Zinc Does Little for Ear Infections

As parents know, middle-ear infections are one of the most common and painful afflictions of childhood, striking three-quarters of children.

One suggested remedy is zinc, which has a long history as a cold-fighting supplement. Zinc is said to help strengthen the immune system and to help ease and prevent infections. But in recent studies, scientists have failed to find much support for its effectiveness.

One team of researchers combined data from 10 different randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Over all, they found “no convincing evidence” that those children fared any better than those given a placebo.

One exception was in children who were malnourished; a study found that they had a lower risk of middle-ear infection after receiving zinc. But in otherwise healthy children the evidence was weak.

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