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Zinc Lozenges Linked to Shorter Duration of the Common Cold

Zinc has 18 European Food Safety Authority-approved health claims, the highest of any mineral. A recent study suggests that zinc lozenges may reduce the duration of a common cold by almost three days.

Participants in the study included 199 people with a common cold. The majority of the participants were female, and 80% were between 20 and 50 years of age. One third of the participants had allergies. They were placed in one of three randomized, placebo-controlled trials in which zinc acetate lozenges were administered. The zinc acetate levels were kept above 75 mg/day.

The researchers used a one-stage and a two-stage meta-analysis. The one-stage analysis resulted in a cold reduction of 2.73 days and the two-stage analysis in a reduction of 2.94 days. The reduction was compared with the average seven day duration of the common cold.

The effect of the zinc lozenges was not effected by allergy status, smoking, baseline severity of the common cold, age, gender or ethnic group.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 5, 2016, in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

The human body cannot make zinc, so it’s important to get it from food or supplement sources. Zinc can be found in many foods, including oysters, beef, crab, fortified cereals, lobster, beans, yogurt, nuts, milk, chicken, cheese, and oatmeal. You can also consume zinc in a supplement form, but be careful not to take too much. Intakes of greater than 150 mg per day have been associated with negative side effects, such as a weakened immune system.

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