My Blog

Posts for: July, 2013

By Diji Vaughan, MD.FAAP
July 17, 2013
Tags: zinc   cold remedies   zinc lozenges  

 

The incredibly vast wonderful matrix of cells, tissues, organs and enzymes that make up the human body is much more complex that would be unraveled in our respective lifetimes. The role tiny elements called trace elements play in ensuring a smooth run of affairs from moment to moment cannot be overstated. Zinc, is one of the elite members in this league of trace elements. Many benefits have been touted to Zinc, and scientific testing has validated many of these. One of the more colloquially perceived strengths of Zinc is under review today, Does Zinc cure the common cold? The common cold is regarded as one of the most widespread illnesses and is a leading cause of visits to the doctor and absenteeism from school and work.

As the argument rages on, researchers pooled a number of randomized controlled trials designed to answer this question with very rigid selection criteria. This meta-analysis meets one of the highest pedigree of medical scrutiny and the study was published in the Cochrane Systemic Database Reviews in June 2013. Researchers, Das and Singh collectively had looked at the effects of Zinc if any and what optimal dosage it is likely to be beneficial in ameliorating symptoms or curing the cold symptoms in about 1900 study participants over a 5 day period.The study findings showed that Zinc when administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration of common cold symptoms in healthy people but some caution is needed due to the heterogeneity of the data. As the zinc lozenges formulation that has been widely studied show, there is a significant reduction in the duration of cold at a dose of >/= 75 mg/day, for those considering using zinc it would be best to use it at this dose throughout the cold. Regarding prophylactic zinc supplementation, to keep the cold at bay for months at a time, currently no firm recommendation can be made because of insufficient data. When using zinc lozenges (not as syrup or tablets) the likely benefit has to be balanced against side effects, notably a bad taste and nausea.

Excess ingestion of trace elements can have its own problems and always discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.