Does Zinc Work?
Cold and flu season is upon us. Rhinovirus is the typical virus that circulates throughout families and their children. It is typically experienced several times a year by adults and up to 10 times a year for children. It is spread throughout the school systems and although not typically a dangerous virus, it does make for sleepless nights and crying children. There are many over the counter medications that help alleviate symptoms long enough for their body to fight the rhinovirus off. There are also a multitude of “All-Natural” cold remedies but what is one item we should all have stocked in cold and flu season? The answer would be Zinc.
There are a multitude of studies that show zinc can shorten the duration of cold symptoms in adults. How much time will it shorten cold symptoms? When taken at higher dosages the duration of cold symptoms can be decreased by almost half. Zinc is typically available everywhere but there are certain forms that work better than others. Zinc acetate was more likely to work better than other oral zincs. Zinc is thought to work by limiting the virus from multiplying and entering the mucous membranes of nose and throat. This is a reason why it is best to take your zinc in the form of lozenges and syrup form. It is most effective if started in the first 24 hours of symptoms. If anyone in my household starts to have a runny nose, we also start zinc. If their symptoms stop within a few days, then the worst thing that has happened is we went through some of our zinc supply. If they have a full-blown cold, then at best we have had an early start.
If you do not have this in your medicine cabinet, now is the time to stock up. The last thing I want to do when sick is go shopping for something that may help. Purchase zinc acetate lozenges for the best results. Zinc gluconate is also a good source of zinc that will be successful if acetate isn’t available. Start to take Zinc at the first sign of symptoms for best results. When used properly you could shorten the amount of time of the cold by almost half. Follow the dosage amounts listed on the bottle or speak with your primary care physician if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or take ACE inhibitors.
Aaron Workman, DC
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