If you’re feeling a cold or flu coming on, chances are you’ve heard that you should take some zinc. But does it really help?
Zinc is a natural element found in almost every cell of the human body. It’s essential for normal growth and development during pregnancy and throughout childhood. It’s also vital in prostate gland function and the development of the reproductive organs.
Good Sources of Zinc
Eating foods rich in zinc enhances your immune system, causing less susceptibility to colds and flu. Foods that contain the highest levels of zinc are: oysters, crab, seafood and lean, red meats. Other food sources of zinc are beans, chicken, nuts and some fortified cereals.
Some Facts to Consider
- Eating foods rich in zinc and taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of a cold may reduce its duration and lessen the symptoms by 42%.
- While there’s no sure way to prevent the common cold, zinc has been reported in various studies to reduce its discomfort.
- A deficiency of zinc can cause recurring colds and flu.
- Low zinc levels in the body can be caused by diarrhea, diabetes, kidney or liver disease or the consumption of hard water or fiber. Even perspiration can cause zinc to be depleted from the body.
Before Taking Zinc Supplements…
- Although often zinc relieves the duration of the common cold, taking it daily won’t necessarily prevent the onset of a cold.
- Before taking a zinc supplement daily, check with your physician. Too much zinc intake can have harmful effects on the body.
- Iron can infer with the absorption of zinc in the body. Don’t take iron and zinc supplements at the same time during the day.