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New light on role of zinc in curing colds

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The value of zinc supplements as a potential cure for the common cold is controversial. Zinc lozenges, however, have been shown fairly consistently to reduce the duration of a cold and to act rapidly, particularly if they are taken within 24 hours of developing a cold.

A possible mechanism for the apparent effectiveness of zinc lozenges has recently appeared in the literature. What is being suggested is that there is a local mechanism of action, which is described as the “mouth-nose biologically closed electric circuit”.

This circuit is thought to move electrons from the nose to the mouth and, in response to the electron flow, to move positively charged ions such as zinc from the mouth to the nose. However, the circuit is thought not to transport neutral or negatively charged zinc ions.

According to this new research, zinc lozenges that are made with non-positively charged ions are not effective for colds.

In addition, orally ingested zinc preparations that are designed to have a systemic action — such as tablets, liquids and syrups — do not release positively charged ions within the mouth. This may, according to the ionic circuit theory, help to explain why such preparations are not effective in fighting colds.

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From: Beyond pharmacy blog

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