Taking zinc supplements in the form of syrup, tablets or lozenges within a day of onset of cold symptoms helps to reduce the severity and speeds the recovery of common cold, say experts from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India.
According to this new study, patients who took zinc supplements after every couple of hours had relief from symptoms when compared to those who took placebos. It was also found that children who took about 15ml zinc syrup or lozenges daily for about 5months or longer caught fewer colds. It also reduced the use of antibiotics among children. Due to toxicity concerns zinc cannot be used for a long-term. Excessive amounts of zinc can lead to nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. However research is ongoing to determine the exact doses that should be given to the patient. The importance of zinc for the immune system is well known and zinc deficiency increases susceptibility to infections.
AdvertisementThe idea that zinc can fight colds was supported by a study done in 1984, which suggested that zinc lozenges could reduce the duration of symptoms, however so far other studies had failed to prove this. Director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, Professor Ronald Eccles is doubtful about the benefits of zinc as a treatment for cold in current formulations. Lead scientist Dr. Meenu Singh, said, "This review strengthens the evidence for zinc as a treatment for the common cold. However, at the moment it is still difficult to make a general recommendation because we do not know very much about the optimum dose, formulation or length of treatment."