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Food supplements for the common cold: what are the real benefits of zinc and vitamin C?


Many swear by effervescent tablets with vitamin C or zinc supplements at the first symptoms of a cold. Experts give a sobering assessment.

Many swear by effervescent tablets with vitamin C or zinc supplements at the first symptoms of a cold.

Experts give a sobering assessment.

Some sleep as much as possible, others drink ginger stock, still others use dietary supplements: Everyone has a secret recipe for getting rid of colds.

But can a runny nose, cough and fatigue be prevented with nutritional supplements such as zinc and vitamin C?

And can taking it really shorten the duration of illness?

If you believe the aggressive advertising in TV and magazines, some remedies can work wonders and effectively fight the common cold.

But a healthy adult with a balanced diet takes in enough important nutrients that keep the immune system intact - this is the opinion of most nutritionists.

So diet supplements are superfluous in most cases?

This is the assessment of the


: A test of three food supplements against colds led to sobering results.

Orthomol Immun, zinc tablets and Esberitox Compact were the subject of the analysis.

According to




all three



to strengthen the immune system.


Preparations to strengthen the immune system help immediately - but only for the manufacturer and the pharmacist

", quoted Spiegel Ferdinand Gerlach, President of the German Society for General Medicine and Family Medicine (Degam) and Director of the Institute for General Medicine at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main.


Many people take nutritional supplements, especially in the cold season - you too?

© Andreas Berheide / imago-images

Taking vitamin C supplements does not reduce the duration of illness

According to the Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung, Professor Martin Smollich from the Institute for Nutritional Medicine at the University of Lübeck also asked how useful food supplements are against colds.

According to him, vitamin C (contains ascorbic acid) neither reduces the frequency of infections nor the duration of the infection


However, a study among soldiers showed that taking ascorbic acid can prevent infections if it is taken before physical exertion, says Smollich.

The daily intake of 500 to 1,000 mg shortly before the soldiers had to exert themselves physically would have meant that they became sick less often.

Also read

: Preventing Covid-19: These five rules strengthen your immune system against coronaviruses.

Zinc can lead to poisoning if overdosed

In the case of zinc supplements, the consumer advice center says that there is currently no reliable evidence that they can prevent colds.

Smollich is of a different opinion: According to him, zinc can actually reduce the frequency and duration of infections - but zinc preparations must never be taken in high doses over a long period of time.

The consumer advice center and Smollich agree on this.

Even if the body needs zinc, the trace element is and remains a heavy metal, which can cause symptoms of poisoning in the event of overdosing

, informs the consumer advice center.

Zinc food supplements are not suitable for children and adolescents, it said.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends the maximum amount of 6.5 mg zinc per day.

Healthy people could achieve this by consuming zinc-containing foods such as beef and pork, cheese, eggs and fish, according to the consumer association.

The Ärzteblatt also advises careful use of zinc food supplements.

Studies have shown that zinc acetate as a dietary supplement (6 × 13 mg / day) does not shorten the duration of a cold and has

more side effects compared to placebo.

Strengthen defenses - with these simple measures

According to Gerlach, for most people it should be completely sufficient, scientifically well proven and also inexpensive

to rely

on the following



, informs

Der Spiegel


  • Frequent hand washing

  • touch your face as rarely as possible

  • more exercise in the fresh air

  • more sleep

  • a balanced Mediterranean diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and olive oil

  • little alcohol

  • Stress reduction

Survey on the common cold

Read more

: Fish oil capsules at Stiftung Warentest: This is what the preparations really do.

You will never sleep badly again with these eight tricks

You will never sleep badly again with these eight tricks

List of rubric lists: © Andreas Berheide via

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2021-03-10

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