Report Underscores Value of Zinc in Treating the Common Cold

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The benefits of using zinc products to fight the common cold are underscored by findings reported in the September/October issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. The report, which reviews more than two decades of laboratory and clinical research into the medicinal value of zinc, concludes that zinc gluconate, the active ingredient found in popular over-the-counter (OTC) cold products, effectively reduces the duration of the cold and the severity of cold symptoms.

"For decades, scientists have been frustrated by the inconsistency in data documenting the efficacy of zinc products," explained author Darrell Hulisz, Pharm D, associate professor of family medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Recently, there have been a series of well-designed, peer-reviewed clinical studies of zinc gluconate linking this unique ingredient, found in popular OTC products such as Zicam® Cold Remedy, with a significant reduction in the duration of the common cold, as well as the severity of cold symptoms. Common cold symptoms can include: sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, and congestion. It is important to note that the products were most successful when administered within 24 hours of symptom onset."

Hulisz reviewed data sources published between 1980 and 2003. He noted that additional clinical and laboratory evaluations are warranted to further define the role of ionic zinc for the prevention and treatment of the common cold and to clarify the biochemical mechanisms through which zinc exerts its symptom-relieving effects.

About the Common Cold
According to the National Institutes of Health, people suffer from an estimated one billion colds in the United States each year, causing 300 million days of restricted activity and 22 million lost days of school and work. Adults average about two to four colds a year, although the range varies widely. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average cold will last about nine to 12 days. More than 200 different viruses, including about 110 rhinoviruses, are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold. The nose is the main portal of entry for cold viruses. The highest concentration of cold virus in nasal secretion occurs during the first three days of infection. This is when infected persons are most contagious.

This review article was supported by an unrestricted grant from Matrixx Initiatives, Inc.

Source: Matrix Initiatives, Inc.