Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in many bodily functions, including immune system function. Studies have shown that zinc can be effective in preventing and treating colds and the flu. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how zinc works, how much zinc you need, and the best ways to get zinc in your diet.
How Zinc Helps During Cold and Flue Season
First, let’s talk about how zinc helps with colds and the flu. The way zinc works is by inhibiting the replication of cold and flu viruses. Zinc also helps to boost the immune system, which can help the body fight off these viruses more effectively. Studies have found that taking zinc within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms can reduce the duration of the cold by up to 40%.
So how much zinc do you need to prevent and treat colds and the flu? The recommended daily amount of zinc for adults is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. However, when it comes to treating colds and the flu, higher doses of zinc may be necessary. Some studies have used doses of up to 75 mg per day to treat colds and the flu.
It’s important to note that taking too much zinc can have negative side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s always best to consult with your doctor before taking high doses of zinc or any other supplement.
How can you get more Zinc in your diet?
There are several ways to get zinc in your diet. Some of the best food sources of zinc include oysters, beef, pork, chicken, legumes, nuts, and seeds. For vegetarians and vegans, beans, nuts and seeds are great sources of zinc, but they are not as well absorbed as zinc from animal sources.
Another way to get zinc is through supplements. There are several different types of zinc supplements available, including zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, and zinc sulfate. Zinc picolinate and zinc citrate are also popular choices. Zinc lozenges are also available, they are especially designed to release zinc in the throat and nose, where cold and flu viruses thrive.
It’s important to note that zinc can interact with certain medications, so it’s always best to consult with your doctor before taking zinc supplements if you’re on any medications. Also, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid taking high doses of zinc.
What if I already have a cold or the flu?
While taking Zinc certainly will not make you feel worse, its unlikely to have a major impact on the way you are feeling or noticeably shorten your recovery time. If you are feeling symptoms of a cold or the flu, you’re first line of defense is to see a doctor about what you need to feel better or hasten your recovery.