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Zinc Helps Shorten Colds, Study Says

Zinc Works at Shortening Colds, Study Says

Taking zinc can shorten the life of the common cold, says a review of numerous medical studies. And while chicken soup might soothe the soul, zinc can make symptoms like a runny nose and sore throat feel less harsh and also shorten the length of a cold by a few days. The only catch is that it must be taken at the very first signs of a cold to work.

Fifteen studies looking at the effects of zinc on the common cold were reviewed by Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and results showed that the benefits of zinc "were significant," reports The New York Times. In one study, zinc cut the life of a cold from seven days to four days, and in another study, the duration of a cough was reduced by three days. What doctors don't yet know is why zinc seems to work or which zinc products work best. And with so many zinc products on the market, this unknown piece of knowledge can make for a confusing shopping spree. While all of the studies used various forms of zinc in a range of doses, the general consensus is that it does work to shorten colds and make symptoms less severe. Have any of you found success with zinc?

Join The Conversation
Kristen-Hawley Kristen-Hawley 6 years
I swear by Zicam. I've become so accustomed to taking it for a cold that when I didn't take it recently, I was completely sidelined by a cold that could have been nearly prevented. Highly, highly recommend.
Dingasaurus Dingasaurus 6 years
Just don't use the nasal zinc. It's been linked to anosmia!
bellakaoru bellakaoru 6 years
Once a week I take a zinc and a vitamin C supplement, and I rarely get sick. When I do start to feel a cold coming on I take the zinc and C more frequently and they seem to help.
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