Study claims that Zinc supplements can help with colds and coughs. They also speed up recovery by two days.

  • Researchers looked into whether zinc could lower the risk of developing respiratory infections.
  • Studies found vitamin slightly reduced infection rates and cut length of illness
  • They found that it was not clear how much and how long to take.

A study suggests that zinc supplements could help prevent colds and coughs.

Australian researchers reviewed numerous studies on the effect of nutrients on respiratory tract infections.

They concluded that there was’some evidence’ that zinc may help prevent symptoms such as a runny nose and high temperatures.

The average person who takes the supplement sees their illness disappear two days earlier.

However, the team acknowledged that more trials were required before it could be used against Covid.  

Zinc is essential for immune function, inflammation, and digestion. It can be found in meats, cheeses, and bread.

The NHS says people can get all of the recommended amount  — 9.5mg for men and 7mg for women —through a varied and balanced diet.

Health chiefs also warn against taking too much of the nutrient through supplements because it reduces how much copper the body can absorb — which can lead to an iron deficiency and weakened bones.  

Researchers concluded there is 'some evidence' zinc may prevent symptoms — such as coughing, congestion and a sore throat — and shorten the duration of respiratory infections

Researchers concluded there is ‘some evidence’ zinc may prevent symptoms — such as coughing, congestion and a sore throat — and shorten the duration of respiratory infections

The University of Western Sydney examined 28 trials of zinc in RTIs that involved almost 5,500 people. 

The review, published in BMJ Open, found taking zinc orally or through a nasal spray prevented five respiratory tract infections in 100 people per month.

What does zinc do? 

Zinc is helpful in making new cells, enzymes, and healing wounds.

It also processes carbohydrates and fats from food.

Good sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, bread, cereal and dairy foods, such as cheese.

A woman needs 7mg, while a man needs 9.5mg.

Zinc intake can reduce the amount of copper the body can absorb. This can cause anemia and weaken bones.

According to health officials, you should be capable of getting all the zinc from a balanced diet.

Unless a doctor has instructed otherwise, it is best to not exceed 25 mg of zinc daily.

Source:  NHS

Zinc supplemented people performed better than those who received placebo supplements. 

According to trial data, 19 more adults per 100 had symptoms on the seventh-day of illness if they did not have zinc.

While the vitamin did not improve patients’ average daily symptoms severity, there was an improvement in patients who took it on day three, as compared to those who didn’t. 

However, supplements didn’t reduce the risk of developing symptoms after catching rhinovirus — one of the major causes of the common cold. 

The side effects of zinc were 40% more common in those who took it.

While there were no serious side effects to zinc supplementation, the researchers stated that these could not be ruled out. 

Researchers claimed that they couldn’t determine whether the vitamin was effective against Covid due to the pending results of these trials.

The vitamin was originally promoted as a Covid cure during the pandemic. However it has been proven in trials that it has no noticeable effect. 

The team concluded that zinc is an option for people who want to manage their respiratory infections themselves. It appears to have’marginal advantages’ and does not pose potential risks to other over-the counter medications.

But lead researcher Dr Jennifer Hunter said there is ‘considerable uncertainty’ over how zinc should be taken.   

The recommended dosage is still to be determined. However, as little as 15mg per daily may prove to be effective, according to their analysis.