Zinc is 'unlikely to cure the common cold'

The fight against the common cold continues and a plethora of supplements are often used to attempt to combat the problem - even if the treatments have not been shown to have any positive effects.

Zinc is the latest treatment to be touted by the media as a potential cure for the common cold – however, the evidence these claims are based on appears to be inconclusive.

Several news providers have claimed that taking zinc lozenges or syrups may reduce the time it takes to get over a common cold.

However, when the research is scrutinised more closely, the claims appear to be unsubstantiated.

The Cochrane Review states: "The review showed that there is no strong evidence to indicate that zinc lozenges reduce the duration of the common cold. People taking zinc lozenges were more likely to complain of mouth irritation, unpleasant taste, feeling sick and diarrhoea.

"More research is needed to determine if zinc lozenges can reduce the duration of the common cold and the potential for zinc lozenges to adversely affect health."

1 Marshall IIR. "Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews". The Cochrane Library. Wednesday, February 17th 2011.

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