Ginger Hultin, RD, Seattle-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that taking supplements to try to protect against the coronavirus has spiked up as people are looking for fresh ways and means to avoid contracting Covid-19.

Even though Covid-19 has no pill or vaccine that can cure or prevent it todate, zinc is a mineral that may help in this area as it boosts and strengthens overall health and immunity, even more so if one is under stress.

Consuming a daily dose of 50 milligrams of zinc could offer some protection in the Covid-19 pandemic by way of increasing your resistance against the viral infection, according to a study in the journal Clinical Immunity. However, the study also revealed this benefit is limited to only those who suffer from a zinc deficiency.

Hultin is cautiously optimistic: “The common cold is a coronavirus, and research shows that zinc has an undeniable effect on immune response,” she says. “However, a cold is not Covid-19, and this data is very preliminary.”

Shortening the common cold

As we know, there is no cure for the common cold yet, but you may have heard that taking zinc may speed up your recovery from it. A study done in 2017 published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open, interestingly found that taking 80 to 92 milligrams of zinc lozenges a day at the onset of the first sneeze, helps to reduce the duration of a cold by 33 percent.

Open Forum Infectious Diseases published a review back in 2017 which also provides similar findings. Zinc acetate lozenges may speed up the recovery rate from the common cold. A trial revealed that 70 percent of people with colds who took zinc lozenges daily had recovered by the fifth day, compared to 27 percent who didn’t take zinc lozenges.

Rhinovirus is a virus that resides in the nasal passages and throat, which causes most colds. Researchers believe that zinc prevents the rhinovirus from multiplying. Researchers also believe zinc prevents the virus from lodging in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.

How to take zinc

Saba Hamiduzzaman, MD, a critical care physician at Loma Linda University Health in California says the zinc in multivitamins may not have the same effect to shorten the effects of the common cold, compared to zinc taken via lozenges and syrup. She reasons, “The syrup and lozenge allow zinc to adhere to the upper airway passage which can decrease the severity and duration of the rhinovirus multiplying,”.

The presence of at least two or more of the following symptoms indicate the onset of a cold: nasal drainage (runny nose), nasal congestion (blocked nose), feeling feverish, coughing, a sore or hoarse throat, muscle ache, headaches or frequent sneezing spells. Researchers say you should start taking zinc lozenges within 24 hours from when the initial symptoms begin to emerge.

Take zinc with caution

Studies have shown there are no serious effects of taking recommended amounts of zinc although “zinc toxicity can occur and interfere with the absorption of other metals,” says Dr. Waleed Javaid, MD, director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York. However, “the toxicity can occur with a high level and chronic intake, so limited use may not have any substantial side effects.”

Usage of intranasal zinc is not recommended by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as it could cause the loss of smell permanently. Be aware of how much zinc you take, says Dr. Hamiduzzaman, because continuous and chronic use of a zinc supplement can harm the nervous system and cause anemia in some people.

Read the labels of zinc lozenges sold in pharmacies. Many brands of zinc lozenges have dosages that are too low to be effective. Look out for certain brands that contain citric acid its combination with zinc will set off a negative reaction that will inhibit the zinc from being released into your body.

Researchers suggest trying zinc lozenges and deciding for yourself if they help you recover faster from the common cold, while at the same time consider the benefits and the risks that come with it.

As mentioned earlier, do check the list of ingredients in zinc lozenges and the recommended dosage. Better yet, Dr. Javaid advises to“consult with your health care provider to make sure it’s OK to use.”

By Aaron
15th May 19:31

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