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Is it time to invest in zinc supplements?

December 23, 2021

7 minutes of reading

The COVID-19 epidemic has not ended, but a winter with the risks of colds and flu is coming!

Colds and flu are the two most common upper respiratory tract infections, and are expected to increase rapidly this winter, despite the relatively low incidence of the disease last year.

A new analysis that looks at previously available research shows that zinc supplements can help ease symptoms of colds and flu. Of course, this is not the first study of zinc’s antiviral properties, both in the treatment of colds and COVID-19.

However, previous results have been ambiguous, some studies have shown some benefit while others have not, and the quality of the studies is low. Meanwhile, many people also experience some unwanted side effects from using zinc such as abdominal discomfort, nausea and in some cases loss of smell.

Published in November 2021 in medical journal BMJ Open, The study focused on zinc’s ability to treat colds and flu-like symptoms. The study reviewed 1,300 prior studies and narrowed the analysis down to 28 well-organized trials involving 5,000 study subjects. Here are some of the conclusions the study reached:

About the ability to prevent colds and illnesses with symptoms like colds and flu:

  • When compared with a placebo, the use of zinc supplements or nasal sprays containing zinc reduced respiratory infections. The predicted results were modest: one out of every 20 people taking zinc for treatment would prevent an infection. However, the persuasiveness of the evidence presented by the study is relatively low.
  • Some studies show that zinc is most likely to prevent worsening symptoms, such as fever and flu-like illnesses. It is also important to note that these studies did not specify whether the participants had an infection from the flu.
  • Several small studies based on targeted exposure to colds have shown that zinc does not prevent colds.
Several small studies based on targeted exposure to colds have shown that zinc does not prevent colds.

Regarding the ability to treat colds and illnesses with symptoms such as flu:

  • When compared to a placebo, zinc worked to reverse symptoms 2 days earlier. The same study also estimated that 19 out of every 100 people with upper respiratory tract infections were completely cured within 7 days of zinc treatment. However, the persuasiveness of the evidence presented by the study is relatively low.
  • The therapeutic use of zinc also reduced symptoms in patients (compared to placebo): namely, the symptoms of the infection were significantly reduced by the third day. In addition, taking zinc also reduced the risk of disease progression by 87%. However, the mean rate of daily worsening was similar between placebo and zinc. Therefore, the quality and reliability of the above findings are only low or temporarily acceptable.

Although the above study has shown positive results when using zinc to prevent colds and symptoms such as flu, there are still a few things that we need to consider:

  • About side effects. Side effects often occur with people using zinc, such as nausea or irritation in the nose and mouth. Fortunately, these symptoms are not too serious, but they can make you so uncomfortable that you need to stop using zinc in treatment.
  • About the price. Zinc supplements are not too expensive. A daily dose of zinc supplements can cost close to 50,000.
  • About zinc deficiency. The subjects of this study all had normal zinc levels or were very unlikely to be zinc deficient. It is important to distinguish the difference between zinc supplementation for the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections and the replacement of mineral deficiencies in the body. Zinc deficiency often occurs in people who are malnourished or have digestive problems so they cannot absorb the mineral, so they need to supplement with functional foods to avoid serious complications such as depression. Weak immune system and slow wound healing.
  • The variety in dosage is how zinc is absorbed. More research is needed on how zinc is absorbed to find the most optimal method.
  • COVID-19. None of the studies in the above analysis mentioned the effect of zinc supplements in the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2, so the above conclusions cannot be applied to patients. have COVID-19.

Whether you’re convinced by the above analysis or not, don’t forget to follow these proven and common ways to prevent and treat common colds:

  • Flu shot.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Limit contact and keep a distance when in direct contact, wear a mask when near sick people.
  • Sleep more.
  • Healthy eating.
Besides supplementing with zinc, you also need to eat and rest scientifically.

If you are unlucky, you should:

  • Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary.
  • Wear a mask when in contact with others.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Take zinc supplements and cold and flu remedies to relieve symptoms.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you think you may be suffering from the flu, as early treatment can help shorten the time it takes to heal. In addition, other diseases (such as COVID-19) also need to be treated as soon as possible.

Most of the above measures are similar to those used to prevent and treat COVID-19.

When winter comes, many people face colds and flu-like illnesses. You may find yourself in a high-risk group, but don’t worry, because you can avoid the above diseases with a simple, safe and popular method, which is using zinc supplements.

The content posted on Watsup is for the purpose of supporting readers. Please carefully review the date of last update (if applicable) and do not use this information as a substitute for advice from your doctor or healthcare professional.

Charlie Rosales
Charlie Rosales
With the help of our online platform, aspiring agriculturalists can get in touch with knowledgeable experts who can mentor and teach them about the art and science of productive agriculture. everything from soil management and crop rotation to animal husbandry and plant genetics. Our user-friendly portal will help you select the ideal course to advance your knowledge of agriculture.

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