Feel like you’re catching a cold? You might want to try taking some zinc.
A review of several trials shows what some people have believed for years – taking zinc when you have a cold virus can shorten the number of days you feel sick.
By how much?
About one day.
While it might not seem like a big deal, the common cold is the leading cause of missing school and work. It’s also the No. 1 reason people go to the doctor. Colds cause ear infections and sinusitis. They can trigger asthma attacks.
The review, conducted by Cochrane Collaboration, looked at 15 trials that included more than 1,360 people of all ages. Participants took zinc or a placebo within 24 hours of experiencing cold symptoms. After a week, those who took zinc supplements were less likely to still have a cold. Additionally, they reported milder symptoms.
Those who took zinc for five months or more had fewer colds all together and missed fewer school days. Children took fewer antibiotics.
Doctors connected to the review didn’t make any recommendations about how much zinc to take because the mineral can produce side effects. Some people who take lozenges may feel nauseated. It’s also uncertain how zinc affects people who have other underlying chronic health conditions like asthma.
Source: The Cochrane Collaboration