Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The common cold hits most adults up to four times per year. For children it's as many as 10 times per year.
There have been widespread claims that zinc supplements can cut short the length of a cold. Now, a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal finds some truth in those claims.
Researchers found that – in some cases – higher doses of zinc taken orally by adults can shorten a cold by as much as two days.
However, children under 18 did not receive the same benefits from zinc.
The form of zinc also made a difference, zinc acetate was better than zinc gluconate or zinc sulfate. The findings come with some important cautions.
Side effects of zinc can include a bad taste, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned against the use of nasal sprays containing zinc because they have been linked to permanent loss of smell.