DIRECT ANSWER – Highly Beneficial
Zinc is a micro element found in trace quantities in our body. Inspite of being in trace amounts, it has been found to be more beneficial than Vitamin C when it comes to common cold treatment and prevention.
Studies targeted towards use of Zinc lozenges have found high benefits in prevention and treatment of commmon cold.
Zinc is available in various compostitions and forms in the market
- Zinc gluconate lozenges
- Zinc sulphate lozenges
- Zinc gluconate nasal spray
- Combination of zinc and Vitamin C
Zinc supplementation when used as common cold preventive measure for a period of 5 months reduced the incidences in adults and children by 25%-50%.
And if common cold did occur, there was reduced severity and duration of common cold symptoms as compared to those who did not take zinc prophylaxis.
When zinc sulphate tablets were given to school children to study the effect of Zinc prophylaxis on Common cold, significant decrease in the number of common cold episodes and common cold duration was seen in children and as a result there was decrease in absence rate.
Similar to its effect as prophylactic role, the role of Zinc in treament was found to be highly effective but with certain points to keep in mind.
Zinc should be started immediately or maximum within 2 hours after onset of first symptom.
Zinc lozenges available as 13.3mg zinc gluconate should be taken every 2 hourly when the patient is awake for best results.
When started as per above conditions, it was found to decrease the duration of common cold symptoms such as cough (50% shorter), headache (60% shorter) nasal congestion and drainage (40%-60% shorter), by approximately 7 days in 60% – 86% of patients.
There was also decrease in severity of the above symptoms.
Apart from the above benefits, use of Zinc tablet as treatment measure also reduced the requirement of anti-biotics in common cold patients.
Though the Zinc gluconate intranasal formulations did not show any significant impact either in treatment or in prevention in most of the studies.
The reason for this effect of Zinc is believed to be due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The limiting factor for use of Zinc tablets is its side effect of unpleasent taste which was found in 80% of the patients. Other side effects include- mouth irritation and nausea (20%).
The intranasal formulations of Zinc formulations also caused pain in the olfactory regions (which is approx the upper areas of your nose)
Is vitamin C the worth treatment for Common Cold ??
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ZINC lozenges are great both as preventive as well as treatment measures for common cold medication and are recommended for adults and children, but only if you can tolerate its side effect of unplesant taste.
Vitamin C AND Zinc combinations available in the market are highly effective.
Intranasal formations should be avoided because of their low effect and pain caused by them.
- Zinc for the common cold by Meenu Singh , Rashmi R Das
- The role of zinc lozenges in treatment of the common cold by M L Garland , K O Hagmeyer
- Ineffectiveness of zinc gluconate nasal spray and zinc orotate lozenges in common-cold treatment: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial by George A Eby , William W Halcomb
- Ineffectiveness of intranasal zinc gluconate for prevention of experimental rhinovirus colds by R B Turner
- Reduction in duration of common colds by zinc gluconate lozenges in a double-blind study by G A Eby, D R Davis, W W Halcomb
- Effect of treatment with zinc gluconate or zinc acetate on experimental and natural colds by R B Turner , W E Cetnarowski
- Zinc gluconate and the common cold. Review of randomized controlled trials by S Marshall
- Duration and severity of symptoms and levels of plasma interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor, and adhesion molecules in patients with common cold treated with zinc acetate by Ananda S Prasad , Frances W J Beck, Bin Bao, Diane Snell, James T Fitzgerald
- The prophylactic and therapeutic effectiveness of zinc sulphate on common cold in children by Zafer Kurugöl 1, Münevver Akilli, Nuri Bayram, Guldane Koturoglu
- Treatment of naturally acquired common colds with zinc: a structured review by Thomas J Caruso 1, Charles G Prober, Jack M Gwaltney Jr
- Zinc gluconate lozenges for treating the common cold. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by S B Mossad , M L Macknin, S V Medendorp, P Mason
- An open-label, single-center, phase IV clinical study of the effectiveness of zinc gluconate glycine lozenges (Cold-Eeze) in reducing the duration and symptoms of the common cold in school-aged subjects by Betty Howell McElroy 1, Shelley Porter Miller
- Duration of symptoms and plasma cytokine levels in patients with the common cold treated with zinc acetate. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial by A S Prasad , J T Fitzgerald, B Bao, F W Beck, P H Chandrasekar