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Should You Consider Taking Zinc When You Feel Sick?

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You know the feeling: scratchy throat, a few more sneezes than normal, and a weird tiredness that threatens to send you to bed before 10 p.m.. The beginning of a cold is never fun, especially if you have lots of things to get done the next day, but could a natural supplement really be the key to keeping cold symptoms at bay?

What Is Zinc?

Zinc is found naturally in the human body and helps with our immune system and our metabolism functioning. It also helps to heal wounds and is connected to our sense of smell and taste. Most of us get enough zinc through the foods we eat, but zinc supplements are easy to find at any drug or health store.

Can Zinc Fight Off Colds?

Holistic medicine has long touted zinc supplementation as one of the best ways to cure a cold. Interestingly enough, a 2017 analysis of seven studies involving zinc and the common cold found that study participants who took zinc lozenges reduced the length of their colds by 33 percent.

An older review from 2011 of 13 studies involving zinc as a cold remedy also found “strong evidence” of a positive effect on cold duration.

What can we take from these reviews? After getting the OK from your doctor, taking zinc supplements at the first sign of a cold may help reduce the amount of time you’re dealing with symptoms.

Side Effects of Zinc Supplements

While zinc supplements are generally well tolerated, they can cause headache, nausea, vomiting, and even diarrhea, so it’s best to consult with your doctor before adding them to your regimen. Zinc can also have an interaction with certain antibiotics.

The Bottom Line

Taking zinc at the first sign of a cold may help shorten the length of it, but zinc doesn’t bring relief from a cold’s annoying symptoms. For that, you need a product like Theraflu. Try the new Theraflu PowerPods, which provide relief from your worst cold and flu symptoms and can be brewed in any single-serve coffee maker.

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