The header claims that “Taking Zinc Can Fight Off Colds and Flu”. This would be a huge benefit to so many people, since colds and flu are expected to be much worse this year (thanks a lot, Covid).
But, is this claim true? If so, how exactly could this mineral have such an impact on our health?
In this article, we’ll be deep-diving into the science behind these claims to find out whether or not zinc supplements can really protect you this winter.
What Are Zinc Supplements?
Zinc is a mineral found throughout the body. However, the body doesn’t produce or store it, meaning we need to obtain it through food or supplements.
Foods rich in zinc include:
- Red meat
- Some dairy products
Sadly, if you are vegan, it can be quite difficult to get enough zinc from your diet alone, since the food groups richest in it are animal-based.
Zinc is essential for our health for a few different reasons, including:
- Immune function
- Wound healing
- Blood clotting
- Thyroid function
- Fertility & reproduction
- Growth & development
Amongst other things!
Now, how does this relate to colds and flu?
Can Zinc Help To Fight Cold and Flu?
Since one of zinc’s top functions is to support the immune system, it makes sense that it could help prevent colds and flu.
So, let’s take a look at the research behind this.
The research published was a review of 28 separate studies on zinc for respiratory tract infections, involving almost 5,500 participants.
Respiratory tract infections are infections of the sinuses, throat, airways, or lungs – for example, the common cold, tonsillitis, chest infections, and pneumonia.
They concluded that taking zinc supplements orally or nasally could help people suffering from respiratory tract infections by helping to ease symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing.
They found that, on average:
- Symptoms cleared up 2 days sooner if patients took zinc orally or nasally.
- 19% of adults were likely to still have symptoms 7 days into their illness if they did not take zinc.
- Compared with a placebo, taking zinc supplements could prevent 5% of respiratory tract infections.
In conclusion, the evidence suggested that zinc supplements could help to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections, and even - in some cases - prevent the infections altogether.
The researchers suggested that zinc supplements could provide an excellent natural solution to managing cold and flu symptoms from home.
They also suggested that zinc could provide a better option for doctors and nurses to prescribe to patients, as opposed to antibiotics.
The overprescription of antibiotics (when they aren’t always entirely necessary) is a huge factor in the evolution of bacteria and viruses year-to-year. So, if zinc supplements could help to give patients a faster recovery from respiratory tract infections, this could be huge for the entire medical industry.
So, if you’re looking to manage your RTI symptoms from home, zinc supplements could be an excellent choice. However, the Department of Health and Social Care advises that you don’t take more than 25mg of zinc supplements per day, unless advised by your doctor.
We recommend the Core Nutrition Ionic Zinc drops.
They contain a 15mg concentration of zinc per serving. They can be added to water (or any liquid, for that matter), and taken orally for maximum absorption into the body.
Each bottle contains 120 servings – that’s a 4-month supply if you were to take it every single day!