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Nutrient - Further evidence that zinc helps fight the common cold

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) Dip CNM, MBANT, NTCC

According to a recent Cochrane Review, zinc supplements may reduce the severity and duration of the common cold, particularly if taken within a day of the onset of cold symptoms. 

To conduct the review, the authors carried out a full literature search for all randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials using zinc for at least five consecutive days to treat, or for at least five months to prevent, the common cold. In total, 13 therapeutic trials were included, covering a total of 1360 participants. 

When the researchers pooled the results from the trials where zinc was used for the common cold, they were able to show that zinc reduced the duration and severity of cold symptoms. When they looked at the prevention trial data, they were also able to report that zinc supplementation reduced the incidence of the common cold, school absence and antibiotic use in healthy children when used as a preventative measure.

Commenting on their results, the authors stated: “Zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people…When supplemented for at least five months, it reduces cold incidence, school absenteeism and prescription of antibiotics in children.”

Article References

Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;2:CD001364.

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