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Zinc for Colds
Old 02-20-2011, 10:29 AM   #1
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Zinc for Colds

Since colds are so variable, I'm skeptical of any reported remedies. I usually have 10 "I think I'm getting a cold" events for every 1 actual cold. Also, last month Lena had a bad cold, and I didn't get it. Had I taken a remedy, I might have mistakenly thought it worked. Same idea for the severity of the cold.

But a recent meta-study suggests that zinc may cut duration/severity slightly:

Duration (Placebo): 5.1 - 8.5 days
Duration (Zinc): 3.5 - 8.1 days

Study (PDF)

I'm not totally convinced, but enough to have some zinc syrup on hand, since I hate colds.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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That is a strong meta-analysis.

As a patient you have to weigh a little less time with cold symptoms against twice the risk of nausea which can be substantial.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post

I'm not totally convinced, but enough to have some zinc syrup on hand, since I hate colds.
I was getting the impression that you needed to take the zinc long term, not just when you feel a cold coming on?

-ERD50
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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DW were just having this exact conversation a couple of days ago, and I was referring to a study which I had recently heard about that indicated zinc does in fact less the severity of a cold. I also believe in Vit A, but I take it sparingly as it is fat soluble.

I take zinc daily and I really can't remember the last time I had a cold (excluding visits from the grandkids - they always see to bring a "gift" which keeps on giving!).
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:19 PM   #5
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I take zinc daily and I really can't remember the last time I had a cold (excluding visits from the grandkids - they always see to bring a "gift" which keeps on giving!).
I think this last factor is a big part of why older folks seem to get fewer colds-they don't mix as much with people. I go to dance classes, I ride busses, and I still get colds at the same rate as when I was young.

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Sundown Zinc Lozenges
Old 02-20-2011, 12:34 PM   #6
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Sundown Zinc Lozenges

I'm convinced zinc reduces the severity of colds for me. DW not convinced.

The Sundown product I use can be found here and can be purchased in many retail stores. I think it works great in my situation.

I tried taking standard zinc tablets (as a vitamin/supplement) every day and that does not work for me. Instead, I use the Sundown product - one lozenge per day, every other day, during cold season. In my mind that keeps zinc in my system. If/when I feel cold sypmtoms coming on I take the recommended dose of one tablet, twice a day.

For me it's like magic - my cold symptoms are less severe and the cold lasts less than a week versus two weeks for my typical cold. Of course there are a wide variety of colds so my anecdotal data could be questioned.
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Old 02-20-2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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I agree with Rich_in_Tampa. This metaanalysis has been done using the Cochrane review method, which is the most rigorous type of analysis there is. A lot of Cochrane reviews are equivocal, but this one provides a pretty clear answer. When we in the medical community are evaluating the quality of evidence, a well done metaanalysis of multiple randomized controlled trials is Level I, or the best evidence. Anecdotal evidence is Level V or VI.

CEBM > EBM Tools > Finding the Evidence > Levels of Evidence

Evidence-based medicine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The metaanalysis has the following (Level I) conclusions:
1. If you take Zinc at the very beginning of a cold, chances are your cold will be shorter and less severe.
2. If you are a child and take Zinc every day for at least 5 months, chances are lower that you will be catch a cold, miss school and be prescribed antibiotics.
3. Zinc lozenges may be associated with nausea.

Having read the previous version of the metaanalysis (Marshall, 1999), I have been using Zinc lozenges for years at the first sign of a cold. My anecdotal (Level V) evidence is that the frequency of bad colds has been significantly reduced and that the symptoms almost never progress beyond one day of a drippy nose. Having said that, there could be confounding factors, such as avoidance of large crowds. I go to theatres, cinemas, concerts and sports events less frequently than I used to. On the other hand, I fly more than I used to, and flying during cold season is the major reason I get colds nowadays. When travelling, I always bring some Zinc lozenges with me.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:21 PM   #8
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IIRC, there was a study that showed that the homeopathic remedy with zinc that you swab in the nose for a cold leads to loss of the sense of smell. If you use this method, you might want to try to find the reference. It is too long ago for me to pull it up (and I don't use this product so no interest).
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:41 AM   #9
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IIRC, there was a study that showed that the homeopathic remedy with zinc that you swab in the nose for a cold leads to loss of the sense of smell. If you use this method, you might want to try to find the reference. It is too long ago for me to pull it up (and I don't use this product so no interest).
I would hate that. I really enjoy being able to smell things.

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Old 02-23-2011, 11:16 AM   #10
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I used the nose swabs several times and it seems to be true that you can loose some sense of smell. I have days that I can't even smell a skunk outside out window, DW woke me and asked if I was going to close the window, I asked why and she asked me if I could smell the skunk (I could not). I avoid these now, but that does not seem to help restore the sense of smell.

There are some days when I can smell some things, but not all. I have gone to the doc and he told me that this could happen with Zinc Swabs.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:39 AM   #11
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I read the results of a study long ago published in a Bottom Line magazine that people in a control group who meditated their immune system stronger, built up a lot of interferon and got far fewer colds than those in control groups who either did crosswords puzzles or nothing. I have practiced this for many years and besides food poisoning and allergies(I get once or twice a year), I haven't had a cold since January 11,1986. I've always wondered if it was the meditation or that I worked previous to that date in one of the most germ infested environments on the planet and simply built up strong immunities.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:09 PM   #12
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The basic idea is that there are about 200 different cold viruses. Once you've had one, you'll never have it again.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:29 PM   #13
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The basic idea is that there are about 200 different cold viruses. Once you've had one, you'll never have it again.
Well, I am half-way there!

By the way, wash your hands all the time (I keep Purell in my pocket) and don't rub your eyes. That works.

I also take a bunch of vitamins and drink water. I once asked flight attendants how they kept healthy. That was their answer. I don't know how well that works, but it can't hurt. Take vitamin D, too.
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