Zinc is a mineral with a strong astringent effect. That means it pulls moisture out, which dehydrates the area of contact. Excellent for helping the body kill off those cold viruses. In fact, a zinc deficiency will lower your immunity and make you more susceptible to infection.
Zinc Is A Super Hero When It Comes To Your Immunity
Zinc helps throttle up the immune system. Besides the candy cough drops on the market with eucalyptus and menthol, zinc lozenges actually make quite an impact in treating the symptoms of a cold. The question is, what does zinc do to help prevent colds ?
Blow One Side At A Time
From studies to date, research shows that zinc could help to reduce the duration of a cold. A positive effect was shown by supplementation but only within the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. In patients, it cuts the duration of the cold virus by a full day. Most colds last about 7-10 days.
NIH (National Institute of Health) think that zinc lozenges are “possibly effective” for decreasing the length of a cold’s symptoms.
There are studies showing that long-term zinc therapy reduced the chances of getting a cold but results were not conclusive. In addition, zinc is not safe to take every day because of its negative interactions with other minerals in your body. If you are on zinc therapy being recommended by your physician, than daily therapy is fine. Just make sure you are being periodically monitored by a health care professional.
The problems with taking zinc are side effects like a metallic taste, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. You don’t want to start supplementing with plain zinc tablets to treat a cold or symptoms of a cold. There is more chances of side effects. In addition, you need the type of zinc (gluconate or acetate) found in lozenges.
Zinc is a necessary nutrient for our bodies but is also an irritating metal when taken at high doses over long periods of time.
Contains Zinc Gluconate
That was the initial reason to make zinc into a lozenge. In this dosage form, manufacturers mask the metal taste with flavorings. Sugar is added to make it a hard crystalline medication that actually tastes pretty good. It should be sucked as slowly as possible. I am not kidding because that point is very important. The longer the zinc is in contact with the mucous membranes of your mouth, the better chance it has of getting rid of the cold virus. So be patient, suck and DO NOT CHEW! Read the package instructions for specific directions on when and how to take the zinc lozenge.
Zinc will interact with both tetracyline and quinolone (ciprofloxicin, ofloxicin, levofloxicin, etc.) antibiotics. Other medications may also be influenced by zinc so consult with your pharmacist for more details. With long-term use, zinc may cause problems by altering iron and copper levels in your body. You also don’t want to take this mineral with any other mineral supplements because of possible mineral-mineral interactions. Do not take zinc lozenges for any longer than three days unless you consult with your health care professional.
Renovating Your Mind recommends having a meal or at least a snack with each dose. This will help protect your stomach from the side effects. A very important point is to make sure you purchase either zinc gluconate or zinc acetate lozenges. They are the most effective because they release the zinc the right way into your body.
Do not ever use any type of zinc nasal product. You probably will not be able to find it in most marketplaces. The harmful effects of these products may lead to a loss of smell (anosmia), sometimes the loss is permanent. That is the reason for the FDA taking Zicam off the market a number of years ago. This product was available as zinc nasal spray and gel. I am giving you heads up, because there maybe similar products at some health food stores throughout the world.
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If you want to increase dietary zinc, the mineral is found in beans, beef, nuts, oatmeal and shellfish. Read the package labeling on breads and cereals. Many of those packaged products are fortified with zinc.