Ask the Herbalist, Vol 3. – Zinc for cold prevention

Q: My kids always seem to bring home a case of the sniffles within the first few weeks of school.  Is there anything that I can do to keep myself from getting sick?

A: There are quite a few things you can do to lower your chances of catching a cold.  Handwashing tops the list.  Did you know that anti-bacterial hand soap can actually increase the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria?  Instead of tricoslan formulas, look for a hand soap with thyme oil – a natural disinfectant.  It’s gentler on your skin and the environment.

In addition to good sanitation measures, many healthcare professionals are now recommending zinc.  A recent review of 15 studies (that included 1,360 participants) indicates that supplementing with zinc can reduce your risk of catching a cold by roughly 40%.  In addition to its preventative qualities, zinc supplementation at the first sign of an illness can shorten the duration of your cold symptoms by roughly 50%.  Pretty incredible, right?

We recommend a high-quality, standardized brand of zinc such NOW Foods.  If you have a sensitive stomach, you may want to try a zinc gluconate formula, as it is easier to digest.  The study cited gave participants 13.3mg of zinc every 3 to 4 hours (that’s roughly 80 mg per day).  Earth Zone stocks zinc lozenges and tablets in various dosages and combination formulas.  We do NOT recommend the zinc intranasal sprays (such as Zicam) because of the associated risk of loss of smell.

Until next time, stay healthy!

healthy zinc supplement

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