Do zinc lozenges shorten common colds? | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News

Do zinc lozenges shorten common colds?

By
2:55pm, June 16, 2003

Since 1984, researchers have debated whether zinc helps people to fight off colds. In that time, five studies have found that it helps, while five others established no such benefit.

A report in the Aug. 15 Annals of Internal Medicine now tilts the balance in favor of zinc, finding that lozenges taken every few hours at the start of a cold slash its average duration nearly in half.

Researchers gave 25 people zinc acetate dihydrate lozenges within 24 hours of the onset of a cold; 23 others received an inert substitute. Both lozenges tasted of peppermint. Neither researchers nor participants were told who was receiving zinc until afterward. Participants took a lozenge every 2 to 3 hours for 4 or 5 days.

People getting 80 milligrams of zinc a day reported their overall cold symptoms abated in less than 5 days, compared with 8 days on average for the group getting placebos, says study coauthor Pranatharthl H. Chandrasekar, a physician at Wayne State Universit

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content