A new study from the University of Helsinki in Finland found promising benefits of zinc lozenges reducing length of colds.
A meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials on zinc acetate lozenges found 70% of patients had recovered from colds by the fifth day; three times faster than control groups.
The recommended daily intake of zinc is 11mg/day for men and 8mg/day for women. In the three studies 80-92mg/day of zinc was given, and while long-term zinc supplementation is not recommended none of the three analyzed studies observed negative side effects. Authors concluded it seems highly unlikely that 80-92mg/day of zinc for one to two weeks starting at the onset of cold symptoms might lead to long-term adverse effects.
Many zinc lozenges on the market have little zinc contents or they contain citric acid or other substances that bind to zinc and prevent absorption. It is best to compare labels to find the best options available.
Foods naturally rich in zinc include oysters, pumpkin seeds, lentils, sesame seeds, garbanzo beans, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, cashews, quinoa, turkey, and shrimp.