Cold and flu season is waning, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down when it comes to immunity. One supplement you should keep in your medicine cabinet year-round is zinc. This nutrient has immune-boosting power and levels your metabolism. It’s also helpful in wound healing and regulating your sense of taste and smell.

You can typically get your daily recommended amount of zinc through your diet if you eat chicken, red meat and fortified cereals. For women, the daily recommendation is 8 milligrams. For men, it’s 11 milligrams.

When to Take a Zinc Supplement

  • To fight a cold. Research shows that taking zinc lozenges or syrup within 24 hours after cold symptoms start can shorten the length of colds.
  • To aid in wound healing. People with skin ulcers might benefit from oral zinc supplements.
  • To stop diarrhea. Zinc supplements can reduce the symptoms of diarrhea in children with low levels of zinc, such as from malnutrition.

There are some side effects to taking zinc supplements. Always take zinc with meals. Oral zinc can cause indigestion, diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting.

Always consult your physician before taking supplements or medication.

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