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Zinc Supplements Shorten Common Cold Duration, Research Suggests

Zinc lozenges are associated with shortening the duration of common cold episodes by up to 40%, according to research.

The evidence emerged from the combined results of 13 trials which tested the ability of zinc lozenges, which dissolve in the mouth and are widely available, to fight off colds.

Three of the studies showed taking daily doses of zinc acetate higher than 75 milligrams - more than is generally recommended - as soon as symptoms began, shortened colds by an average of 42 per cent.

Five others, using other types of zinc salt at doses greater than 75mg, resulted in a 20 per cent reduction. But five studies of doses lower than 75mg showed no benefit at all.

In several studies, zinc lozenges caused adverse effects, such as bad taste, but there is no evidence that zinc lozenges might cause long term harm. Furthermore, in the most recent trial on zinc acetate lozenges, there were no significant differences between the zinc and placebo groups in the occurrence of adverse effects although the daily dose of zinc was 92 mg.

The author concluded that "since a large proportion of trial participants have remained without adverse effects, zinc lozenges might be useful for them as a treatment option for the common cold."

These studies also showed zinc is linked to shortening the duration of symptoms. More than 200 viruses are capable of causing the common cold, which is why it is almost impossible to gain complete immunity.

Zinc Is Vital for A Healthy body

Zinc is a key mineral for the immune system and is important for providing natural resistance against infections and diseases. It is also essential for healthy growth, wound healing and reproductive health.

Zinc is not stored in the body, although can be found in tissue and bones. Factors such as a poor diet, high-stress lifestyles, soil depletion and processing of foods can all lead to a zinc deficiency.

Rich sources of this vital mineral include shellfish, red meat, fish, eggs and pumpkin seeds.

Research Paper Details:

Harri H. Zinc Lozenges May Shorten the Duration of Colds: A Systematic Review. The Open Respiratory medicine Journal, 2011; 5 (1): 51.