Zinc lozenges could help reduce the duration of the common cold by almost three days, a new study has found.
Previous research has suggested that zinc lozenges can reduce the length of a cold, but that this is more apparent in people with allergies. Researchers from Finland and the US decided to look into this further.
They monitored almost 200 people suffering with the common cold, the symptoms of which can include a runny or blocked nose, a sore throat, coughing, sneezing and a mild headache.
Eight in 10 of the participants were aged between 20 and 50 and one-third had allergies.
The study found that using zinc lozenges reduced the overall duration of the common cold by between 2.73 and 2.94 days. The average cold lasts around seven days.
These results stood irrespective of other factors, such as age, allergies and whether the person smoked or not.
The researchers concluded that since the effects were consistent throughout the participants, this suggests that they can be applied to a ‘wide range of common cold patients'.
"While the optimal composition of zinc lozenges and the best frequency of their administration should be further investigated, given the current evidence of efficacy, common cold patients may be encouraged to try zinc lozenges for treating their colds," the researchers said.