Flu: The popular supplement which can cut your risk by 87 percent

Flu ‘could lead to more fatalities than Covid’ says Professor Hunter

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There are a few different ways how you can lower your risk of catching the flu virus, ranging from proper hand hygiene to getting a flu jab, reports the NHS. Flu is very infectious and can cause serious illness for some people. Here’s one simple way which can offer extra protection this winter.

The popular, easy-to-get supplement which can lower your risk of severe illness by 87 percent is zinc.

Zinc is a mineral that helps with various processes in our bodies, including making new cells and enzymes, healing wounds and processing certain parts of our food.

A new study published in the British Medical Journal focused on the mineral’s health benefits linked to flu.

The research team reviewed 28 clinical trials, involving 5,446 adults at risk of or infected by a viral respiratory tract infection.

Viral respiratory tract infections describe viruses such as the flu or common cold.

The researchers looked at zinc supplements in the form of either lozenges, nasal sprays, or gels

The findings discovered an 87 percent lower risk of getting “severe” flu symptoms when taking these supplements.

Having mild symptoms of both flu and cold was measured at 28 percent lower risk.

Apart from reducing the risk of severe illness, the study also found benefits for those already sick from the virus.

Taking zinc supplements can also help the symptoms to go away quicker.

The study evidence suggests that those on supplements saw their symptoms leave two days earlier on average.

In fact, zinc users were nearly twice as likely to recover during the first week of illness, compared to the participants on placebo.

Apart from reducing the risk of severe illness, the study also found benefits for those already sick from the virus.

Taking zinc supplements can also help the symptoms to go away quicker.

The study evidence suggests that those on supplements saw their symptoms leave two days earlier on average.

In fact, zinc users were nearly twice as likely to recover during the first week of illness, compared to the participants on placebo.

In case you need reminding here are the main flu symptoms:

  • Sudden fever of 38C or above
  • Aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite, diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Nausea.

The new study reports that zinc may help stave off symptoms like coughing, congestion and sore throat.

One downside of the supplements were side effects.

The trial participants reported problems, such as nausea and mouth or nose irritation.

These side effects were 40 percent more likely among zinc users, the study reports.

However, no “serious” side effects occurred during the trial.

The researchers wrote in the study: “[Zinc] also provides clinicians with a management option for patients who are desperate for faster recovery times.

“However, clinicians and consumers need to be aware that considerable uncertainty remains regarding the clinical efficacy of different zinc formulations, doses and administration routes.” 

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