Common cold — zinc that works

I was the type who gets sick (common cold) two or three times in the autumn-winter-spring period, and the most common symptom is a sore…

Common cold — zinc that works

Common cold — zinc that works?

I was the type who gets sick (common cold) two or three times in the autumn-winter-spring period, and the most common symptom is a sore throat followed by a cold. Shortcuts generally don’t work very well, but I have tested one product that will likely help. But first things first.

First of all, let’s get 2 things straight:

  • I’m not a doctor, I don’t give medical advice, I share what I’ve studied (with references) and tested on myself several times.
  • I’m not primarily talking about prevention in this article, I’m talking about immediate counter-attacks against the enemy.

What we are fighting against

The common cold is an easily spread viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract.

Let’s refresh some basic facts:

  1. Symptoms are cough, sore throat, runny nose, or fever.
  2. Symptoms usually resolve in 7–10 days, but some can last up to three weeks [1].
  3. There is no cure or vaccine; symptoms are treated [2].
  4. It is caused by viruses (200+ different types of viruses).
  5. The most common infection is rhinovirus (30–50%) [3], see picture below.
  6. The common cold caused by rhinovirus is most contagious during the first three days. [4]
  7. The common cold virus is typically transmitted via airborne droplets (aerosols), direct contact with infected nasal secretions, or fomites (contaminated objects) [5].
  8. A common misconception is that one can “catch a cold” simply through prolonged exposure to cold weather [6]. Most likely, many viruses are just seasonal.
  9. The only useful ways to reduce the spread of cold viruses are physical measures[1] such as using correct hand washing technique and face masks.
  10. What can help: Vitamin C (may reduce the duration of common cold [7]), Vitamin D (to support the immune system in general), and… ZINC (to stop the replication of the virus)!
Viral cause of the common cold

But what kind of Zinc?

Cherchez la femme (in this case a girl)… and a good story :)

The story begins in 1979, when scientist George Eby administered 50 mg of zinc gluconate to his daughter, who was suffering from leukemia and, due to her weakened immunity, frequent colds. She refused to swallow the tablet and sucked it slowly. After a few hours, the cold (specifically a runny nose) was gone.
In 1984 George Eby published a randomized trial “Reduction in duration of common colds by zinc gluconate lozenges in a double-blind study” [8]. It concluded that zinc lozenges reduced the average duration of colds by 7 days:

In this study, lozenges containing 23 mg of zinc gluconate were administered every 2 hours of waking hours, for a total of 9 lozenges. This confirmed the effectiveness of zinc gluconate.
Later, it became clear that the key was to release as much zinc ion (iZinc) as possible. And that’s where (bio)chemistry and the “father of biochemical zinc” Dr. Ananda Prasad comes in. What is being discovered is that at a pH of 7.4, zinc gluconate releases 50 % of the ions in our cells.

However, zinc acetate is much more successful, releasing 100 % of the zinc ions. I’ll add one recent study of all, from 2017, when a meta-analysis looking at zinc acetate and the common cold was published [9], the conclusions of which are as follows:

  • Patients administered zinc lozenges recovered faster by rate ratio 3.1,
  • On the 5th day, 70% of the zinc patients had recovered compared with 27% of the placebo patients.

So the best form of zinc is zinc acetate — this is key information #1.

Method of administration of zinc

Key information #2 relates to the method of zinc administration. Thanks to George Elby’s daughter, we now know that it is supposed to be lozenges. However, it is absolutely essential that the release of zinc ions is as long as possible. This is what the enhanced lozenges achieve.

Key information #3 — zinc ions stop virus replication — so it must be given as soon as possible after the onset of first symptoms.
There is apparently only one such product still on the market —Enhanced Zinc Lozenges by Life Extensions. Beware, you can also find a variant without “Enhanced”, I “managed” to purchase it once, so I can provide a comparison of packs:

Zinc Lozenges vs. ENHANCED Zinc Lozenges

The manufacturer recommends completely dissolving in the mouth 1 lozenge every 2 hours, for a maximum of 8 lozenges per day, which amounts to 150 mg of zinc (18.75 mg * 8 = 150 mg).

Testing and recommendations

My last test was successful, and from my classic story containing

“scratchy throat->painful swallowing-> 10 days of a dying person”,

I stuck to the first phase, light scratching, which I managed to stop much earlier than usual thanks to zinc.

I searched for some more user reviews to confirm my opinion :), and cherry-picked the following:


Youtube —


To be transparent, the negative reviews were along the following lines:

  • misunderstanding in a way “how am I supposed to swallow such a monstrosity” — pills are not swallowed, but sucked for as long as possible,
  • bad taste — I don’t share,
  • nausea — on empty stomachs it can really cause nausea,
  • too many calories — I don’t really deal with that during a cold,
  • numbness in the throat and temporary loss of taste — yes, that happens by the principle of zinc and it’s nothing dramatic.


Finally, just a small recapitulation:
1) The most effective against colds is a product that contains zinc acetate -Enhanced Lozenges by Life Extension. It seems this is still the only product on the market.
2) The key is to take zinc at the first sign of symptoms — completely dissolve in mouth one (1) lozenge every 2 wakeful hours, not to exceed 8 lozenges per day (total: 150 mg zinc), or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner, maximum of 4–5 days.
3) Given the variety of viruses that cause colds, it cannot be said that treating the symptoms will be 100% successful, but studies and experience to date confirm that it is worth at least trying.

So? Have you tried and does it work for you?

P.S. Some links are affiliate. If you’re considering spinning the wheels of the economy and doing it through my link, it will be a welcome balancing of energy in the universe.