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Study backs zinc supplements for common cold

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Common cold symptoms can be cut down by taking zinc supplements, new research has indicated.

A study published in The Cochrane Library claims that taking zinc lozenges, syrup or tablets within the first 24 hours of the symptoms of a cold can limit both the length and severity of the illness.

The report, which saw researchers analyse data involving 1,360 patients, found that more people who had taken zinc supplements had shaken off their cold within a week than others who took dummy placebos.

Lead scientist Dr Meenu Singh, from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, said: “This review strengthens the evidence for zinc as a treatment for the common cold. However, at the moment, it is still difficult to make a general recommendation because we do not know very much about the optimum dose, formulation or length of treatment.

“Our review only looked at zinc supplementation in healthy people. But it would be interesting to find out whether zinc supplementation could help asthmatics, whose asthma symptoms tend to get worse when they catch a cold.”

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