Skip to main content

The Role of Vitamin C When It Comes to the Common Cold

It is an accepted fact in our society that Vitamin C helps prevent and fight the common cold. Especially during the winter, people stock up on products such as Emergency-C, Vitamin C pills, or drinks that have extra Vitamin C, in the hopes to help boost their immune system and fight the cold. Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, is one of the safest nutrients for us. It is a water soluble vitamin and is therefore excreted from the body when an excess amount is ingested. Vitamin C is naturally found in certain citrus fruits and vegetables.

Since science is based on proof, researchers decided to test that theory and determine if Vitamin C is, in fact, a natural remedy for the common cold. In 2013, a meta-analysis of over twenty-nine studies looked at whether Vitamin C has any real value in helping with the common cold. And, contrary to popular belief, the results showed only an eight percent reduction in the duration of cold symptoms in adults, who regularly ingested at least 200mg of daily Vitamin C supplements. Children, who ingested 2gms of Vitamin C daily, showed an eighteen percent reduction in cold symptoms.

Additionally, taking Vitamin C did not decrease the incidence of the common cold in the general population; only in a select group of participants. That select group of participants consisted of people exposed to vigorous physical activities, such as marathon runners, soldiers, snowboarders, and skiers. They showed a fifty percent decrease in the incidence of colds. The meta-analysis also determined that there were no specific benefits to ingesting Vitamin C after a person already had a common cold. Vitamin C did not reduce the symptoms or the severity of the common cold.

Although more studies are needed to conclusively determine the role of Vitamin C in preventing and fighting the common cold, based on the information we know today, Vitamin C does not help with the common cold for the General population except for certain trained athletes. However, given that Vitamin C is an inexpensive and a fairly safe supplement if one were to take it, even if they only experience the placebo effect, there will be no harmful consequences.

Dr. Eddie Fatakhov, M.D. Eddie Fatakhov, M.D. is a board-certified physician, nutritionist, and author of “Dr. Fat Off: Simple Life-Long Weight-Loss Solutions.”

You Might Also Enjoy...

CBD: 10 Must-know Science-based Facts

CBD is a marijuana plant-derived, non-psychoactive, natural remedy is being adapted to treat a wide variety of ailments from anxiety and pain to various seizure disorders. So what is this “miracle drug” and why should you care?

Can your leaky gut benefit from Glutamine?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately you’ve probably heard about something called “leaky gut.” There is surrounding this condition due to its connection to a wide variety of other physical ailments such as crohn’s disease, IBS, and acne.