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Scientists find 'cure' for the common cold

Taking high doses of zinc can help shorten episodes of a cold by almost half, scientists have discovered. The results of 13 different trials showed tha...

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|Jul 28|magazine7 min read

Taking high doses of zinc can help shorten episodes of a cold by almost half, scientists have discovered.

The results of 13 different trials showed that dissolve-in-the-mouth zinc lozenges have the ability to cut the length of colds by 42 percent.

However, such results only came with extremely high doses of zinc.

Doses of over 75mg of zinc acetate were found to be effective, which is seven times over the European Union’s recommended daily zinc intake.

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Meanwhile, studies which tested zinc salts at a similar dose found the length of colds were reduced by 20 percent.

In five studies which tested zinc in doses lower than 75mg, no benefits were indentified.

A number of the studies also found that taking the zinc lozenges came with various adverse side effects.

Participants reported nausea, a bad taste in the mouth and stomach upsets while testing the mineral treatment.

Despite such side effects, scientists believe that the lozenges cause no long term health damage.

The most recent report and analysis of all the studies that have tested the potential of using zinc as a cure for colds has been published in the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal.

One of the lead researchers of this project, Dr Harri Hemila, said: “Many trials with daily zinc doses of over 75mg have found significant reduction in the duration of colds.

“Since a large proportion of participants remained without adverse effects, zinc lozenges might be useful as a treatment option for the common cold.

However, Hemila added: “More research is needed to find optimal compositions and treatment strategies.”