Can Vitamin C Prevent and Treat Common Cold?
November 28 2010
Should you take vitamin C to prevent and treat colds? Let’see what does this 2010 review add to the topic.
Why look at vitamin C?
- Common cold is the major cause of visits to the doc in western countries and absentism from work and school
- Worse yet, you to miss your workouts too!
- Anitbiotics are ineffective since common colds are caused by viruses
- Vitamin c has been widely sold to treat and prevent common cold
What were the study highlights?
The study is a systematic review. Out of 55 studies, 36 met the inclusion criteria.
- High quality methodology: Studies were accessed for blinding, random allocation , placebo indistinguishabilty, allocation concealment, studiy search done by independent authors and sought intrepretation only when data is questionable.
- Treatment: Orally administered vitamin C of at least 0.2 g daily for a single day or for a period.
- Outcome: Outcome measures were incidence, duration or severity of the common cold.
What were the vitamin C study results
- Prevention (incidence of colds): There is very little benefit of taking vitamin C routinely to prevent colds. In special circumstances, If you physically very active and /or exposed to cold conditions (marathon running, skiers), vitamin C could beneficial to prevent colds. This was consistently shown even with smaller doses.
- Treatments after the onset (therapeutic): No trials have shown it to be effective. But since vitamin C has consistently shown to decrease the severity and duration, it might be worth a try. We need more studies to see if high doses ( 8g/day) can have a therapeutic effect and if supplementation is more effective in children than adults.
- Dosage: The effective dosage can be from 1 gms to 8 gms.
- If you live in cold countries and is highly active or prone to colds (athelete or heavy lifting, dieting), supplementing vitamin C during the winter could be beneficial. The dosage could be from 1- 4 gms.
- There is little practical benefit of taking it year round.
- If you already got a cold, try some high doses as soon as you can (4g - 8g). If it doesn’t work, have some chicken soup instead
Anoop | Wed December 01, 2010
I have a cold and everyone talks about Vitamin C. I wanted to see if there is some evidence. I used to be real big into all these alternatives treatments before I discovered science (:-
It is from the Cochrane group. Their reviews are of the highest quality and shows the rest how systematic reviews are to be done.
TheDane | Mon December 06, 2010
Thanks for the article Anoop!
Short and concise.
Sleep seems to be a better way to avoid the cold altogether, as you are about 3 times less likely to get infected by sleeping 8 hours or more:
I try to always get 8 hours of sleep, and I generally feel great.
Anoop | Mon December 06, 2010
Thanks for the comment!
And great find! I will have to read the full text.
A lot of people think you get a cold from the cold which is wrong why do people get more sick in winter because more people spend more time inside. Eating healthy, exercising and including vitimin c rich foods should help ward it of as well as sleep and rests in between hard training sessions.
Anoop | Sun December 19, 2010
Thanks for the comment.
This is very true. I can attest to this because the place where I come from people think if you get water on you head , you will catch a cold. My Mom always use to say when I was playing outside in the rain.This is a classic example of nocebo effect.
There has been studies conducted where people sit inside a water tub to see if indeed there is any truth.
Thanks Anoop there was a program called whats good for you don’t know if you have heard of this and they tested if cold weather gives you the cold or the viruses and the cold weather did nothing.
See this replay:
Best Vitamins Online | Wed August 24, 2011
Vitamin C has many benefits. It is essential to healthy looking skin, promoting good bone health and boosting the immune system to help us avoid illness and disease just to name a few.