Posted on Jun 04, 2012, 6 a.m.
Oral zinc formulations reduced the duration of cold symptoms in adults by 2.63 days.
A number of studies have evaluated zinc for the treatment of the common cold, yielding conflicting results. Michelle Science, from The Hospital for Sick Children (Canada), and colleagues completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 randomized, controlled trials that involved 2,121 participants between the ages of 1 and 65 years. The team observed that zinc shortened the duration of cold symptoms in adults (mean difference −2.63 days), but no significant effect was seen among children. The researchers observed that a reduction in the duration of cold symptoms was greater with high doses (≥75 mg versus <75 mg) of ionic zinc. In addition, the researchers reported more common instances of an adverse event – most notably bad taste and nausea, in the zinc group (as compared to placebo group). The study authors report that: “The results of our meta-analysis showed that oral zinc formulations may shorten the duration of symptoms of the common cold.”
Michelle Science, Jennie Johnstone, Daniel E. Roth, et al. “Zinc for the treatment of the common cold: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” CMAJ, May 7, 2012.