High Doses of Vitamin C Show To Be Ineffective Against The Common Cold.

The winter cold is one we all dread getting and yet very few people take steps to prevent it.  The majority of people wait until they get sick and then treat the symptoms.  Hand washing and wiping down things with anti-bacterial wipes is one way one can help prevent getting a cold.  However, colds are primarily transmitted through the air entering your system through the nose and attaching to the nasal membranes. 

Colds leave people feeling miserable, cause them to miss work and kids to miss school.  Colds can last anywhere from 6 to 7 days in a healthy adult and up to two weeks in children and people with compromised immune systems.  Children will get sick with a cold on an average of 6 to 8 times a year, while adults will get struck with the cold 2 to 4 times a year.

Many People Believe Vitamin C Is The Cure For The Common Cold 

Linus Pauling, Ph. D.(1901-1994), a leading pioneer in the use of vitamin C,  announced in 1970 that 1,000 mg of vitamin C a day is effective against cold and other illnesses.  This is the same amount in many immunity building supplements on the market today, such as Airborne and Emergen-C.  Pauling later recounted this needed amount to ward off a cold.  In 1976 he wrote a book revising that more vitamin C should be taken to ward off the common cold and flu.  Pauling himself reportedly took at least 12,000 mg of vitamin C daily and increased the amount to 40,000 mg if cold symptoms appeared.  No studies could be shown to confirm Pauling's intake of vitamin C shortened or warded off any of his colds.

Studies Show Vitamin C Does Not Reduce or Prevent The Common Cold 

Don't be too quick to think once you're infected with a cold that a good couple of doses of vitamin C through the day will get rid of your cold or shorten the duration.  Not a single scientific study done on vitamin C have shown to build up your immunity to prevent or significantly lessen your chances of catching a cold or the shorten the duration of the common cold.

 In 16 double-blind studies, vitamin C supplements have shown that vitamin C does not prevent colds and at best may slightly reduce symptoms and shorten a cold by a day.  Large clinical trials done by Dr. Terence Anderson, professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto have shown nothing was gained by taking vitamin C year around in the prevention of colds as well. 

The Placebo Effect of Taking Vitamin C

In a test conducted in 1975, a double-blind experiment was done by scientist at the National Institutes of Health.  They compared vitamin C pills with a placebo before and during colds  Although the study was to be double-blind half the participants guessed which pill was vitamin C. This was due to the oversite of not flavoring the placebo to taste the same as the vitamin C pill.  Of the vitamin group half reported they had fewer colds.  However, among those who hadn't guessed which pill they had taken showed no difference in the incidence or severity.  This illustrates how people who think they are doing something effective can show a favorable result when none actually exists.



Sources: www.johnhopkinsmedicine.org; chochrane.org/evidence; www.quackwatch.org