Take zinc to fight a cold, scientists say

By Stephen Adams, The Telegraph

While zinc is perhaps best known for protecting cars against rust, in minute quantities it has a host of important physiological functions.

Now a review of 15 clinical trials published since 1984 has concluded that taking supplements can reduce the length of a cold and help ward one off in the first place.

The conclusions of the Cochrane Collaboration, an Oxford-based not-for-profit institution that reviews existing studies to spot trends missed by looking at them individually, could lead in time to zinc replacing vitamin C as the cold 'cure' of choice.

The latest Cochrane Review found that people who took a zinc syrup solution or lozenge every two hours while they had a cold were twice as likely to have shed it within a week as those who took a placebo.

Children who took a zinc tablet once a day for at least five months were also a third less likely to get colds as those who took a placebo.

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