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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Zinc For The Common Cold?

May 10, 2012

(Ivanhoe Newswire) –Move over cough syrup and cough drops, there´s another remedy that could cut down cold symptoms for adults. Canadian researchers say oral zinc treatments could not only lessen common cold symptoms, but shorten the duration.

Canadian researchers looked at 17 randomized controlled trials with more than 2,000 participants who were between 1 and 65 years old. The double-blinded trials included placebos as well as oral zinc. The authors found that, compared with placebos, zinc significantly reduced the duration of cold symptoms. Researchers also found that high doses of ionic zinc were more effective than lower doses for shortening the duration of symptoms.

“We found that orally administered zinc shortened the duration of cold symptoms,” writes Dr. Michelle Science, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, with coauthors at McMaster University was quoted as saying.

It´s not all good news on oral zinc. Researchers also noted that the potential remedy has common adverse effects. Participants taking the treatment were more likely to experience bad taste and nausea. In addition, there was weak evidence that people taking zinc were less likely to have symptoms after one week, and there was no difference in symptoms between the two groups at three days. The zinc treatment had no apparent effect on children.

“Until further evidence becomes available, there is only a weak rationale for physicians to recommend zinc for the treatment of the common cold,” the authors concluded. “The questionable benefits must be balanced against the potential adverse effects.”

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 2012