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More than a mineral

Pauline Songco



Our bodies are built and powered by what we eat or drink. Food is essential because it contains vital nutrients we need for survival, specifically helping our body to function and stay healthy.

Nutrients, as we have all studied, can be divided into two major categories: micronutrients and macronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients that our body is required to take in large amounts, namely, carbs, fats and proteins. Micronutrients, on the other hand, play roles in maintaining our body’s strength to remain immune. These are vitamin B6, vitamin 6, vitamin E and zinc.

Zinc is proven by studies to have powerful benefits, such as shortening the duration of respiratory infection including pneumonia. Its supplementation can reduce coughing in a day and a half.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Zinc is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. It is found in cells throughout the body and it helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the generic material in all cells,” it said, adding that foods like red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, dairy products, oysters and other seafood and fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of zinc.

In an innovation made by a known consumer healthcare provider, zinc, when mixed with the mucolytic antioxidant carbocisteine, does more than wonders.

(FROM left) DOCTORS Joyce Santos, Gwen Agra and Leevan Fong. UNILAB

“Carbocisteine is not a new drug. In fact, it has been in existence for quite a while and has been very popular in continents of Europe and Asia. Mucolytic is something that you take for your cough with phlegm so that you’ll be able to expectorate it. And by expectorating it, you will get well,” Joyce Santos, head of Research and Development of Unilab Inc. said.

Normally, one would take carbocisteine as one product and then take a multivitamin or zinc tablet separately. With this new innovation (Solmux Advance), worrying about taking two products at a time won’t be a hassle anymore.

Cough is usually defined in terms of duration: acute (short-term, less than one week), sub-acute (two weeks) and chronic (lasts for more than two months).

“Most of the time, infections are acute, especially if there’s phlegm, which is the inflammatory response when the mucus secretes,” she said. “But it’s different for Acid reflux that is often manifested as coughing. It doesn’t involve phlegm. Its cause is different, so the medicine doesn’t address that.”

Agra adds, “When patients have cough secondary to infection, especially in the susceptible population, this may be reflective of a weakened immune system. Zinc levels are lowered, which leaves us vulnerable and may prolong our recovery period. Which is why I usually co-prescribe minerals like zinc with mucolytic like carbocisteine. Together, this is an ideal combination that effectively relieves cough by aiding in expulsion of phlegm with decreased bacterial adhesion to cells and helping in faster recovery by boosting immunity.”

In line with the recent events, Agra recommends regular washing of hands, taking regular vaccination and wearing masks if needed. “Some of us have zinc deficiency; sometimes it’s vitamin B because recently people want to have fair skin. Vitamin B is a component to our immune system that would help us cope with infections. As for carbociseine and zinc, the recommended mgs of dosage especially for elderly would be 30 mg per day. That is according to a study conducted that there was a decreased duration of pneumonia and increased severity in patients when given zinc,” Agra concluded.

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