Exploring New and Old Health News Today – The Common Cold and Zinc
The common cold (rhinovirus) is one of the most widespread infections and let’s face it, quite annoying. A mineral the body requires for many enzyme functions in the body has shown to decrease the severity and duration of the common cold.
What is a cold?
It is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nose. The symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headache and fever. Zinc has been regarded as an immune booster and prescribed in medication for the common cold, however the research has not provided a clear conclusion.
Therefore Singh and Das, (2011) decided to assess the effects of zinc on the rhinovirus by searching a number of databases to find randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trials using zinc for 5 consecutive days to treat or for at least 5 months to prevent the infection. The authors aim in their own words was to To assess whether zinc (irrespective of the zinc salt or formulation used) is efficacious in reducing the incidence, severity and duration of common cold symptoms. In addition, we aimed to identify potential sources of heterogeneity in results obtained and to assess their clinical significance.”
The authors concluded that zinc taken within 24 hours of cold symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the cold in healthy people. Also, when supplementing for 5 months or more, it reduces the incidence of getting a cold. Thus, supplementing with zinc either on a regular basis or on the onset of a cold can either prevent or decrease the onset of cold.
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Updated on the 07th of November 2019 by the GC Biosciences Editorial team.
SINGH, M & DAS, R. R. 2013. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3