Suck on this to stop sniffling sooner: Zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of the common cold, a recent meta-analysis from Finland concluded.
The researchers determined that taking 80 to 92 milligrams of zinc a day—say, 7 Cold-Eeze lozenges—cut the length of the average 7-day cold by 3 full days.
That might be because zinc is known to reduce replication of the cold virus, says Murray Grossan, M.D., an ear, nose and throat otolaryngologist with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
As a result, the virus doesn’t survive as long in your body, allowing you to feel better sooner.
Want to give it a shot? Here’s what to do.
Start taking the zinc lozenges as soon as you begin to notice cold symptoms: Zinc may also block a certain protein that serves as the cold virus’s portal of entry to your body, says Dr. Grossan.
That means fewer virus units may be entering your body—and zinc works best when those numbers are lower, he says.
In fact, the patients in the study had colds for less than 24 hours before they began treatment.
Space your lozenges throughout the day, taking no more than 80 to 100 milligrams (mg) total, says lead study author Harri Hemila, M.D., Ph.D.