold and flu over-the-counter medications and found a number of things we just had to share with you.

Active Ingredients

Depending on the product, most over-the-counter cold and flu meds contain some combination of Aspirin, Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, Sodium bicarbonate, Anhydrous citric acid, Guaifenesin, Phenylephrine, Oxymetazoline, Diphenhydramine citrate, and Ibuprofen.

While each ingredient has its downsides, dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine are especially nasty when it comes to weight gain because they both a long-lasting sedating effect. In fact, any cold and flu medicines produced for nighttime symptoms (Niquil, Tylenol PM, and anything labeled “nighttime”) cause your activity levels to drop, as you might expect. If taken over a long duration, it can have an impact on your adrenal glands.

The aspirin and NSAID ingredients also wreak havoc on your digestive system. These types of medications are known digestive irritants. Something really interesting is that 80% of your immune system is driven by the health of the digestive system.

Artificial Sweeteners

Cold and flu medicines have become more palatable over the years and much easier to force feed the kiddos. Great, right? Dead wrong actually!

That new and improved flavors and sweetness of today’s cold and flu medicines come mostly from artificial sweeteners like sucralose, maltodextrin, aspartame, sorbitol, and high fructose corn syrup. In fact, the OTC flu medicine Theraflu contains not one, not two, but three artificial sweeteners!

Aside from the fact that artificial sweeteners are harmful chemicals, the connection between health and artificial sweeteners (and honestly natural sweeteners too) is how your body uses nutrients for energy. Our bodies break down sweeteners by using the pancreas and liver. Artificial sweeteners stress the pancreas and liver and also cause unwanted weight gain.

The body is so good at utilizing sugars that it even thinks ahead, storing it away in the form of fat just in case it needs energy later. That wouldn’t really be an issue if we used the fat later, but in our society we tend to have a constant flow of sugar. A never-ending cycle continues as we eat sugar, burn some sugar, have too much sugar left over, convert the unused sugar to fat, eat more sugar….and so forth and so on. Not allowing our bodies to get into a state of fat-burning is literally making us fat!

(For additional information on how sugar affects your body, check out our “How Sugar Makes You Fat Sick and Tired” blog.)

Synthetic dyes

Although many synthetic dyes have been banned from use by the FDA in foods, dyes such as Red #40, Yellow #10, Blue #1, and many more are still approved for use in drugs and cosmetics. Nearly every cold and flu medicine ingredient list we searched unveiled one or more synthetic dye. The biggest culprit of synthetic dye use was Red #40 found in Dayquil products. Red #40 and Yellow #5 and #6 contain compounds linked to cancer. Many dyes in general are linked to neurological and psychological problems such as allergies, ADHD, learning impairment, and aggressiveness.Many synthetic dyes even contain aniline, a compound derived from toxic bituminous coal. Because food dyes in general are so processed, artificial, and toxic they disrupt the function of our hormonal systems!

In addition, because the typical cold and flu medications are either bottled in plastic or encased in gel capsules you also have to worry about plastic compounds breaking down and leaching into the medications. The Food and Drug Administration conducted a study and concluded that 90% of more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter, were “perfectly good” to use even 15 years after expiration date. Yes, the medications might still maintain high levels of potency 15 years later but would you want to consume something that has had potential plastic leaching over the course of 15 years.

The Alternative

Make sure your diet is diverse enough and nutrient-rich enough to keep your immune system healthy in the first place. Do your research on foods that boost your immune system.

In case you do get sick, elect to swap out remedies from the medicine cabinet for remedies from the fridge or spice cabinet instead. In fact, check out our recent blog post on dandelion to see how it can help kick your immune system into high gear.

Final Thoughts

Above all else, know that your body was made to battle against colds and flu. All you have to do is give it the healthy building blocks it needs and let it do its job. Health doesn’t come from popping pills, it’s an optimal expression of your body functioning the way it is supposed to. Anything else is just a band-aid.

9:00am - 11:00am
3:00pm - 6:00pm

5:30pm - 6:30pm

9:00am - 11:00am
3:00pm - 6:00pm

9:00am - 11:00am
3:00pm - 6:00pm




New Life Chiropractic
2051 Reed Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46815
(260) 471-5433