Suffering from a cold? Study says zinc could shorten it

(Photo: WKRN)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The cold season is here, but have no fear – a recent study reveals a certain mineral may shorten your suffering.

The study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine concludes taking a certain type of zinc at a certain dosage can curb the duration of the common cold.

“The thing that you do have to be careful [about] though is which type of zinc that you buy,” cautioned Dr. Rosemary Olivero, Spectrum Health’s section chief of infectious disease.

The study released in May states taking 75 mg a day of zinc gluconate or zinc acetate will shorten a cold by as many as three days.

“That means that maybe you could get back to work sooner, your kids may be back in school sooner and you may just feel better sooner,” said Olivero.

Olivero said cold sufferers whose illness was shortened by taking zinc gluconate or zinc acetate were also less likely to go to the doctor and get an antibiotic.

“Unnecessary antibiotics… it’s a big deal and we really want to cut down on the use of that,” she explained. “This may be one of those things, one of the many things we can do to shorten the duration of your illness so you get less antibiotics.”

For the best results, Olivero advises cold sufferers to start taking zinc gluconate or zinc acetate as soon as they start experiencing cold symptoms.

However, she warns there are potential side effects.

“Some people have reported that the medicine tastes metallic and caused some nausea,” Olivero explained.

Both types of zinc can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy and are available in pill or lozenge form. Olivero says neither form is better than the other.