A recent study has found that Zinc supplements can reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms.
The new findings, published in The Cochrane Library, 2011 issue 2, concluded that taking zinc syrup, lozenges or tablets within a day of the onset of cold symptoms had a remedial effect, reducing both the severity and length of the illness.
Researchers analysed data from 15 trials involving 1,360 participants. After seven days, more patients who took zinc had fought off their colds than those who took placebos. Children who took 15mg of zinc syrup or zinc lozenges daily for five months, or longer, caught fewer colds and took less time off school.
Experts believe zinc medications may help prevent and lessen infections by coating the common cold viruses and stopping them from entering the body through the thin lining of the nose. It also appears to stop the virus from replicating, at least in laboratory tests.
Lead scientist Dr Meenu Singh, from the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, in Chandigarh, India, said: ‘This strengthens the evidence for zinc as a treatment for the common cold."
Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library, David Tovey, said: "This is a treatment that is showing some promise which, where treating the common cold is concerned, is unusual.”
"Although there are many over-the-counter cold remedies already available, we are not awash with things that can stop cold symptoms or greatly reduce their severity."