Zinc is a useful cold remedy
Based on a review of 15 clinical trials, researchers conclude that zinc is effective for reducing both the severity and length of the common cold.
If you feel a cold coming on, start sucking on zinc lozenges. Chances are it will help you get over your cold faster and with less severe symptoms, according to a new review that was just recently published by The Cochrane Collaboration. After carefully analyzing 15 clinical trials of zinc supplementation used in connection with colds, scientists headed by Meenu Singh from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, India, were able to point to zinc as a useful treatment.
With the Cochrane review, science is a big step closer to documenting zinc’s role in cold prevention. Studies published in the past have not been able to show unambiguously that zinc supplements could shorten colds.
The Cleveland study
Some studies, like the much quoted “Cleveland study”, that was carried out on 100 cold-ridden employees of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the United States, found that lozenges with zinc gluconate reduced the duration of colds by nearly 50% and resulted in milder symptoms. In contrast, there are other studies that have not been able to show a connection.
Prevention and cure
What the new reviews shows, nonetheless, is that zinc, when administered within 24 hour of the onset of symptoms, can reduce the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people. Also, when taken for at least five months, zinc can reduce cold incidence, absence from school and prescription of antibiotics in children. In other words, zinc plays a role both in terms of prevention and cure.
Source: The Cochrane Collaboration,
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.
“Zinc for the common cold”
Authors: M. Singh & R.R. Das
How to get enough zinc
A balanced diet with good zinc sources such as meat, nuts and seeds, shellfish and certain vegetables is vital for getting enough zinc which, besides playing a crucial role in the immune system, supports numerous important enzymes in the body.
In terms of supplementation there are options like Bio-Zinc, a supplement with pure and bio-available zinc gluconate, or Bio-Selenium + Zinc that contains zinc gluconate but also provides selenium and vitamins A, B6, C, and E. A third option is Influ-Zinc, which is a lozenge preparation that combines zinc gluconate with C-vitamin. The advantage of lozenges is that the nutrients are absorbed directly in the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract.