Top Cold & Flu Over The Counter Medicines Without Tons of Additives

Have you ever glanced at the label of your favorite over-the-counter medication? Chances are, there are quite a few ingredients you’ll have trouble pronouncing. From acetaminophen (found in Tylenol®) to dextromethorphan (found in DayQuil® and NyQuil®), these chemicals are common household items that come with their own risks and side effects. However, many cold and flu medications also contain inactive ingredients, or additives, like binders, fillers, colors, and preservatives. These include high-fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, parabens, sorbitol, and artificial flavors. In one 2020 study, researchers found over 100 additives in 60 different liquid cough medicines.1 One such ingredient included chloroform, which has a long history in cough medicines, but is also known for its toxicity.2 According to Sari Eitches, MD, internist and integrative physician at the Los Angeles Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine, the trouble with ingesting such additives is that along with having no health benefits, they most likely carry “possible health risks” that haven’t been rigorously studied for safety.3  To help you choose a cold and flu medication that does not contain tons of additives, find out the benefits of homeopathic medication and explore how Brillia Health’s products compare to other over-the-counter remedies.  

Benefits of Homeopathic Medication

One of the benefits of taking a homeopathic medication is that they are gentler on the body than aggressive pharmaceutical drugs. Unlike antibiotics and other harsh medicines, homeopathic medication will not negatively impact digestion or lower immune resistance. In lieu of synthetic chemicals, homeopathic medications provide small doses of substances that cause a reaction in the body's natural defenses to help the body heal itself. This doesn’t mean that homeopathic medications do not have to go through FDA review and registration. All legal homeopathic medications are regulated by the FDA and must provide substantial data on their ingredients, but Brillia Health takes the extra step to share clinical studies with the FDA to indicate their safety and efficacy in order to be sold in the U.S. Our documented scientific evidence supports the claims that our products make. This is why you will not find the standard disclaimer on Brillia Health labeling like other homeopathic medications. 

Brillia Health for Cold & Flu

Unlike popular over-the-counter medications that merely mask symptoms with harsh chemicals until your cold or flu passes, Brillia Health products take a gentle yet impactful approach in addressing the root cause of your symptoms. The immune system consists of a complex network of organs, white blood cells, proteins, and chemicals. This system works rigorously to protect your body from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses associated with the cold and flu. When you become sick, your body releases proteins that attach to enzymes and instigate a variety of unpleasant symptoms. These range from coughing and congestion to sore throat and body aches. Brillia Health products contain antibodies, which are highly specific molecules that attach to the proteins your body has released so that they cannot attach to their targeted enzymes. This gently and effectively stops symptoms at their source and helps your body not produce these unwanted side effects so your immune system can work more efficiently to heal your body.

Brillia Health Active Ingredients

Brillia Health offers two distinct formulations: Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control. Each product contains antibodies to three different molecular targets to alleviate symptoms like congestion, body aches, and wet or dry coughs.  Cold-Flu Recovery contains:
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  • Active ingredients: Lapine Histamine immune globulin to reduce congestion and sore throat; Lapine CD4 immune globulin to help immune cells fight off viral infections; Lapine interferon gamma immune globulin to recruit even more immune cells to help you feel better faster.
  • Inactive ingredients: Lactose monohydrate to act as a stabilizer; Magnesium stearate to make the medication easier to swallow; Microcrystalline cellulose to act as an emulsifier. All inactive ingredients are cleared by the FDA and considered safe to use though those with lactose intolerance may be sensitive to lactose monohydrate. 
Cough Control contains:
  • Active ingredients: Lapine Histamine immune globulin to reduce congestion, sore throat, and fluid buildup in the lungs; Lapine Bradykinin immune globulin to reduce inflammation while easing the coughing reflex; Lapine Morphine immune globulin to effectively block pain signals to the brain and reduce the stress that coughing places on the body.
  • Inactive ingredients: Isomalt to sweeten product though it has no effect on blood sugar; Microcrystalline cellulose to act as an emulsifier; Magnesium stearate to make the medication easier to swallow; Citric acid to act as a stabilizer; Aspartame to replace the lactose ingredient in the Cold-Flu product and be safe for those with lactose intolerance; Sodium saccharin as a sweetener deemed safe for diabetics. All inactive ingredients are cleared by the FDA and considered safe to use.

Brillia Health vs. DayQuil/NyQuil

Before we cover the range of inactive ingredients found in DayQuil and NyQuil products, we’ll explore their active ingredients and the dangers associated with these synthetic chemicals. Both DayQuil and NyQuil contain acetaminophen and dextromethorphan HBr, which relieve inflammation and suppress the coughing reflex. Potential side effects of taking acetaminophen include nausea and constipation, and more severely, liver damage. Dextromethorphan may cause gastrointestinal upset and restlessness. DayQuil also contains phenylephrine HCI, which is used to relieve nasal discomfort, but may also cause stomach upset, insomnia, and dizziness. And NyQuil contains doxylamine succinate, an antihistamine that may cause dry mouth and drowsiness. The inactive ingredients found in DayQuil and NyQuil products include such additives as artificial coloring linked to hyperactivity in children, restlessness, insomnia, and allergic responses.4 They also include glycerin, which acts as a thickener, but is associated with headache, nausea, and confusion.5 DayQuil also includes sodium benzoate, a preservative that may increase your risk of inflammation, oxidative stress, obesity, ADHD, and allergies.6 And NyQuil contains titanium dioxide, listed with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 2B carcinogen.7 DayQuil and NyQuil are not recommended for those with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease, thyroid disease, or an enlarged prostate.

Brillia Health vs. Theraflu

The active ingredients in Theraflu® include Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Phenylephrine HCI, Diphenhydramine HCl, and Pheniramine maleate. As stated in the previous section, acetaminophen can cause nausea and constipation, and more severely, liver damage if taken in excess. And dextromethorphan may cause gastrointestinal upset and restlessness in users. Guaifenesin and phenylephrine HCI, which both relieve nasal congestion, may cause dizziness, drowsiness, and upset stomach. Diphenhydramine HCl, an antihistamine, may also cause dizziness and drowsiness as well as a pounding heartbeat and confusion. And pheniramine maleate, another antihistamine, may cause dry mouth, constipation, and insomnia. Moving on to the inactive ingredients in Theraflu, these include acesulfame potassium, a sweetener with potential carcinogenic properties.8 Theraflu also contains artificial colors FD&C blue no. 1, FD&C red no. 40, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children, restlessness, insomnia, and allergic responses. Like DayQuil and NyQuil, Theraflu is not recommended for those with liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disease or an enlarged prostate. 
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The next time you catch the cold or flu, be sure to check the label of your go-to medication to avoid harmful ingredients and unnecessary additives that may contribute to poor health down the line. And remember that the best defense from colds and flus is investing in immune-boosting practices throughout the year. Learn more about how Brillia Health products work and visit our blog to find more resources on how to beat colds and flus safely.  Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a certificate in Narrative Therapy. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, and VICE.
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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