The Health File

May 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

Oral zinc treatment reduced the duration of cold symptoms in adults by 2.63 days, a new study from Canadian researchers says. The results of the study appear in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). “The exact mechanism of zinc’s activity on viruses remains uncertain,” the study’s authors said in the report, which looked at 17 trials involving 2,121 people. In the studies, people were given zinc and a placebo when they were sick to see how it affected their colds. While zinc did seem to help, the researchers noted nine trials found some patients experienced adverse effects, including a bad taste in their mouth and nausea.

“We found moderate quality of evidence to suggest that orally administered zinc reduces the duration of symptoms of the common cold. However, the evidence of benefit was limited to adults, and even in this patient group, uncertainty remained about its clinical benefit,” the study’s authors concluded, adding more trials are needed.

“The questionable benefits must be balanced against the potential adverse effects.”

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