MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: What is the latest info on using Zinc in lozengers to combat cold symtoms?

Date: Fri Feb 2 21:41:44 2001
Posted By: Mark Madachik, PD, Heartland Farm/Nursery
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 978619708.Me

Hi Joan,

There are many different strains of the cold virus and so at present, it is impossible to be inoculated against them all. Colds are more prevalent in the wintertime as with closed rooms and heating systems the virus is easily spread from person to person. The duration of the cold symptoms will depend on the strength of the virus and the immune system as well as the treatments used.

There really is no strong evidence from trials that taking zinc can help improve the common cold. A virus causes colds and it has been thought that zinc might stop the virus from growing. My reviews found no strong evidence from trials that taking zinc lozenges can help recovery from a cold. Most zinc formulas have adverse effects such as mouth irritation, distortion of taste, feeling sick and diarrhea. More research is needed on whether zinc has any value in relieving colds. One parameter I often use to judge a product’s worth is its shelf life after the initial marketing push is over. By this I mean how much is being purchased by the consumer after all the hoopla has subsided. Not very scientific but most consumers will try most anything once in hopes that it might actually work, but the numbers diminish quickly if positive results are not noticed. Zinc lozenges have slowed to a snails pace.

It is important to maintain a healthy immune system, which can give some protection against viruses and also help to reduce the extent of the secondary bacterial infections such as chest infections and sinusitis. A diet high in fresh vegetables and unrefined foods is recommended, avoiding processed foods, tobacco and too much alcohol. There are many products available to help ease the symptoms of a cold such as menthol-eucalyptus, throat sweets, and different forms of analgesics (Tylenol, Motrin, or generic equivalent act as antipyretics) for fever etc. It’s a good idea to take an expectorant (ask your pharmacist) since this helps to loosen phlegm.

Useful supplements to boost the immune system and aid the healing process.

·Vitamin C 1-2 grams daily – vitamin C has been shown
to shorten the duration of a cold though the exact time is debatable.
·Vitamin A 7,500iu daily – for mucous membrane health.
·Vitamin B complex (any brand) daily.
·Garlic –High Potency – garlic has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-catarrh properties
·Fluids, fluids, and more fluids.

Hoped this helped..Mark

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