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21.08.2015


Get over your cold quicker with a hefty dose of zinc

You can really do without it, but you know it's going to happen anyway: you can feel a cold coming on. According to Finnish researchers, though, there is something you can do. If you run to the shop and get a packet of lozenges containing zinc acetate, you can drastically reduce the amount of time you'll be laid up. If you're not scared of hefty doses of zinc.

Study
The same researchers had already shown in a meta-study that daily doses of more than 75 mg zinc can considerably shorten the length and severity of a cold. The researchers only included studies in which subjects had been given zinc in the form of lozenges.

In two studies, supplementation started within 24 hours of the subjects feeling a cold coming on.


Get over your cold quicker with a hefty dose of zinc



In 2015 the Finns published another meta-study. For this they used three previously published studies in which the subjects had been given 80-92 mg zinc per day. [Curr Ther Res. 1998;59:595607] [Ann Intern Med. 2000 Aug 15;133(4):245-52.] [J Infect Dis. 2008;197:795802.]

The Finns wanted to find out whether zinc lozenges relieved cold symptoms in the throat and mouth cavity only, or whether they also had a positive effect elsewhere in the body.

Results
Zinc supplementation reduced the total duration of the cold by 42 percent.


Get over your cold quicker with a hefty dose of zinc



Zinc reduced the amount of time that the subjects had sore muscles by almost 60 percent, and approximately halved the amount of time that the subjects were troubled by coughing. Zinc supplementation also reduced the duration of a sore throat, a tickly throat, runny nose, headache and fever each by about several score percent.


Get over your cold quicker with a hefty dose of zinc


Get over your cold quicker with a hefty dose of zinc



Extra zinc was not more effective against cold symptoms in the throat than against symptoms elsewhere in the body.



Conclusion
"Given that there were only few and minor adverse effects in the three randomized trials, zinc acetate lozenges may be a useful treatment option for the common cold", the Finnish researchers wrote. "Since two of the included studies started zinc treatment within 24 hours of the onset of the common cold, the strongest evidence of benefit is for such rapid initiation of zinc administration."

Source:
BMC Fam Pract. 2015 Feb 25;16(1):24.

More:
High dose of zinc helps you get over a heavy cold faster 27.12.2011