If you feel a cold coming on, zinc lozenges may help. A new analysis in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology pooled data from three older clinical trials and concluded that high doses of zinc acetate lozenges (80 to 92 milligrams a day) reduced duration of colds by 35 to 40 percent (almost three days), compared to a placebo. Participants took the lozenges every hour or two, starting when symptoms first appeared (the key is to begin as soon as possible).
Because zinc has potential side effects, the lozenges shouldn’t be taken for more than a week. And don’t take them long-term in hopes of preventing colds. The researchers noted that zinc gluconate lozenges may also be effective.