Zinc...A Cure For The Common Cold?

Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2004

The common cold is caused by a variety of viruses that infect the breathing passages. Because these viruses are easily passed from one person to another the common cold is one of the most frequent illnesses in the world. Affecting both children and adults, colds account for countless hours of lost time from work and play.

The symptoms of a common cold include nasal drainage, cough, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, and sneezing. There is no known treatment for the common cold.

Zinc has been shown, in preliminary studies, to inhibit the reproduction of viruses and may promote the production of the virus-fighter interferon. In order to determine the effectiveness of zinc lozenges as treatment for the common cold, Sherif B. Mossad, M.D. and colleagues studied 100 patients at the Cleveland Clinic. Patients treated received zinc gluconate lozenges within 24 hours of contracting a cold. They continued to dissolve the lozenges in their mouths every 2 hours while awake until all cold symptoms had gone away. The patients recorded their symptoms on a daily log.

The results of the Cleveland Clinic study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (1996;125:81-88), showed a significantly shorter duration of symptoms (4.4 days vs. 7.6 days) in patients taking the zinc lozenges compared to those who were given placebo (non-zinc) lozenges.

The results of this study require the support of others to determine if patients with the common cold should take zinc. If verified, they could lead to significant economic savings in lost wages and labor as well as increased playtime for those who are released earlier from the clutches of the common cold. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaachhoooooo!

For more, please visit the following MedicineNet.com areas:

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors