Getting the most out of zinc
Q: Fall is such a busy time for me, and the stress and lack of sleep often mean I end up with a cold. I want to keep some natural remedies on hand. Friends tell me zinc lozenges don’t work. Is that true?
Dr. Wright: For years, there’s been a debate going on about whether or not zinc lozenges actually shorten the duration of colds. Research does show that they’re helpful, but I hear mixed reviews from Tahoma Clinic clients who have tried them and say they had no effect.
There are two things to keep in mind when trying zinc lozenges to shorten the duration of cold symptoms. First, the only zinc lozenges that have been proven effective in studies are ones in which the zinc has been combined with acetate.
Second, since zinc works by killing microorganisms on contact, you shouldn’t chew or swallow the lozenges. It’s a much better idea to allow the lozenge to dissolve slowly under your tongue. And it’s even more effective to “swish and gargle” some of the dissolved zinc, to let it come into contact with as many oral and throat surfaces as possible. Individuals who have used this simple adjustment tell me their zinc lozenges work even better than before.