Economy, Science Take Toll on Cold Remedies

Use of supplements continues steady fall
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2008 2:48 PM CST
USANA's nutritional supplements are packaged Friday, March 12, 2004, in Salt Lake City.    (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Americans looking to save money are increasingly doing without alternative therapies for colds, MSNBC reports. The popularity of supplements like zinc, echinacea, and Vitamin C have waned in recent years, in part due to studies that have questioned their effectiveness. The percentage of Americans using them fell from 9.5% in 2002 to 2% in 2007, a new CDC report says.

With the economy slumping, extra therapies are considered a luxury item. The FTC has also been active in policing the exaggerated claims of many supplement-makers—an agency lawsuit resulted in Airborne Health's agreement this month to stop running ads claiming its product prevents colds. And one ER doc offers some simple advice: "If someone’s coughing, you don’t want to touch them."