Vitamin C is beneficial to the body’s ability to grow and repair itself. The absorption of iron; the growth and repair of gums, teeth, blood vessels and bones; and a well-functioning immune system all rely on the dietary intake of vitamin C. Although vitamin C is a proven antioxidant, some respected health authorities do not deem it a safe and reliable method of relieving viral or bacterial infections, such as a sinus infection. Check with a health care professional before replacing medications with vitamin C.
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What Is a Sinus Infection and What Causes It?
A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is a condition in which the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed. This causes the tiny hairs in your sinuses, called cilia, which normally sweep the mucus out of your sinuses, to be unable to move. Common culprits in causing sinus infection are allergies and changes in air temperature or pressure. Other risks for sinusitis include the use of decongestant nasal sprays, smoking, diving in water and growths in the sinuses called polyps. When sinusitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it often occurs after you have come down with a cold and the illness begins attacking the lining of your sinuses.
Symptoms and Treatment
Symptoms of sinus infection include pressure in the forehead, cheeks and nose as well as between the eyes and other headache-like sensations. A fever may also be present. Nasal congestion and a cough, which usually worsens at night, are other common symptoms. Sometimes sinusitis sufferers complain of toothaches and a reduced sense of smell and taste.
If the infection you have is severe or is bacterial in origin, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. For minor cases, over-the-counter acetaminophen, ibuprofen or a decongestant may help. Always discuss these medications with your doctor before trying them, as some over-the-counter cold medicines can make the symptoms worsen or cause new problems.
Vitamin C Dosages
Vitamin C contains properties that boost immune system levels, so to prevent illness, a daily multivitamin tablet which includes vitamin C may help. Many alternative health practitioners recommend 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily as a remedy for sinusitis. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recognize vitamin C as a method of shortening the length or severity of the cold or other viruses or bacteria, including sinus infections.
Other Natural Remedies for Sinus Infection
Many homeopathic and alternative medicine practitioners recommend dietary supplements as effective remedies for sinusitis. In addition to vitamin C, the most universally recognized remedies include 60 mg of coenzyme-Q10 up to three times daily, 15 mg of zinc up to two times daily, 500 mg of garlic daily and echinacea as directed on the label. As with any alternative treatment, consult your doctor first.
- FamilyDoctor.org; Conditions A-Z; Sinusitis; January 2011
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Warning Letters; Matrixx Initiatives Inc 6/3/11; A. Cruse; June 2011
- "Earl Mindell's Vitamin Bible"; Earl Mindell, Ph.D., et al.; September 2004