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{"id":556729565257,"title":"DayQuil Ingredients: Is The Cold Medication Unhealthy?","created_at":"2022-07-09T23:15:22-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"DayQuil Ingredients: Is The Cold Medication Unhealthy?\",\n \"keywords\": \"dayquil ingredients\",\n \"description\": \"Our research team reviews every ingredient in DayQuil's most popular products and explains whether we believe the formulation is effective and whether it's healthy or not. We highlight a cough medicine with a plant-based formulation.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/dayquil-ingredients\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"creator\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/DayQuil_Ingredients_Thumbnail.png?v=1657423412\",\n\"width\": \"3345\",\n\"height\": \"3345\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/nyquil-ingredients\", \n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30317290\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/books\/NBK538216\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/19230461\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26143019\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6843803\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/5-hour-energy-review\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23026007\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2957945\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.efsa.europa.eu\/en\/news\/titanium-dioxide-e171-no-longer-considered-safe-when-used-food-additive\",\n\"https:\/\/matyshealthyproducts.com\/product\/organic-cough-syrup\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3609166\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8036487\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3394849\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"Vicks\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"OTC\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"acetaminophen\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"artificial sweeteners\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"Maty's Cough Syrup\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-07-09\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Logo.png?v=1641249064\", \n \"width\": 150,\n \"height\": 150\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/DayQuil_Ingredients_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1657423062\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDisclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to over-the-counter (OTC) medication.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eD\u003c\/span\u003eayQuil is a popular OTC cold and flu treatment, and our review of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/nyquil-ingredients\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNyQuil ingredients\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e was very popular so we felt it would be useful to publish a similar review of the ingredients in DayQuil from a health and efficacy perspective. This brand is owned and sold by Vicks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMillions of consumers in the U.S. and around the globe use DayQuil to relieve their cold symptoms, but is its formulation actually proven in medical research to be effective? And does it contain filler ingredients which may be unhealthy?\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThese are the questions we’ll attempt to answer in this article.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eDayQuil Cold \u0026amp; Flu Relief Liquid Active Ingredient Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/DayQuil_Relief_Liquid_Active_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1657423200\" alt=\"DayQuil Relief Liquid active ingredients list\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDayQuil is formulated to relieve symptoms of cold and flu such as headache, congestion, sore throat and cough.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt contains three active ingredients. The first is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eacetaminophen\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e which is a pain reliever. This is one of the active ingredients in NyQuil as well, and it’s proven to be effective. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30317290\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e on patients with post-operative surgical pain found that 51% of those taking a placebo experienced moderate pain, while only 16% of patients using acetaminophen at a similar dosage to that in DayQuil experienced moderate pain.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eDextromethorphan hydrobromide\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is included for its cough-suppressive properties. This pharmaceutical ingredient \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/books\/NBK538216\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eis approved\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. as a cough suppressant. This agency reviews a significant amount of medical literature prior to approving a drug ingredient, and we will consider this another effective ingredient. This compound is also in NyQuil.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe active ingredient unique to DayQuil is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ephenylephrine hydrochloride\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e which is described by the manufacturer as a nasal decongestant. We don’t find this to be a great ingredient choice. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/19230461\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnnals of Allergy, Asthma \u0026amp; Immunology\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e medical journal did not cause a significant improvement in nasal congestion.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA more recent \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26143019\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e reported similar results: even when dosed up to 40 milligrams (mg) every four hours, which is 4x the dose in DayQuil, phenylephrine hydrochloride was no better than placebo relieving nasal congestion in patients with allergies.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe believe that this formulation is likely to be effective overall, and especially for pain relief and cough suppression. There likely is medical research backing the nasal decongestant ingredient, but we would recommend that the manufacturer of DayQuil consider a different ingredient choice here.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eDayQuil Relief Liquid Inactive Ingredient Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/DayQuil_Relief_Liquid_Inactive_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1657423193\" alt=\"DayQuil Relief Liquid inactive ingredients list\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of the findings of our NyQuil article was that the relief liquid formulation contained a number of ingredients we consider to be unhealthy, and would recommend that consumers avoid. That trend holds true with DayQuil as well.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe relief liquid contains three separate artificial sweeteners: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003esucralose\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003esorbitol\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003esodium saccharin\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. While these ingredients may make the product taste better, we find it to be illogical for non-nutritive sweeteners with questionable health effects to be included in the formulation of a product meant to improve the health of users.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSodium saccharin was associated with increased risk of diabetes, obesity and impaired kidney function in at least one \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6843803\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eanimal study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAs we referenced in our review of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/5-hour-energy-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e5 Hour Energy ingredients\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, sucralose has been found in a medical trial to cause impairments to insulin function in healthy young adults.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners entirely in medications, supplements and packaged food.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis product also contains artificial food dye \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eFD\u0026amp;C Yellow No. 6\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. This compound was found in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23026007\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to contain carcinogens. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother inactive ingredient we recommend avoiding, although one of lesser importance in our opinion, is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecitric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. This is often included as a flavor enhancer, and described by Vicks as an “effervescent agent.” When used in commercial formulations, this compound is often produced using a fungus called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAspergillus niger\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, according to a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eToxicology Reports\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCitric acid appears to cause significant inflammatory reactions in a small subset of patients. It’s likely well-tolerated by the majority of users, but because it has no nutritive benefit we recommend avoiding it.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe recommend avoiding DayQuil due to the inclusion of these additive ingredients. There are likely small amounts of these ingredients in the formulation, and we don’t believe it’s a significant health risk, but it seems illogical to take a medication containing so many questionable additives when there are alternatives on the market without any such additives.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eDayQuil LiquiCaps Active Ingredient Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/DayQuil_LiquiCaps_Active_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1657423244\" alt=\"DayQuil LiquiCaps active ingredients list\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother popular DayQuil formulation is their “LiquiCaps” product. The full product title is “DayQuil Cold \u0026amp; Flu Relief LiquiCaps.” This product contains the exact same active ingredients as DayQuil Relief Liquid, just at lower doses.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe first two active ingredients we’ve already established to be effective in the previous product review: acetaminophen and dextromethorphan hydrobromide.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe third active ingredient, phenylephrine hydrochloride, was the one we took issue with due to the clinical trials we found that suggested this ingredient was not a very effective decongestant.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBecause the active ingredients are the same, our conclusion about this product is the same as the last product: we believe it’s likely to be effective at relieving cold and flu symptoms for most people, but we believe it would be more effective if Vicks chose a different decongestant ingredient.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eDayQuil LiquiCaps Inactive Ingredient Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/DayQuil_LiquiCaps_Inactive_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1657423272\" alt=\"DayQuil LiquiCaps inactive ingredients list\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLike DayQuil Relief Liquid, the LiquiCaps contain a number of inactive ingredients we would recommend avoiding. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis product contains two artificial colorants rather than one. It contains the same FD\u0026amp;C Yellow No. 6 as the liquid formulation, but also contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eFD\u0026amp;C Red No. 40\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2957945\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e documented that Red No. 40 contains a compound called benzidine which is carcinogenic to humans and animals.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe LiquiCaps also contain \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003etitanium dioxide\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to print the stamp on the outside of the capsule. This ingredient is banned for use as a food additive \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.efsa.europa.eu\/en\/news\/titanium-dioxide-e171-no-longer-considered-safe-when-used-food-additive\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ein the European Union\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e (E.U.) due to toxicity concerns, and we recommend avoiding it.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis product contains no artificial sweeteners so it seems healthier in that regard.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe cannot recommend a product with two artificial colorants and titanium dioxide, so we’d recommend that consumers consider other cold symptom options.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eBetter Alternative\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe recommend the same alternative to DayQuil that we recommended for NyQuil: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/matyshealthyproducts.com\/product\/organic-cough-syrup\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMaty’s Cough Syrup\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. We do not have any partnership with this brand and we don’t receive compensation for recommending them; we simply believe it’s better-formulated than DayQuil.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis syrup is sweetened with \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eorganic honey\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which seems to be a much more logical choice than artificial sweeteners for a cold and flu product, considering that honey has \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3609166\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003edocumented\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e antibacterial and antiviral properties.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMaty’s product also contains an active ingredient called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eclove\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is harvested from the flower buds of a tree native to Indonesia. Clove may have the capacity to treat respiratory ailments according to a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8036487\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the well-respected \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMolecules\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eZinc\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is another effective ingredient. We don’t usually recommend supplementing with vitamins or minerals without a documented deficiency, but it seems logical to consider using zinc short-term when battling a cold, because \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3394849\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eresearch suggests\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that this mineral reduces the duration of cold symptoms.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMaty’s Cough Syrup contains no questionable additive ingredients. We consider it a more natural and healthier option when compared with DayQuil.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe do believe that DayQuil is likely to provide more immediate symptom relief because it’s formulated with pharmaceutical ingredients. Maty’s is a good option for consumers wanting to avoid some of the additive ingredients we highlighted in this review.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDayQuil is likely to be effective for treating symptoms of cold and flu. It contains research-backed drug ingredients at effective doses.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe would recommend NyQuil over DayQuil, because we weren’t impressed by the clinical research results of the decongestant used in DayQuil.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile DayQuil is likely to be effective, we wouldn’t recommend it to consumers because of some of its additive ingredients. DayQuil Relief Liquid contains artificial sweeteners, and both DayQuil Liquid and DayQuil LiquiCaps contain artificial food dyes. Further, the LiquiCaps contain an inactive ingredient that’s disallowed as a food additive in the E.U. due to toxicity concerns.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe believe that Maty’s Cough Syrup has a healthier formulation (while potentially less effective), and would recommend it over DayQuil.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-07-09T23:27:10-04:00","updated_at":"2022-08-18T23:49:08-04:00","summary_html":"We review every ingredient in DayQuil's most popular products and explain whether we believe the formulation is effective and whether it's healthy or not. We highlight a cough medicine with a plant-based formulation.","template_suffix":"","handle":"dayquil-ingredients","tags":"_related:Cold-\u0026-Flu"}

DayQuil Ingredients: Is The Cold Medication Unhealthy?

DayQuil Ingredients: Is The Cold Medication Unhealthy?


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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.


Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

DayQuil is a popular OTC cold and flu treatment, and our review of NyQuil ingredients was very popular so we felt it would be useful to publish a similar review of the ingredients in DayQuil from a health and efficacy perspective. This brand is owned and sold by Vicks.

Millions of consumers in the U.S. and around the globe use DayQuil to relieve their cold symptoms, but is its formulation actually proven in medical research to be effective? And does it contain filler ingredients which may be unhealthy?

These are the questions we’ll attempt to answer in this article.

DayQuil Cold & Flu Relief Liquid Active Ingredient Review

DayQuil Relief Liquid active ingredients list

DayQuil is formulated to relieve symptoms of cold and flu such as headache, congestion, sore throat and cough.

It contains three active ingredients. The first is acetaminophen which is a pain reliever. This is one of the active ingredients in NyQuil as well, and it’s proven to be effective. A medical trial on patients with post-operative surgical pain found that 51% of those taking a placebo experienced moderate pain, while only 16% of patients using acetaminophen at a similar dosage to that in DayQuil experienced moderate pain.

Dextromethorphan hydrobromide is included for its cough-suppressive properties. This pharmaceutical ingredient is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. as a cough suppressant. This agency reviews a significant amount of medical literature prior to approving a drug ingredient, and we will consider this another effective ingredient. This compound is also in NyQuil.

The active ingredient unique to DayQuil is phenylephrine hydrochloride which is described by the manufacturer as a nasal decongestant. We don’t find this to be a great ingredient choice. A clinical trial published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology medical journal did not cause a significant improvement in nasal congestion.

A more recent clinical trial reported similar results: even when dosed up to 40 milligrams (mg) every four hours, which is 4x the dose in DayQuil, phenylephrine hydrochloride was no better than placebo relieving nasal congestion in patients with allergies.

We believe that this formulation is likely to be effective overall, and especially for pain relief and cough suppression. There likely is medical research backing the nasal decongestant ingredient, but we would recommend that the manufacturer of DayQuil consider a different ingredient choice here.

DayQuil Relief Liquid Inactive Ingredient Review

DayQuil Relief Liquid inactive ingredients list

One of the findings of our NyQuil article was that the relief liquid formulation contained a number of ingredients we consider to be unhealthy, and would recommend that consumers avoid. That trend holds true with DayQuil as well.

The relief liquid contains three separate artificial sweeteners: sucralose, sorbitol and sodium saccharin. While these ingredients may make the product taste better, we find it to be illogical for non-nutritive sweeteners with questionable health effects to be included in the formulation of a product meant to improve the health of users.

Sodium saccharin was associated with increased risk of diabetes, obesity and impaired kidney function in at least one animal study

As we referenced in our review of 5 Hour Energy ingredients, sucralose has been found in a medical trial to cause impairments to insulin function in healthy young adults.

We recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners entirely in medications, supplements and packaged food.

This product also contains artificial food dye FD&C Yellow No. 6. This compound was found in a medical review to contain carcinogens. 

Another inactive ingredient we recommend avoiding, although one of lesser importance in our opinion, is citric acid. This is often included as a flavor enhancer, and described by Vicks as an “effervescent agent.” When used in commercial formulations, this compound is often produced using a fungus called Aspergillus niger, according to a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

Citric acid appears to cause significant inflammatory reactions in a small subset of patients. It’s likely well-tolerated by the majority of users, but because it has no nutritive benefit we recommend avoiding it.

We recommend avoiding DayQuil due to the inclusion of these additive ingredients. There are likely small amounts of these ingredients in the formulation, and we don’t believe it’s a significant health risk, but it seems illogical to take a medication containing so many questionable additives when there are alternatives on the market without any such additives.

DayQuil LiquiCaps Active Ingredient Review

DayQuil LiquiCaps active ingredients list

Another popular DayQuil formulation is their “LiquiCaps” product. The full product title is “DayQuil Cold & Flu Relief LiquiCaps.” This product contains the exact same active ingredients as DayQuil Relief Liquid, just at lower doses.

The first two active ingredients we’ve already established to be effective in the previous product review: acetaminophen and dextromethorphan hydrobromide.

The third active ingredient, phenylephrine hydrochloride, was the one we took issue with due to the clinical trials we found that suggested this ingredient was not a very effective decongestant.

Because the active ingredients are the same, our conclusion about this product is the same as the last product: we believe it’s likely to be effective at relieving cold and flu symptoms for most people, but we believe it would be more effective if Vicks chose a different decongestant ingredient.

DayQuil LiquiCaps Inactive Ingredient Review

DayQuil LiquiCaps inactive ingredients list

Like DayQuil Relief Liquid, the LiquiCaps contain a number of inactive ingredients we would recommend avoiding. 

This product contains two artificial colorants rather than one. It contains the same FD&C Yellow No. 6 as the liquid formulation, but also contains FD&C Red No. 40. A medical review documented that Red No. 40 contains a compound called benzidine which is carcinogenic to humans and animals.

The LiquiCaps also contain titanium dioxide to print the stamp on the outside of the capsule. This ingredient is banned for use as a food additive in the European Union (E.U.) due to toxicity concerns, and we recommend avoiding it.

This product contains no artificial sweeteners so it seems healthier in that regard.

We cannot recommend a product with two artificial colorants and titanium dioxide, so we’d recommend that consumers consider other cold symptom options.

Better Alternative

We recommend the same alternative to DayQuil that we recommended for NyQuil: Maty’s Cough Syrup. We do not have any partnership with this brand and we don’t receive compensation for recommending them; we simply believe it’s better-formulated than DayQuil.

This syrup is sweetened with organic honey, which seems to be a much more logical choice than artificial sweeteners for a cold and flu product, considering that honey has documented antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Maty’s product also contains an active ingredient called clove, which is harvested from the flower buds of a tree native to Indonesia. Clove may have the capacity to treat respiratory ailments according to a medical review published in the well-respected Molecules journal.

Zinc is another effective ingredient. We don’t usually recommend supplementing with vitamins or minerals without a documented deficiency, but it seems logical to consider using zinc short-term when battling a cold, because research suggests that this mineral reduces the duration of cold symptoms.

Maty’s Cough Syrup contains no questionable additive ingredients. We consider it a more natural and healthier option when compared with DayQuil.

We do believe that DayQuil is likely to provide more immediate symptom relief because it’s formulated with pharmaceutical ingredients. Maty’s is a good option for consumers wanting to avoid some of the additive ingredients we highlighted in this review.

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Conclusion

DayQuil is likely to be effective for treating symptoms of cold and flu. It contains research-backed drug ingredients at effective doses.

We would recommend NyQuil over DayQuil, because we weren’t impressed by the clinical research results of the decongestant used in DayQuil.

While DayQuil is likely to be effective, we wouldn’t recommend it to consumers because of some of its additive ingredients. DayQuil Relief Liquid contains artificial sweeteners, and both DayQuil Liquid and DayQuil LiquiCaps contain artificial food dyes. Further, the LiquiCaps contain an inactive ingredient that’s disallowed as a food additive in the E.U. due to toxicity concerns.

We believe that Maty’s Cough Syrup has a healthier formulation (while potentially less effective), and would recommend it over DayQuil.





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