Nav: Home

Common cold duration is shortened similarly by zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges

May 03, 2017

There is no significant difference between zinc acetate lozenges and zinc gluconate lozenges regarding their efficacy in shortening the duration of common colds according to a meta-analysis published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open. Seven randomized trials with zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges found that the duration of colds was shortened on average by 33%.

Zinc lozenges appear to influence the common cold through the release of free zinc ions into the oro-pharyngeal region. However, zinc ions can bind tightly to various chemical complexes in such a way that little or no free zinc ions are released. Previously zinc lozenges containing citric acid were shown to be ineffective in treating colds because citric acid binds zinc ions very tightly and no free zinc is released.

Zinc acetate has been proposed as the most ideal salt for zinc lozenges since acetate binds to zinc ions very weakly. Zinc gluconate is another salt that has been frequently used in zinc lozenges. However, gluconate binds the zinc ion more tightly than acetate does. Because of the somewhat stronger binding, zinc gluconate has been proposed to be less suitable constituent for lozenges. Although the binding difference between zinc acetate and zinc gluconate is a fact, it is not evident whether that causes significant differences at the clinical level for treating the common cold.

In the meta-analysis, Dr. Harri Hemilä from the University of Helsinki, Finland, collected randomized trials on zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges and compared their observed efficacies. Three trials had used zinc acetate lozenges and found that colds were shortened on average by 40%. Four trials had used zinc gluconate lozenges and colds were shortened on average by 28%. The 12% difference between the average effects of the two kinds of lozenges was explained purely by random variation. Furthermore, one of the zinc gluconate lozenge trials was an outlier inconsistent with all the other six zinc lozenge trials. If that outlier trial was excluded, the difference between the three zinc acetate and the three zinc gluconate trials shrinked to just 2%, i.e., a 40% vs. 38% reduction in common cold duration. Thus, properly composed zinc gluconate lozenges may be as effective as zinc acetate lozenges.

Dr. Hemilä also analyzed the dose response relationship between the elemental zinc dose and the observed efficacy in reducing common cold duration. There was no difference in the efficacy between five trials that used 80 to 92 mg of zinc per day and the two trials that used 192 and 207 mg of zinc per day. Thus, zinc doses of over 100 mg per day do not seem to provide any more benefit.

According to Dr. Hemilä, there is no justification for the popular phrase that "there is no cure for the common cold" because of the strong evidence that zinc lozenges can shorten common cold duration by over 30%. However, in future studies the optimal composition of zinc lozenges should be investigated. The optimum frequency of their administration also warrants further investigation. Nevertheless, he also considers that "the current evidence of efficacy for zinc lozenges is so strong that common cold patients should be encouraged to try them for treating their colds, but the patients should ascertain that the lozenges do not contain citric acid or its salt citrate."
-end-


University of Helsinki

Related Zinc Articles:

Scientists evaluated the perspectives of zinc intake for COVID-19 prevention
Researchers from Sechenov University in collaboration with colleagues from Germany, Greece and Russia reviewed scientific articles on the role of zinc in the prevention and treatment of viral infections and pneumonia, with projections on those caused by SARS-CoV-2.
Putting zinc on bread wheat leaves
Applying zinc to the leaves of bread wheat can increase wheat grain zinc concentrations and improve its nutritional content.
A nanoscale laser made of gold and zinc oxide
Tiny particles composed of metals and semiconductors could serve as light sources in components of future optical computers, as they are able to precisely localize and extremely amplify incident laser light.
Zinc lozenges did not shorten the duration of colds
Administration of zinc acetate lozenges to common cold patients did not shorten colds in a randomized trial published in BMJ Open.
Dietary zinc protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection
Researchers have uncovered a crucial link between dietary zinc intake and protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the primary bacterial cause of pneumonia.
Zinc could help as non-antibiotic treatment for UTIs
New details about the role of zinc in our immune system could help the development of new non-antibiotic treatment strategies for bacterial diseases, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Zinc deficiency may play a role in high blood pressure
Lower-than-normal zinc levels may contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension) by altering the way the kidneys handle sodium.
Genetic polymorphisms and zinc status
Zinc is an essential component for all living organisms, representing the second most abundant trace element, after iron.
Autism is associated with zinc deficiency in early development -- now a study links the two
Autism has been associated with zinc deficiency in infancy. While it is not yet known whether zinc deficiency in early development causes autism, scientists have now found a mechanistic link.
Can chocolate, tea, coffee and zinc help make you more healthy?
Ageing and a low life expectancy are caused, at least partly, by oxidative stress.
More Zinc News and Zinc Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.