Zinc for Colds: Lozenges & Nasal Sprays
You've probably heard a lot about zinc for colds. But is zinc really effective for reducing the duration of cold symptoms? Here's what you should know about zinc and colds.
What is zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in almost every cell. Zinc has antioxidant effects and is vital to the body's resistance to infection. It's also important for tissue repair.
Zinc is found naturally in shellfish, beef and other red meats, nuts and seeds, beans, and milk and cheese. Tea, coffee, and certain medications may interfere with zinc absorption in the intestines.
Is zinc an effective cold remedy?
Researchers have studied the use of zinc as a cold remedy and as a way to treat the cold virus. Still, the data from years of scientific studies is mixed.
In some studies, researchers found that zinc lozenges or nasal sprays decreased the duration of colds. In other studies, they found no differences in cold symptoms between those who took zinc and those who took a placebo or sugar pill.
What do these findings on zinc and colds mean to you and your family? For now, the study results on using zinc as a cold remedy are inconclusive. For every study showing a positive benefit with zinc, there's another study showing no benefit at all. In fact, it's believed that if there is any benefit in taking zinc or zinc lozenges, it is very minor.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Back to Medications Index