Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Zinc shortens duration of colds

Taking supplemental zinc through the first few days of a cold may shorten the misery of an upper respiratory infection, according to Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Zinc also cut the number of days that kids missed school because of being sick and reduced the use of antibiotics by cold sufferers. It also appeared to prevent colds in people who used it over the course of about five months. “This is great news,” says Kay Dickersin, PhD, an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “We really don’t have interventions for colds that work.”

An analysis representing more than 1,500 people found about 40% fewer colds in those who were taking zinc supplements to prevent colds compared to those taking a placebo. Side effects reported by zinc users included nausea and a bad or metallic taste in the mouth.

Bonnie - the nausea comes from taking zinc on an empty stomach. It should be taken with a protein meal. The metallic taste usually means that your zinc levels are optimal. Supplementing extra for a short time will not be harmful.

This research is obviously not a secret to my clients. I have recommended zinc for colds since I began counseling.

A few important things to take note of:

1) Do not take more than 50 mg. of total supplemental zinc per day. Amounts of 50 mg. per day can be toxic.
2) You may need tiny amount of copper (if not in your multivitamin/mineral). Zinc can deplete copper. However, if you drink filtered tap water that comes from copper pipes, you do not need extra copper.
3) Try to take a chelated source of supplemental zinc for better absorption.

No comments: