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Torq aTac Cold & Flu Relief is a powdered drink mix that aims to reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms at their first sign, or can be used as a preventive measure during hard training blocks/times when the immune system may be suppressed. It's available in either orange or lime flavours and doesn't taste over-sweetened like some powdered drinks, but it does take a fair bit of mixing to prevent powderiness.
First, I'd like to commend Torq on being so thorough with its information and product details. Some companies seem to love dumping empty claim upon empty claim with no real proof on where these 'facts' have come from. A quick look at Torq's website and it very quickly becomes apparent where each of its claims have come from, why the product should work, and a whole stack of references and research to back this up.
Not only this but Torq goes on to say that this isn't a product it wishes to sell 'unnecessary amounts of', with links and advice on how to keep your immune system fighting fit. This is an important point because however good this product is, it's no substitute for a good balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, as we all know, however careful we are, colds and flu are sometimes inevitable – cue aTAC.
Torq recommends 'super dosing' at the first sign of infection, and gives an example dosage:
Following this strategy would mean that you get through a total of 28 doses in five days, which Torq says should be enough for even a heavy cold or flu.
I've been testing the product for six weeks now, using it during high load blocks as I prepare for a summer of racing. During a rest week, I did encounter a sore throat and so decided to embark on Torq's super dosing strategy as outlined above. It seemed to work for me – my sore throat didn't turn into something more sinister.
Ten doses a day does take some real discipline to stick to, and I found it useful to set alarms to remind me. Luckily the preparation of the drink is quick and easy: simply chuck one scoop of the powder (scoop included) into 100-200ml of water, stir, and consume immediately.
It should be noted that the quantity of water doesn't have to be measured with pinpoint accuracy – it's simply a guideline for how intense the flavour is. I found that 200ml was my preference.
aTAC tastes very similar to Torq's hydration drink which has never been my favourite, but I know plenty of others who absolutely love it.
Mixing the aTAC powder with more water also makes it easier to get rid of powdery lumps, which I struggled to do with just 100ml of water, even with sustained stirring and shaking. This was the case with both the lime and orange flavour powder. Even with a higher quantity of water it's still not the most mixable powdered drink.
Per 13g serving you'll be pumping 1,000mg of vitamin C, 1,000mg of glutamine and 500mg of echinacea into your system. It is widely regarded that a daily intake of over 200mg of vitamin C will reduce the symptoms of a cold, with further positive effects with higher doses. For reference, your average sized orange, a food synonymous with being high in vitamin C contains about 70mg.
As for glutamine – research has shown that this can also help to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms as well as prevent muscle break down. Glutamine is usually found in high protein foods but is very often supplemented as many of us can benefit from extra. Most research seems to suggest supplementing glutamine by 2-5g (2,000-5,000mg) per day when you have a cold, which Torq aTAC can fulfil.
And finally, echinacea. It's hard to find a recommended dose as echinacea can come in many forms. Most studies have evaluated the effects of dosages of 450-4,000mg daily and with 500mg per dose the aTAC powder is at the top of this during 'super dosing'. Echinacea has been proven to reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu such as a sore throat, and boost the immune system.
As many of these nutrients and vitamins have benefits for the immune system as well as shortening the duration of symptoms, Torq says that aTAC powder can also be used as a preventative measure, highlighting large training blocks and international travel as two examples of when the immune system can be suppressed. In this case, take one dose per day. The powder also contains 10g of carbohydrates – handy if your appetite is also faltering.
At £14.95 per bag or 53p per serving, aTAC isn't particularly cheap; SIS Immune tabs, for example, cost £6.99 for 20 servings (35p/serving) although they lack the glutamine and echinacea, instead focusing on boosting vitamin C and iron.
If you are susceptible to common colds and flu then I'd say aTAC is definitely worth a shot. It appears to me to be the hydration strategy with the most scientific evidence to back up supporting the immune system, although, as Torq quite rightly says, there are many pieces to the immune system puzzle.
Taking 10 doses a day isn't the easiest thing to do, but unfortunately there is no quick fix in the fight against common colds. Torq's symptom-cutting approach seems like a pretty good strategy.
Scientifically backed micronutrients drink that seems to work when colds/flu strikes
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Torq aTac Cold & Flu Relief
Size tested: 28 doses
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Torq says: "aTAC is a powdered drink mix available in 2 flavours (Orange and Lime) which is to be added to 100-200ml of water and consumed at the first signs of a fever, cold or flu infection. This product can also be used in smaller doses during periods of high load training or whilst travelling at times when the body could be particularly vulnerable to infection."
It is aimed at anyone looking to support a healthy immune system and reduce the symptoms of a cold when one hits. I think the science backs up the product well but as Torq rightly says, it should not be seen as a substitute for good diet or lifestyle.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
attacks Colds & Flu
Supports Training Peaks & Travel
Comprehensive 28 Dose Pack
Natural Orange or Lime Flavours
1000mg Vitamin C
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well, it seemed to work for me – my sore throat didn't turn into something more sinister. The science seems sound.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How open Torq is with the research and not trying to selling the product as a substitute for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Powdery when mixed with the lower range of recommended water.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review, SIS Immune is cheaper per serving but Torq aTAC appears the superior product, justifying the extra expense. Not being ill on race day – priceless.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It seems to work – and impressive scientific data backs up its benefits – but it's not the most mixable powdered drink out there.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,