Oral zinc might cut common cold symptoms says a new review of 17 prior studies.
The Canadian review said that while zinc may help with symptoms, it is still debatable whether it should be used as treatment.
The review looked at 17 studies that comprised over 2000 people some of whom had been given zinc and others a placebo during a common cold.
According to the Washington Post, those that took the zinc saw their symptoms disappear three days earlier than those who did not, with the effectiveness increasing with each higher dosage of the mineral.
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The study found that the zinc did not work in children but their dosages were much smaller.
"We found that orally administered zinc shortened the duration of cold symptoms. These findings, however, are tempered by significant heterogeneity and quality of evidence," said Dr. Michelle Science of Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto, according to Medical News Today.
The researchers warned that there was conflicting evidence in the studies, however, and that the results were mixed.
"Until further evidence becomes available, there is only a weak rationale for physicians to recommend zinc for the treatment of the common cold. The questionable benefits must be balanced against the potential adverse effects," said Science.
The review was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.