Zinc is now being proclaimed to be a very effective way to fight common cold. Taking zinc within 24 hours of starting of cold symptoms helps to shorten the duration of the cold. A study was conducted at University of Helsinki where a bunch of sniffling people were divided into two. One bunch was given zinc lozenges (diamond-shaped zinc tablet for cold) while the other bunch was given some other form of medication. The ones who took zinc had their cold’s duration shortened by 40 per cent.
How does it work?
Cold is caused by rhinovirus and according to a research, zinc works by stopping this virus from multiplying. It also helps to stop the rhinovirus from lodging in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.
How much do you need?
80 mg of zinc is required to reduce the symptoms of a cold. Spinach, kidney beans, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds are sources of zinc but you will have to eat a lot of these to get the required amount of zinc during cold, so opting for supplements is easier. Though the upper safe limit for zinc consumption in a day is 40 mg but the amount can be exceeded over 40 mg till the time you have cold. One zinc tablet every three hours is safe as more than that can depress your immune system.
– Some unpleasant side effects can be vomiting, foul taste in your mouth, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
– Zinc can interact with your other medicines.
– Using zinc in the form of nasal spray may make you lose your sense of smell.
– Zinc can only shorten the duration and not ease or prevent the symptoms.