To Zinc or Not to Zinc?

Photo Credit: Heliøs

With the winter season comes gift-giving, family traditions and the cold season.  We all will share with each other health tips and home remedies passed along to us without knowing if there is any actual evidence behind them.  One of the most common suggestions is to take zinc lozenges at the first sign of a cold.

Researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine decided to look into this.  They gave fifty volunteers who had developed cold symptoms within 24 hours to take either zinc lozenges or placebo every two to three hours.

They took blood samples to measure various immune system markers of a cold on day 1 and on day 5.  Participants also scored their own symptoms daily.

The results were very clear.  Those in the zinc group had a shorter duration of cold symptoms by 3 days.  The subjective scores the two groups gave themselves also showed significantly decreased symptom severity in the zinc group.

J Infect Dis. 2008 Mar 15;197(6):795-802.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Research and nutritional information included is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease and should not be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician before initiating any new dietary or supplement program. References available by request.