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When Should You Take Zinc to Shorten Your Cold?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

zinc for colds

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  • Zinc consumption, when started within 24 hours of your first cold symptoms, can reduce the duration of your cold by 33% and lessen its severity
  • Evidence shows that zinc gluconate and zinc acetate are effective but neither should be paired with citric acid, mannitol, sorbitol or sodium bicarbonate
  • Zinc is crucial to enzymes, immune function, protein synthesis, wound health and cell division, yet it was not recognized as essential until the 1970s
  • The common cold does not have a cure, but there are steps you can take to speed healing, such as optimizing vitamin D, taking high doses of liposomal vitamin C and getting quality rest and sleep

Although the common cold is generally considered to be a minor condition, it is responsible for most doctors’ office visits each year. For some, a cold will last about a week, but for children and the elderly, it can last longer. The common cold can be caused by more than 200 different viruses.

The American Lung Association warns that colds are highly contagious and spread easily through droplets of fluid containing the virus. There are several factors that may increase your risk of getting a cold, including the time of the year, your age, your immune system strength and your exposure to a cold virus. Symptoms can include a sore throat, runny nose, coughing, headaches and sneezing.

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