For being such a minor illness, a cold sure can put a heck of a damper on your week. It will leave you feeling downright miserable. But despite being sick as dog you’re usually not quite sick enough to hide in bed.
And warm weather versions, are often the worst of the lot. Because while everyone else is enjoying some fun in the sun you’re stuck clutching a box of tissues, and sniffling and sneezing your way through the day.
Experts say old cold-fighting remedy really works
If you’re anything like me you keep your ears peeled for any tips or tricks that can send colds packing, and get you back on your feet faster. Which is why I was excited to read about some new research on an old cold-fighting favorite that had fallen out of favor with some folks.
Good news. If you’re a fan of sucking on zinc lozenges to get over a cold, Finnish researchers say you’re onto something.
Over the years there have been some conflicting reports about the effectiveness of zinc lozenges for shortening the length of a cold. Which has left a lot of folks confused about whether they’re worth investing in.
Get over the common cold three times faster
But now a report out of the University of Helsinki has confirmed zinc acetate lozenges not only can help shorten your cold, they can help you recover an incredible three times faster!1
The meta-analysis, which crunched the data from three randomized controlled trials on zinc and the common cold, found that by day five of a cold 70 percent of folks taking zinc acetate had recovered, compared to just 27 percent of those on the placebo.
Dosages in the three studies ranged from 80 to 92 mg a day.
Experts say taking a higher dose of zinc for a short period time—like the week or two you’d be taking them to get rid of your cold—is perfectly safe for most folks. Typically there are very few side effects reported even for those taking 100 to 150 mg for months on end. (Although we DON’T recommend you do that unless instructed by your doc, of course.)
Making zinc acetate work for YOU
If you’re interested in putting these findings to work for you there are a few things to keep in mind.
Look for a zinc acetate lozenge. Other forms may work too, but weren’t included in this study.
A number of lozenges on the market don’t provide as much zinc as the lozenges used in the study, so check the label and do the math. The good news is when I took a look I was able to find plenty of options online. Just make sure you’re not going over 100 mg of elemental zinc a day.
Also, check the label for ingredients other than zinc. The less the better.
Researchers warn that formulas that use binders, such as citric acid, may not work the same way. These formulas could turn out to be just as effective, but once again they weren’t included in this study so we just don’t know.
Timing is important for zinc to be effective
Which brings me to my final bit of advice. To get the most out of your zinc you should start taking your lozenges as soon as you feel the first hint of a cold. Which means you should probably do what I just did, which is order your lozenges ahead of time so you have them on hand when you need them.
(If you’re unsure whether what you have is a cold or the flu click here for our handy chart to help you figure it out.)
Keep in mind that zinc might not work for everyone. So if you find that the lozenges aren’t effective for you just go ahead and scratch them off your list of cold-fighting tricks.
Some folks complain about the taste of zinc lozenges, but honestly a bit of an unpleasant taste seems like a small price to pay to get rid of a cold three times faster. Don’t you agree?
1. “Zinc Acetate Lozenges May Improve the Recovery Rate of Common Cold Patients: An Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis,” Open Forum Infectious Diseases 4(2), April 2017
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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