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Supplemental Zinc May Shorten the Common Cold

Depending on the total dose of zinc and the composition of lozenges, zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of common colds by up to 40 percent.

Harri Hemila, from University of Helsinki in Finland, completed a meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials that have examined the effect of zinc lozenges on natural common cold infections. Of the 13 trial comparisons identified, five used a total daily zinc dose of less than 75 milligrams, and those five comparisons uniformly found no effect of zinc. Three trials used zinc acetate in daily doses of more than 75 milligrams, with the average indicating a 42 percent reduction in the duration of colds. Five trials used zinc salts other than acetate in daily doses of more than 75 milligrams, with the average indicating a 20 percent decrease in the duration of colds.

The researchers concluded that the study “shows strong evidence that the zinc lozenge effect on common cold duration is heterogeneous so that benefit is observed with high doses of zinc but not with low doses.... The effects of zinc lozenges should be further studied to determine the optimal lozenge compositions and treatment strategies.”

Hemila, H. (2011). Zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of colds: a systematic review. Open Respiratory Medicine  Journal. 5:51-58.

—Dr. Bob Goldman

Editor’s note: For the latest information and research on health and aging, subscribe to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine e-zine free at

Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP has spearheaded the development of numerous international medical organizations and corporations. Dr. Goldman has served as a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Filene Center, Tufts University; as an Affiliate at the Philosophy of Education Research Center, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, He is Clinical Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea Medical University; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Central America Health Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Goldman holds the positions of Visiting Professor, Udayana University School of Medicine, Indonesia; Visiting Professor, Huazhong University of Science & Technology Tong Ji Medical School, China; Visiting Professor, The Wuhan Institute of Science & Technology, China; Visiting Professor at Hainan Medical College, China; and Visiting Professor, School of Anti-Aging, Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine, UCSI University, Malaysia. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. He has overseen cooperative research agreement development programs in conjunction with such prominent institutions as the American National Red Cross, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and the FDA's Center for Devices & Radiological Health.

Dr Goldman was awarded the 2012 LifeTime Achievement Award in Medicine &Science. Dr. Goldman is the recipient of the 'Gold Medal for Science, the Grand Prize for Medicine, the Humanitarian Award, and the Business Development Award. He received honors from Minister of Sports and government Health officials of numerous nations. In 2001, Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Dr. Goldman the International Olympic Committee Tribute Diploma for contributions to the development of sport & Olympism.

In addition, Dr. Goldman is a black belt in karate, Chinese weapons expert, and world champion athlete with over 20 world strength records, he has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of his past performance records include 13,500 consecutive situps and 321 consecutive handstand pushups. Dr. Goldman was an All-College athlete in four sports, a three time winner of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Physical Fitness Award, was voted Athlete of the Year, was the recipient of the Champions Award, and was inducted into the World Hall of Fame of Physical Fitness. Dr. Goldman was awarded the Healthy American Fitness Leader Award from the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Goldman is Chairman of the International Medical Commission overseeing sports medicine committees in over 184 nations. He has served as a Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. He is founder and international President Emeritis of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the cofounder and Chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. Goldman visits an average of 20 countries annually to promote brain research and sports medicine programs.

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