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Cold-Eeze: Reduces Duration of Common Cold Symptoms by 42%?

A recent commercial and packaging for Cold-Eeze — those cherry-flavored lozenges with zinc gluconate — claims to reduce the duration of common cold symptoms by 42%.

Cold-Eeze 42% claim


Cold-Eeze asterisk

It turns out that the scientific study on Cold-Eeze that supports the 42% claim was done a quarter of a century ago in 1996 and involved only 50 hospital employees who took the product and 50 who did not. [Full study here.] It seems odd that the company would introduce this new claim now after sitting on this data for decades.

Many people like the product despite the fact that no one can really say for sure that their cold ended more quickly than if they had not taken the zinc drops.

Interestingly, Cold-Eeze has extended its product line to include cold remedies that also supposedly promote immune health and help with fatigue. The asterisk after that claim goes to the most candid of disclaimers:


Cold-Eeze disclaimer

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3 thoughts on “Cold-Eeze: Reduces Duration of Common Cold Symptoms by 42%?”

  1. I have found in my study that allowing the calendar to turn, at no drive, no cost, and no exposure in a store has approximately the same effect. However, not knowing how long that *same cold under the same conditions* at another time would have lasted if I had driven to the store, purchased and consumed the product does admittedly leave a hole in my study. Group size: 1

    Color me skeptical, but them I’m pretty much that way in today’s marketplace.

  2. While there is conflicting evidence as to the benefits of oral zinc in reducing the duration of colds, taken in excess zinc can lead to “copper deficiency, anemia and damage to the nervous system” (Mayo Clinic). Zinc can also cause a temporary loss of the sense of taste.

    Zinc can further interfere with the action of some prescription drugs, including some antibiotics and the blood thinner coumadin.

    A meta-analysis suggests that zinc (most effectively as a lozenge) may reduce the length of a cold by an average of one day (Hemilia H, et al. The effectiveness of high dose zinc acetate lozenges on various common cold symptoms: A meta-analysis. BMC Family Practice. 2015;16:24; Sexton DJ, et al.; The common cold in adults: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. UpToDate reviews require subscription.)

    As a nasal spray zinc has been linked to a permanent loss of smell in some people.

    The Tolerable Upper Intake Level of zinc for adults is generally set at 40 mg/day (less for children and teens). This could be exceeded if one followed the Cold-Eeze package directions.

    Note that I am not a medical professional and this is meant as general information, not medical advice.

  3. seems that we need tougher consumer laws but supreme court sides with scammers not ftc.

    i love freezing DVR and reading fine print. everything you should know is there as long as you pause dvr get out your magnifying glass and can understand mumbo jumbo. of course even then the fine print is rarely readable unless you find sweet spot. this should not be legal. fine print should be same size as product name and on screen long enough for older person to read.

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