Stiffling the Sniffles? Zap It With Zinc

By Caroline – February 2, 2011

Every time a coworker walks by my desk I hold my breath. At the grocery store, after I am handed my change, I whip out my hand sanitizer. I’ve stopped making laps through the break room to peruse the communal snacks. The cold virus is out in full force.

While scientists have yet to discover a cure for the common cold, research indicates that zinc may be the next best thing. A report in The Journal of Infectious Diseases found that zinc lozenges reduce coughing to two days from five, and shortens the duration of a cold to four days from a week. Additionally, zinc aggressively cuts down on the severity of symptoms.

The report pooled the findings of 15 different studies, all of which used different forms of zinc (but no nasal sprays) with varying dosages. While the study neither suggests a specific brand, dose, or form of zinc, the demonstrated effects make a strong case for the use of zinc in cold relief. Regardless of what brand you select, make sure to use it early (at the first sign of a cold) and often.

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