How to cure the common cold

Cold season might be months away, but you know how it goes.

July 4th is already gone, Labor Day is coming up next, and before you know it, you'll be wondering where the summer went.

Next stop: That magical time of year when everyone seems to be sniffling.

And while summer colds are less common, they can often make you more miserable -- so either way, it's time to prepare yourself to fight the cold no matter when it strikes.

Now, the latest research backs one of the safest, simplest and most effective cold cures of all: zinc.

This potent immune-boosting mineral can fight the rhinovirus behind the cold and stop it from replicating -- and that means fewer symptoms and a quicker recovery.

As a result, the new analysis of three placebo-controlled studies finds that zinc lozenges will cut the duration of the cold by an average of nearly three days.

When you consider that the average cold lasts seven to 10 days, that's a major jump in recovery time -- and other studies, including one by the world-famous Cochrane Collaboration, found that zinc can cut your cold duration in half.

Normally, mainstream studies that find that natural therapies actually do work end up concluding with the authors issuing a snobby statement that we need more research before we can recommend it to patients.

Don't want to hurt drug sales, do we?

But not this time. How could they? The results were crystal clear -- so much so that the team behind the new study is practically urging patients to try zinc when they get sick.

Out with the cold remedies that'll leave you drowsy and miserable... in with the zinc lozenges!

The new study finds a dose of 100 mg per day will usually knock out the cold, but don't try taking it all at once.

Too much zinc can cause gas and diarrhea -- and those will only add to your cold misery.

That's why lozenges are so effective; they deliver small doses that you can take throughout the day. Just watch how much you're taking and limit yourself so that you reach that 100 mg dose over the course of an entire day.

One important note on this: Don't start eating zinc lozenges or taking zinc supplements daily in hopes of preventing a cold.

While these doses are perfectly safe for short-term use, you shouldn't start taking zinc supplements daily unless you've been told by a doc you have a deficiency or some other problem and need to boost your levels.