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Zinc, found in shellfish, red meats, milk and nuts, may benefit in fighting off symptoms of the common cold. Zinc is also an essential mineral responsible for tissue regeneration, reproductive health (it’s in sperm) and vision.

Since zinc is mainly found in meats, vegetarians (and vegans especially) are at risk for not having enough zinc in their diets.

There are three ways it may help:

  1. One theory suggests that zinc may help stop the common cold virus from attaching in the nose, where it likes to infect. (Rhinovirus, rhino=nose).
  2. Although zinc can’t perfectly prevent a cold, some studies show that taking zinc at the start of cold symptoms and at regular intervals throughout a cold may reduce the severity of cold symptoms as well as the duration of the cold.
  3. Zinc is also an important part of the immune system. Getting an adequate amount of zinc in the diet helps ensure a healthy immune system.

Tea, coffee, and some medication may interfere with zinc’s absorption into the body. On the other hand, too much zinc can interfere with copper levels in the body! The key is balanced supplementation, and avoiding too much of a good thing.

Have you ever taken zinc for a cold? Do you think it helped?

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