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Studies Show Zinc May Shorten the Duration of Colds

There's no cure for the common cold but a recent analysis of multiple clinical trials suggests that zinc lozenges may noticeably reduce the duration of cold symptoms.

The study was published in The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal on May 19, 2011.

The researchers, based out of the University of Helsinki, Finland, examined 13 placebo-controlled clinical trials which tested the findings of a 1984 study that found that dissolving 23mg of zinc in the mouth every other hour resulted in a seven day reduction in symptom duration.

Five of the trials examined showed no effect from zinc lozenges, but the researchers noted that all of these trials tested less than 75mg of zinc per day. Of the remaining 10 trials, 5 used daily doses of over 75mg of zinc acetate and 5 used the same dosage of other types of zinc salts.

The zinc acetate trials showed a 42% reduction in cold symptom duration and the trials using other zinc salts showed a reduction of 20%. The researchers stated that these trials suggest that the composition and dosage of zinc lozenges are important for shortening cold duration.

Zinc is present in every cell in our body and is essential for immune system function, memory, and maintaining normal blood sugar levels. It has also been linked to better eye health (especially as we get older) and lower levels of anger and depression in women.

If you’re looking to increase zinc in your diet, try adding some lean beef, beans, or pumpkin seeds. Zinc supplements have also been shown to be a safe and effective way to increase your zinc levels.

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