The virus most often responsible for the common cold is the rhinovirus. There are more than 110 different types of rhinovirus, making it impractical to figure out which one is causing any given infection (Makela MJ et al 1998). Colds can also be caused by coronaviruses, adenoviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, enteroviruses, paramyxoviruses (including several parainfluenza viruses), orthomyxoviridae (including influenza A and B), and respiratory syncytial virus (Kasper DL et al 2004).
A number of published studies show that if zinc lozenges are taken within 24 hours of the onset of common cold symptoms the severity and duration of cold miseries are significantly diminished (Hulisz D 2004; Prasad AS et al 2000; Marshall S 1998; Mossad SB et al 1996).
Rhinoviruses attach to specific cell receptor sites in sinus and throat tissues, become lodged in the nose and throat, and then replicate out of control (Gwaltney JM 2002). By binding to the same cell receptor sites as do cold viruses, zinc inhibits the ability of rhinoviruses to take hold in the body.
The key here is to dissolve two 24-mg zinc lozenges in the mouth at the very first symptom of a cold and continue doing this every 2 hours (while awake). Once rhinoviruses bind to their receptor sites in the nasal tissues and begin replicating, zinc lozenges lose their efficacy. Considering how inexpensive zinc lozenges are, it makes sense to keep them on hand so that they are immediately available if cold symptoms manifest.
One caveat to remember is that chronic use of zinc in doses over 100 mg/day may suppress immune function (Chandra RK 1984). By using two zinc lozenges every 2 hours over the course of a day, the amount of total zinc intake could easily exceed 300 mg/day. This does not appear to be a problem in the short-term. If your cold symptoms do not subside after a few days of taking zinc lozenges, it would be best to stop using them.
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