Cold-fX is a product derived from the roots of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) that is manufactured by Afexa Life Sciences Inc. (formerly called CV Technologies Inc.)[1], headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is marketed as a daily supplement to improve the body's immune system and aid in preventing common cold and flu, as well as a treatment to reduce the duration and severity of the diseases,[2] even though the official US web site states, "...this product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent upper respiratory infections due to cold or influenza-like viruses."[3][dead link]


Clinical evidence

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal concluded that "ingestion of a poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharide–rich extract of the roots of North American ginseng in a moderate dose over 4 months reduced the mean number of colds per person, the proportion of subjects who experienced 2 or more colds, the severity of symptoms and the number of days cold symptoms were reported."[4]

Immune response to COLD-fX was investigated further in a subset of this population. Blood levels of T lymphocytes, T Helper cells and natural killer cells increased in the COLD-fX group which may be related to an observed reduction in the severity of colds experienced in the COLD-fX group (Predy, G.N., Goel, V., Loving, R.E. & Basu, T.K. (2006) Immune modulating effects of daily supplementation of COLD-fX (a proprietary extract of North American Ginseng) in healthy adults J. Clin Biochem Nutr 39:162-167).

In another study (double-blind, placebo-controlled) in community-dwelling adults the COLD-fX group experienced fewer colds and they were of shorter duration than the placebo group in the last two months of the trial (McElhaney, J.E., Goel, V., Toane, B., Hooten, J. & Shan, J.J. (2006) Efficacy of COLD-fX in the prevention of respiratory symptoms in community-dwelling adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. J Alt Comp Med 12:153-157). COLD-fX did not result in any positive IOC doping tests in athletes after 28 days of administration, meaning that it is not a source of inadvertent exposure to banned or restricted substances (Goel, D.P., Geiger, J.D., Shan, J.J., Kriellaars, D & Pierce, G.N. (2004) Doping-control urinalysis of a ginseng extract, COLD-fX, in athletes Int J Sport Nutrit Exercise Metab).

The University of California’s UC Berkeley Wellness Letter called the clinical trials for Cold fX “well designed” and mentioned “promising results”.[5]


The research behind COLD-fX has received several external reviews within the health/medical community.[citation needed]

Approvals and endorsements

Health Canada approves the marketing of COLD-fX as helping "to reduce the frequency, severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system."[6]

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, in a legal review of 10 popular natural cold remedies, concluded that “...Cold-fX is the only remedy we found with any evidence that it might improve your chances of getting through the cold and flu season without coming down with something.”[7]

The American Botanical Council, an advocate for natural medicine, concluded that Cold-fX demonstrated “impressive” benefits to users.[8]


There have been some doubts in the medical and scientific research community that Cold-fX is as effective as claimed. Skeptics allege that the science does not fully support the claims being made. Other scientific research has, however, produced significant results (Predy 2005, McElhaney 2006). It should be noted, however, that the majority of the studies posing 'significant' results favoring the efficacy of ColdFX have been funded by the manufacturer.

Other criticisms point out that these studies have been small scale, with conspicuously shallow participant pools and lopsided gender distributions.[9] Skeptics have pointed out that there aren't enough studies on the effects of any form of Ginseng on the common cold to form any conclusions.[10]

Skeptics have argued that Cold-fX has not been tested for its ability to treat a cold after an individual has been infected.[11] In addition, no studies have yet been performed to assess the possible long term side effects of taking the pills every day during the cold and flu season.[9] Afexa Life Sciences Inc. (formerly called CV Technologies Inc.), the makers of Cold-fX, were criticized for making health claims about the product that have never been tested or verified scientifically. Up until February 2007, the company advised a regimen of 18 pills over a course of 3 days in order to obtain "immediate relief" from a cold. Health Canada's review of the scientific literature confirmed that this is not a claim that CV Technologies Inc. is entitled to make.[12] The company formulated a separate product for this usage. A CV Technologies press release explained the change in the dosing regimen as a choice to take a two-tier approach application to Health Canada.[13]


  1. ^ "What is COLD-fX intended for?". Cold-fX: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  2. ^ "What is COLD-fX intended for?". Cold-fX: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  3. ^ ":: COLD-FX :: ( front page)". Official US web site fine print. 
  4. ^ Predy, G.N.; V. Goel, R. Lovlin, A. Donner, L. Stitt and T.K. Basu (October 2005). "Efficacy of an extract of North American ginseng containing poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharides for preventing upper respiratory tract infections: a randomized controlled trial". CMAJ 173 (9): 1043–1048. doi:10.1503/cmaj.1041470. PMC 1266327. PMID 16247099. 
  5. ^ UC Berkeley (2007-06-15). "Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements". Wellness Letter. 
  6. ^ Pilieci,, Vito (February 16, 2007). "Health Canada approves COLD-fX's claims". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  7. ^ David Schardt (January 2007). "Un-catching colds" (PDF). Nutrition Action Health letter. 
  8. ^ Dr. Bruce Barrett (MD, PhD) and Dr. Donald J. Brown (ND). "Therapeutic Monograph and Clinical Overview of CVT-E002 (COLD-fX)" (PDF). American Botanical Council. 
  9. ^ a b "Fighting the Common Cold". ABC News. 2005-10-25. 
  10. ^ William Lin (2007-02-16). "Does ginseng really work? It depends on who you ask". The Ottawa Citizen. 
  11. ^ "Ginseng Unproven in U.S.". Los Angeles Times. 2008-02-18.,0,4445115.story. 
  12. ^ Charlie Gillis (2007-03-26). "COLD-fX catches the sniffles again". Macleans Magazine. 
  13. ^ "COLD-fX Sets Record Straight: Health Canada’s Approval of New Medical Claims Unchanged" (PDF). CV Technologies. March 5, 2007. 
  • McElhaney JE, and D Reid. Presented at the First International Scientific congress on Nutrition Athletic Performance, Edmonton, Alberta. August 2001.
  • Ueng YF et al. Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2002, 13(2): 89-96.
  • Wang M et al. International Immunopharmacology, 2004, 4: 311-315.
  • Wang M et al. Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 2001, 53: 1515-1523.
  • Yang JC et al. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 29(1): 149-154.
  • Nielsen MarketTrack, National Grocery Banner+Mass Merch+Drug+General Merch+Warehouse Club, 52 weeks May 12, 2007, Natural Supplements + Cold Remedies

External links

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