Carrageenan is extracted from red algae and seaweeds for use in medicine to treat coughs and colds and as a food additive. Seaweed has been used as medicine for thousands of years, but only recently have we begun to isolate carrageenan for its antiviral properties.

Colds CX nasal spray uses a specific form of carrageenan called iota-carrageenan. This form of carrageenan has the unique properties of helping the body fight colds and acting as a natural, vegan gelling agent. The gelling properties allow each spray to bind to nasal linings, improve absorption, and reduce drainage. 

Iota Carrageenan for Colds

The antiviral properties of carrageenan were first recorded in the 1950s when scientists were looking for new antiviral compounds – the tests that they were conducting involved placing a chick embryo onto an agar bed then by introducing a virus, they would record the effectiveness of the new antiviral compound; however, the results of the test were erratic and the scientists soon suspected that the carrageenan-containing agar was acting as a better antiviral than any of the new compounds they were testing.

Carrageenan has been continually studied and tested against a wide range of viruses since its first discovery as an antiviral. In 2010 on of the first human trials was conducted, which found that carrageenan-based lubricants can reduce the risk of HPV infections. Another small clinical trial was released in 2010 studying the effects of carrageenan-based nasal sprays against the common cold – the study reported a significant decrease in symptoms of the common cold with the results being backed up by 3 larger studies involving hundreds of adults and children.

Biochemical Properties

Iota Carrageenan Structure

Iota carrageenan is most well known for its gelling properties. Other forms of carrageenan have similar properties to iota carrageenan, but the iota form has the unique property of being thixotropic, allowing it to easily disperse under high-shear forces then become viscous as the force dissipates. This property is what allows it to adhere to the nasal membranes in a way that other nasal sprays can not.

Human Studies of Iota Carrageenan Nasal Sprays

Below are some of the studies we gathered involving iota carrageenan’s use as a nasal spray.

This study investigated the efficacy and safety of an Iota-Carrageenan nasal spray in patients with common cold symptoms.

Eccles R, Meier C, Jawad M, Weinmüllner R, Grassauer A, Prieschl-Grassauer E. Efficacy and safety of an antiviral Iota-Carrageenan nasal spray: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled exploratory study in volunteers with early symptoms of the common cold. Respir Res. 2010;11(1):108. Published 2010 Aug 10. doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-108

Summary

Subjects:

35

Method:

Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled

Treatment Duration:

4 Days

Dosage:

0.12% Iota Carrageenan in a Saline Solution, three times per day

Results:

Reduction in symptoms of common cold, viral load in nasal lavages, and pro-inflammatory mediators

Iota-carrageenan (I-C) is active against respiratory viruses in vitro and was effective as nasal spray in three previous clinical trials. The current trial served to further investigate I-C in patients with early common cold symptoms.

Eccles R, Winther B, Johnston SL, Robinson P, Trampisch M, Koelsch S. Efficacy and safety of iota-carrageenan nasal spray versus placebo in early treatment of the common cold in adults: the ICICC trial. Respir Res. 2015;16:121. Published 2015 Oct 5. doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0281-8

Summary

Subjects:

200 Adults

Method:

Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled

Treatment Duration:

10 Days

Dosage:

0.12% Iota Carrageenan in a Saline Solution, four times per day

Results:

Exploratory analyses indicated significant reduction of cold symptoms in the I-C group relative to placebo during the first four days when symptoms were most severe, and also substantiated I-C’s activity against rhinovirus/enterovirus.

Common cold is caused by a variety of respiratory viruses. The prevalence in children is high, and it potentially contributes to significant morbidity. Iota-carragenan, a polymer derived from red seaweed, has reduced viral load in nasal secretions and alleviated symptoms in adults with common cold.

Fazekas T, Eickhoff P, Pruckner N, Vollnhofer G, Fischmeister G, Diakos C, Rauch M, Verdianz M, Zoubek A, Gadner H, Lion T. Lessons learned from a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled study with a iota-carrageenan nasal spray as medical device in children with acute symptoms of common cold. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Sep 5;12:147. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-147. PMID: 22950667; PMCID: PMC3575307.
Summary

Subjects:

153 between the age of 1 - 18 years old.

Method:

Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled

Observational Duration:

25 Days

Dosage:

0.12% Iota Carrageenan in a Saline Solution, three times per day

Results:

Secondary endpoints, such as reduced time to clearance of disease, reduction of viral load, and lower incidence of secondary infections with other respiratory viruses indicated beneficial effects of iota-carrageenan in this population. The treatment was safe and well tolerated, with less side effects observed in the verum group compared to placebo.

Iota-carrageenan has previously shown antiviral effectiveness against cold viruses in clinical trials. This study investigated the efficacy of a carrageenan-containing nasal spray on the duration of the common cold and nasal fluid viral load in adult patients.

Ludwig M, Enzenhofer E, Schneider S, Rauch M, Bodenteich A, Neumann K, Prieschl-Grassauer E, Grassauer A, Lion T, Mueller CA. Efficacy of a carrageenan nasal spray in patients with common cold: a randomized controlled trial. Respir Res. 2013 Nov 13;14(1):124. doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-14-124. PMID: 24219370; PMCID: PMC3840586.
 
Summary

Subjects:

211 Adults

Method:

Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled

Observational Duration:

21 Days

Dosage:

0.12% Iota Carrageenan in a Saline Solution, three times per day

Results:

adults with common cold virus infections, direct local administration of carrageenan with nasal sprays reduced the duration of cold symptoms. A significant reduction of viral load in the nasal wash fluids of patients confirmed similar findings from earlier trials in children and adults.

Colds CX

$19.95

Colds CX Nasal Spray uses a full spectrum range of herbal extracts to help keep your immune system at its best.

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