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This new discovery could help you recover from a cold three times faster than normal

Country Living (UK) logo Country Living (UK) 18/05/2017 Katie Avis-Riordan

Zinc tablets can help you recover from a cold three times faster than normal © Joe Fox / Getty Zinc tablets can help you recover from a cold three times faster than normal When you've got a heavy cold, it's always tempting to pop a paracetamol and snuggle up under the duvet with a hot water bottle and steaming mug of tea. But there might be a better and faster way to fight the common cold, according to a study by the University of Helsinki.

Apparently, the magic ingredient is zinc, the new research shows.

The study

The study revealed that seven out of 10 people with a cold who took the zinc lozenges recovered within five days. By contrast, fewer than three in 10 of the placebo patients, who did not take the lozenges, recovered in the same time frame of five days. 

During the study, the researchers analysed data from three trials to determine the effectiveness of zinc in treating colds.

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The reality

The level of zinc used within the three studies was between 80 to 92mg per day, which is a far higher dose than the NHS' recommended zinc intake per day for a healthy person - 9.5mg for men and 7mg for women.

This high dose of zinc is not likely to be found in most zinc supplements found in pharmacies.

The NHS also say that "long-term use of zinc isn't recommended as it could cause side effects such as nausea and a bad taste in the mouth. More research is required to find out the recommended dose." Though the team of researchers stated that none of the participants showed any negative side effects of zinc.

Lead author Dr Harri Hemilä, from the University of Helsinki, said further investigation is needed to test the optimum doses of zinc and how often it should be taken. Despite this, he recommends that those suffering from a common cold should try zinc acetate lozenges (and aim to take a total of 80-100mg of zinc a day) and see if they notice a difference.

He told Huffington Post: "Given the strong evidence of efficacy and the low risk of adverse effects, common cold patients may already be encouraged to try zinc acetate lozenges not exceeding 100mg of elemental zinc per day for treating their colds."

"The most positive effects have been found when common cold patients have started to take zinc lozenges within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms," he explained.

However, pregnant women and children should not up their intake of zinc until further research is conducted.

To be clear, you can read the NHS advice page on the link between zinc and the common cold here.

In the meantime...

If you are already suffering from a cold and prefer not to take a supplement, zinc-rich foods can be a preferred option, including spinach, beef, seeds, salmon and garlic.

Related: 6 Signs You Have More Than The Common Cold (Provided by Wochit News)

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