Take Zinc Within 24 Hours to Treat Common Cold

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Zinc supplements are used by many people in the North American to prevent and treat common cold.  However, few large scale studies have proved its efficacy. 

A new analysis published February 16 in the Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews seemed to provide the much needed evidence.  The analysis found that zinc reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people if the person takes zinc within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. 

The researchers searched multiple databases and reviewed all the clinical trials that looked at the efficacy of zinc to prevent and treat common cold.  

They identified 15 therapeutic and preventive trials enrolling 1360 participants.  They found that the intake of zinc was associated with a significant decrease in duration of common cold symptoms (P=0.001) and severity (P=0.04). 

In the therapeutic trial, the proportion of patients who remained symptomatic after 7 days of zinc treatment was lower in the zinc group than the control group (P=0.05).  

In the prevention trial, patients who took zinc group also fared better than the control group in incidence rate ratio for the development of a cold, school absence, and prescription of antibiotics (P<0.0001). 

The overall adverse events, which are mainly bad taste and nausea, were higher in the zinc group than the placebo group.  

Next time, when you feel like you are about to have common cold or just have common cold, you like to try the zinc supplements and see whether it will help you. 

Source: Cochrane Database Syst Rev.  February 16, 2011. 

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