Can Zinc fend off a cold? Many people swear it's a miracle metal and keep Zinc tablets, like Zycam, on hand during cold and flu season.
So, does zinc really stop colds, or is it causing somewhat of a placebo effect?
To VERIFY, we consulted Dr. Carmen Robinson, a family practitioner at Novant Health.
Dr. Robinson explained it's true -- some oral forms of zinc, like the lozenge or syrup, can shorten a cold's duration if you take them within the first 24 hours of symptom onset.
However, she said you should not take zinc supplements for more than two weeks at a time, as they can cause upset stomach and nausea. Research has shown long-term zinc use is associated with copper deficiency, and the zinc sprays - like nasal swabs, can cause loss of sense of smell.
She also cautions you not to take zinc with other medication, like blood pressure pills or antibiotics. So, talk to your primary doctor before you start taking zinc.
In conclusion, we VERIFY yes, zinc can stop a cold if taken soon enough. Be cautious, though, about how long you take it.