Americans are increasingly heading to the supplements aisle at the first sign of a sniffle. Some believe that supplements are an effective way to head off a cold or the flu. Others are wary of the side effects associated with over-the-counter drugs, or alarmed about the risks cold medicines appear to pose to children.
Sales of cold and flu supplements have grown so much (8% in 2006, compared to 2% for over-the-counter drugs), that more traditional cold and flu brands have taken note. Even the mainstream Theraflu now makes a formulation, Fortifense, containing zinc, echinacea and vitamin C.