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Zinc Relieves Cold Symptoms

Has the cold bug crawled into your home yet? The most frequent cause of the common cold is rhinovirus infection, although as many as 200 other viruses may also be responsible. U.S. adults and children suffer from an average of two to six colds per year; despite the plethora of so-called "cold remedies" lining store shelves, no single proven treatment has been identified.

Zinc has received recent attention for its potential value in combating cold symptoms. To investigate this potential, 50 volunteers recruited within 24 hours of developing symptoms of the common cold were administered one zinc lozenge (12.8 mg zinc acetate) or placebo every two to three hours as long as they were experiencing symptoms. Overall, severity and duration of cold symptoms were reduced in the zinc group compared to the placebo group:

  • Overall symptoms: 4.5 days (zinc) vs. 8.1 days (placebo);

  • Cough: 3.1 days (zinc) vs. 6.3 days (placebo);

  • Nasal congestion: 3.3 days (zinc) vs. 4.7 days (placebo);

  • Nasal discharge: 4.1 days (zinc) vs. 5.8 days (placebo); and

  • Sore throat: 2.0 days (zinc) vs. 3.0 days (placebo).

Where can you find zinc? These days, zinc lozenges are available at most drugstores and supermarkets alongside the more traditional cold medicine formulas. For more information on the power of zinc, contact your doctor of chiropractic.


Prasad AS, Fitzgerald JT, Beck FWJ, et al. Duration of symptoms and plasma cytokine levels in patients with the common cold treated with zinc acetate. Annals of Internal Medicine 2000: Vol. 133, pp245-52.

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