When it comes to getting over a phlegmy cough, zinc isn’t exactly the first nutrient that comes to mind compared to the more popular vitamin C.
But it is just as potent. An essential nutrient, zinc promotes the growth and division of cells. It hastens the healing of wounds, reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration and is necessary in the optimum functioning of our sense of smell and taste.
Zinc also strengthens the immune system, so much so that taking a zinc supplement during the early signs of a cold shortens the cold’s duration by up to 33 percent, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Though the body doesn’t produce zinc, it is available in a wide variety of food. Shellfish and fish are rich sources of zinc, as are meat, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds, dairy products, eggs, whole grains and certain vegetables.
Amazingly, it doesn’t take much to reap the full benefits of zinc. According to NCBI, the average Filipino adult requires 8 to 11 milligrams of zinc per day. Pregnant and lactating women need just a little more—11 to 13 mg daily. A first
After nearly a decade’s worth of studies and testing in its in-house research and development (R&D) department, pharmaceutical company Unilab successfully combines the immunity-boosting power of zinc with carbocisteine’s ability to expectorate phlegm from the lungs and throat in Solmux Advance. Available in film-coated tablet form, the 500 mg/5 mg mucolytic and mineral is a first in the world, declares Joyce Santos, head of Unilab’s R&D.
“When we were developing it, we did a Google search and there was nothing [like it] at all,” she says. “Carbocisteine, the active ingredient in Solmux, is very difficult to formulate, but we were able to do it in capsule format. Then we thought of just adding zinc, but as we discovered, combining carbocisteine and zinc into a single tablet was not easy. A lot of lab work went into the development of the product. We had to ensure that the product is stable, effective and of consistent quality.”
In time, the hard work and uncompromising standards would pay off. “We usually prescribe it from five days to two weeks,” says pulmonologist and internist Gwen Agra. “In our studies, a zinc supplementation shortens a bout of pneumonia by two to three days.”
Prevention, of course, is still the best line of defense against respiratory tract infections. “Proper hand-washing, wearing a face mask when you’re out in a crowd, getting your flu and pneumonia shots, and reinforcing your immune system with a balanced diet and supplements is still the best way to stay healthy,” says Agra.
Still, it helps to know that we can bounce back to our daily routine sooner, with medication made even better with zinc.—CONTRIBUTED INQ