26 February 2011

Zinc May Stop or Shorten the Common Cold

This is one area that I have to wonder where science has been. I have used zinc lozenges for years, 40 plus, and it has always either shortened or alleviated my cold. The problem with even this, they have not determined the correct dosage or even a dosage range for this to be effective. Therefore, I would have to say these studies are just bad science with little redeeming value. They have again gone for sensationalism and not medical accuracy.

Zinc is an essential nutrient needed by the body, but many people think because it can help the common cold, more is better. Wrong, wrong, and definitely in error. Over dosing is toxic and causes damage to the nervous system. When ever I would get the start of a sore throat or other beginnings of a cold I would start sucking on zinc lozenges of 15 mg. Sometimes, I have no doubt, I took too large a dose in a 24 hour time frame, but I always stopped using them when I knew that the cold was not getting worse.

I know from personal experience that this does what they are claiming, but until they can use good science and determine proper dosages, or dosage ranges or establish the level at which toxic damage occurs, this will continue to be misused, abused, and people will damage their bodies.

Two statements that I found that are good to heed are “experts stress that more research is needed before the most effective kind of zinc can be determined, and they caution that in high doses -- more than 40 milligrams per day -- zinc can cause dizziness, headache, drowsiness, increased sweating, loss of muscle coordination, alcohol intolerance, hallucinations, and anemia.

They also warn against using zinc nasal sprays, which some reports suggest can cause loss of smell, or from using nasal swabs.”

So until research can tell us what is safe, I would strongly urge being cautious when taking zinc lozenges. Don't abuse it.

Read the articles – one in WebMd here, one from sciencedaily here, and another from BBC Health News here.

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