To Top

Miracle or Myth: Can Zinc Supplements Really Cure Colds?

Runny nose and constant sneezing, these are some of the first indicators that you might be having a common cold. We are all familiar with the feeling of being sick; constantly having to blow our noses and enduring the sore throat — add to that, most people tend stay away from you in fear of catching the virus themselves. While it usually lasts for a week or 10 days, the first few days are usually the hardest.

Some symptoms of the common cold are a sore throat and runny nose

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that adults experience colds about two to three times a year but the virus is more prevalent amongst children.

Unfortunately, it can easily be spread to others near you, which is why it’s best to stay at home and get some rest until you’re cleared. While it may sound manageable, it’s easier said than done: this is where the saying prevention is better than cure makes a lot of sense.


Zinc is one popular mineral that is widely known, albeit largely debated as well, for helping with colds. Some even go as far as to deem it as an effective treatment while others claim it aids in reducing the duration of the cold.

However, there has been numerous counter arguments on whether zinc could be the cure for the common cold or not, and the raging debate has only made the dilemma worse over time.

If popular claims are anything to be believed, you’ll be convinced to pop a lozenge or use a zinc gel spray but hold your horses there, doesn’t it sound too good to be true?

Maybe it is, Mayo Clinic’s family doctor Tina Ardon said, and added that there have been mixed results on studies conducted to really see how effective the mineral is. The expert continued that for adults, it can be said conclusively that it does nothing to ward of the disease at all.

Settaphan Rummanee/Shutterstock
If you’ve taken too many zinc supplements, you might feel nauseous

As for the rumors that it could shorten the sniffle, Tina puts it by only just a day. That said, if you’re still thinking about that one day you could save yourself from runny nose and irritating sore throat, you might as well give zinc a try.

Caution: as with other medicines, always check with your doctor first. If you’re convinced about the mineral, there are some things to keep in mind.

Dosage and Side Effects

The advisable dosage of zinc for adult women is about 8 milligrams per day with the maximum dosage being 40 milligrams, the National Institutes of Health said. Apart from the supplements you’re taking, remember that you also get the mineral from the food you eat plus any cold medicine ingested.

As always, too much of anything can be bad, and in medicines and supplements’ case, this is all the more important. If you’ve swallowed more than the recommended dose, you may experience an upset stomach, nausea, diminished smell, and a bad taste in your mouth.

Other Recommended Meds

Siletskaya Olga/Shutterstock
The doctor advised bed rest and plenty of fluids

The doctor explained that other cold medicines really don’t help much since it’s just a virus and not a disease. To combat the cold, Tina suggests plenty of sleep, maximum fluid intake and eat the right food and eventually your body shall heal itself and soon you’ll be back to your normal self!

More in Health & Well-being

You must be logged in to post a comment Login