Is Taking Zinc Beneficial for Treating a Cold ?

Using zinc is one of the many home remedies people take when they feel like they have a common cold. Those who use it believe that it helps to shorten the duration of the cold and even lessen its symptoms.

The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus. This virus enters the body through the nasal passageway and the throat and multiplies rapidly once it is there.
The theory behind taking zinc is that it helps to prevent the virus from multiplying once it is in the body, thereby potentially shortening the duration of the cold. It also plays an important role in the body’s ability to resist infection and to help tissue repair.

The best way to take zinc is in lozenge form. It is recommended that the lozenge contain 13 to 23 milligrams of zinc and no more than four be taken per day, and not for more than four or five days. Taking too much zinc can actually suppress the immune system and can cause an upset stomach and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. While zinc is also available as a throat spray, it has side effects such as loss of the ability to smell.

Increasing the daily intake of zinc may help to prevent a cold.  Some foods where zinc  is found include:
• Shellfish
• Beans
• Dairy products
• Red meat
• Nuts

It is important to note that drinking coffee, tea or taking certain medications can inhibit the absorption of zinc by the intestines.

It is a good idea to speak with your physician before taking it to make sure that is safe for you. If you would like to be seen by a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center you may call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.