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27.12.2011


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

If you're suffering from a heavy cold, zinc lozenges can help you to recover more quickly. A researcher at the University of Helsinki discovered this after doing a meta-analysis of previously published trials. There's just one drawback: you have to take very high doses of zinc.

Many trials have been done since the eighties on the effects of zinc supplements on recovering from a cold. Results have pointed in all directions. Earlier in 2011 an overview was published of the results from all these studies. [Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2): CD001364.] The meta-study concluded that "zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people".

The study looked at all sorts of zinc supplements. The Finnish study, on the other hand, only looked at lozenges. Nutritionists think that the body absorbs the zinc in this kind of tablet better. The study also distinguished between high-dose and less high-dose supplements.

Taking less than 75 mg per day has no effect, as is shown in the table below. Higher doses do have an effect, and reduce the length of the sickness by 42 percent.



In the most effective trial included in the meta-study, the preparation given reduced the length of sickness by 64 percent. The subjects were given 207 mg zinc per day.


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



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


But taking such high doses over a longer period of time may not be healthy. Epidemiological studies suggest that this can lead to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. [J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Jul 2;95(13):1004-7.]

Source:
Open Respir Med J. 2011;5:51-8.