Zinc For the Common Cold?

by Maren Sederquist, MES, CSCS, CPT

Zinc gluconate lozenges were found to speed recovery from the common cold, in study published by Michael Macknin, M.D. in the Annals of Internal Medicine, in July, 1996. The zinc lozenges (Cold-Eeze brand, with 13.3 mg of zinc gluconate) or a placebo were given to a group of 100 employees of the Cleveland Clinic. Lozenges were taken every 2 hours, starting within 24 hours the after appearance of their first symptoms. Participants ingested a total of 52 to 104 mg per day. The half of the group who took zinc felt their coughing, headaches, hoarseness, congestion, runny noses, and sore throat symptoms disappeared in 4.4 days, as compared to the placebo group, who said they took 7.6 days to feel better. Researchers say the jury is still out, as other zinc studies have had mixed results; but there seem to be no adverse side effects to zinc, other than nausea in some people (especially when taken on an empty stomach), as long as it's not taken in high doses over a long period of time. * (Harvard Health Letter, Nov. 1998.)

*Zinc should not be taken in high doses (more than 150 mg/day) for long periods, as it can impair immune function, inhibit the body's absorption of other nutrients such as copper, and could be toxic.

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