Taking zinc supplements can reduce the severity and length of a cold according to recent research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. This study reviewed a large number of other studies investigating the impact of zinc on the common cold, and concluded that taking zinc supplements could reduce the length of a cold by two to three days, and could also help to ease the symptoms.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and MacMaster University, Ontario. It was a systematic data review that included 17 studies involving more than two thousand participants. All of the studies compared the impact on a cold of taking zinc supplements with the impact of a placebo treatment or no treatment at all.
How does zinc shorten a cold?
Zinc is thought to be one of the most important minerals in the human body, and it is required for over 300 different enzymes to do the jobs they are designed to do. Zinc can be found in the liver, pancreas, kidneys, bones and muscles. Zinc plays a part in physical growth and reproduction, but this study was mainly concerned with the role it has to play in the immune system.
Zinc is necessary for maturing T cells in the thymus gland, and these T cells destroy cancer cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and other unwelcome microorganisms. The common cold can be caused by several viruses, but the most common are rhinoviruses. Research into the action of zinc has shown that it blocks the replication of rhinoviruses and a number of other viruses which affect the respiratory system.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency is a widespread problem, and it is estimated that most people only receive around 50% of their recommended daily allowance of zinc through their diet. Even if we eat a healthy diet, depletion of zinc in the soil means that vegetable and crops are unable to absorb it. Any zinc that can be found in food is often destroyed if that food is processed in any way. Zinc deficiency can also be caused by a generally poor diet, the process of aging, and high levels of stress.
The symptoms of zinc deficiency are very varied and can include:
- Behavioral disturbances
- Poor sleep
- Slow wound healing
- White spots on the nails
- Regular infections
- Hair loss
- Loss of taste and smell
- Morning sickness in pregnancy
- Mood swings and irritability
- Lack of stamina
If you find that you regularly crave chocolate then you are probably deficient in zinc.
Good sources of zinc
In theory it is possible to get the zinc you need from a balanced diet and dietary sources of zinc include ginger, seafood, eggs, liver, lean meat, whole grains, sunflower seeds and dried beans. However, as discussed earlier, soil depletion often means that these foods donâ€™t contain as much zinc as they should.
The best way to ensure your zinc intake is adequate is to use Zinc Lozenges. They combine three activated forms of zinc, which are citrate, aspartate, and glycinate. Everybody absorbs zinc differently but this formula is efficiently absorbed and utilized by everyone.
Zinc Lozenges also contain Vitamin C, a proven antioxidant, echinacea purpurea, an antiviral which boosts immune function, slippery elm which soothes irritated mucous membranes, and OPC 85+, an antioxidant, anti viral and anti-inflammatory agent.