Since more than 100 viruses can cause the common cold, it is imperative to protect yourself when the sniffles start spreading. Frequent hand washing, proper sleep and a healthy diet help build your body’s defenses, but a number of herbs and supplements can also protect you from illness. Zinc is an essential mineral and dietary supplement you might find useful.
Your body needs small amounts of it for growth and development, immune system functioning, blood clotting, thyroid functioning and a number of other processes. You consume zinc when you eat certain meats, seafood, dairy, nuts and whole grains. Additional consumption of it is thought to increase health and help treat and number of conditions. The following are some of the conditions for which zinc supplements or topical medicines are a treatment.
- Herpes simplex virus
- Muscle Cramps
- Skin wounds and burns
- Crohn’s Disease
- Male sexual problems
Some research indicates that zinc consumption helps slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, topical ointments containing zinc are shown to improve skin wrinkling, texture and tone.
Zinc as a Common Cold Remedy
Since zinc helps stimulate the immune system’s functioning, a host of manufacturers use it as a primary ingredient in cold and flu medicines, including lozenges, nasal sprays and cold-prevention products. Using zinc at the onset of a cold may reduce the duration of the illness and decrease the severity of symptoms. Nature’s Sunshine has a Zinc Lozenge.
Potential Side Effects
For most adults, it is safe when used as directed, in dosages of up to 40 mg per day. Potential side effects include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In some users, it may cause kidney or stomach problems. High dosages of zinc can cause fever, stomach discomfort and additional health problems. Additionally, some nasal sprays containing zinc have been found to cause loss of smell with continual use. Before using any form of zinc, talk to a trusted health care adviser for safety and dosage recommendations.
References: National Institutes of Health: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/982.html