Vitamin C vs. The Common Cold


| 2 Comments
As we enter into the fall and winter, as college students, many of us will simply become sick from our poor diets, irregular sleeping schedules, and being in contact with so many other people all of the time. Starting to feel the beginnings of a cold myself, I started to wonder if the intake of Vitamin C can actually prevent and treat colds. I found that Vitamin C's "healing" may be quite exaggerated. 
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According to the studies of the Mayo Clinic, it is very difficult to determining the value of Vitamin C during the cold seasons. 30 clinical trials with over 10,000 participants pertaining to Vitamin C showed that there was no significant difference in the amount of people taking Vitamin C who became ill and those not taking Vitamin C who became ill. Additionally in this same group, the colds of those taking Vitamin C supplements were no less severe than those who lacked the Vitamin C. Although there was no reduction in cold frequency or lessoning of the symptoms, it was found that the the colds of those taking Vitamin C were slightly shorter in duration. Further studies have shown that those living or working in extreme conditions may benefit from Vitamin C. It has been observed that subtract soldiers, marathon runners, and skiers are 50% less likely to get a cold when they get enough Vitamin C. Regardless, it remains questionable whether Vitamin C has real benefits for the average person. 

Ongoing studies continue to attempt to prove the benefit or lack thereof. Even though it may eventually be concretely proven that Vitamin C cannot help with preventing or getting rid of the common cold, I for one will keep taking my vitamins. After all, even if there its not getting rid of my cold, as I college student, I'm sure my body can take advantage of all the extra vitamins it can get. 

2 Comments

I came across a lot of the same information you did when researching this topic. I’ve always been told that Vitamin C can stop a cold in its tracks. So whenever I’m feeling run down and like I’m about to catch a cold, I grab some OJ and drink up. According to this article published on the Daily Beast (from Newsweek)this article published on the Daily Beast (from Newsweek), orange juice isn’t going to do a whole lot.

This WebMD article also tries to debunk the four most common cold remedies. The article says that zinc has yet to have thorough testing, but some well-designed study showed that zinc could positively impact a cold treatment, but the study has yet to be replicated.

Next up: vitamin C. The verdict remains unclear. Scientists are split on whether or not vitamin C can help prevent, shorten the duration or severity of it. “One 2007 study showed that if vitamin C is taken after a cold begins, it doesn't shorten the cold or make it less severe. But when it is taken daily as a preventive treatment -- not just after that first sniffle -- it can very slightly shorten cold duration, by about 8% in adults and by about 14% in children. Very highly fit people -- marathon runners, for instance -- might cut their risk of a cold in half by taking the vitamin, the study also showed.”

Echinacea is another controversial remedy. Some studies show that it reduces likelihood of catching colds and shortens the duration, while other studies show no benefits whatsoever. The WebMD experts claim this remedy is less a remedy and more just talk.

Lastly, the chicken soup cure-all. Those in favor claim that the hot soup eases symptoms by reducing inflammation. The tricky part is that experiments can’t be done on this, since it’s hard to find a true placebo for this. The scientific experts on this article say that the soup isn’t a cold remedy.

The good news is that even if we don’t know for certain which of these four tricks of the trade really prevent or reduce colds, none of the methods are going to hurt us. So drink your OJ, take your zinc and Echinacea, and slurp some soup in the off chance that maybe your cold won’t be so terrible.

I came across a lot of the same information you did when researching this topic. I’ve always been told that Vitamin C can stop a cold in its tracks. So whenever I’m feeling run down and like I’m about to catch a cold, I grab some OJ and drink up. According to this article published on the Daily Beast (from Newsweek)this article published on the Daily Beast (from Newsweek), orange juice isn’t going to do a whole lot.

This WebMD article also tries to debunk the four most common cold remedies. The article says that zinc has yet to have thorough testing, but some well-designed study showed that zinc could positively impact a cold treatment, but the study has yet to be replicated.

Next up: vitamin C. The verdict remains unclear. Scientists are split on whether or not vitamin C can help prevent, shorten the duration or severity of it. “One 2007 study showed that if vitamin C is taken after a cold begins, it doesn't shorten the cold or make it less severe. But when it is taken daily as a preventive treatment -- not just after that first sniffle -- it can very slightly shorten cold duration, by about 8% in adults and by about 14% in children. Very highly fit people -- marathon runners, for instance -- might cut their risk of a cold in half by taking the vitamin, the study also showed.”

Echinacea is another controversial remedy. Some studies show that it reduces likelihood of catching colds and shortens the duration, while other studies show no benefits whatsoever. The WebMD experts claim this remedy is less a remedy and more just talk.

Lastly, the chicken soup cure-all. Those in favor claim that the hot soup eases symptoms by reducing inflammation. The tricky part is that experiments can’t be done on this, since it’s hard to find a true placebo for this. The scientific experts on this article say that the soup isn’t a cold remedy.

The good news is that even if we don’t know for certain which of these four tricks of the trade really prevent or reduce colds, none of the methods are going to hurt us. So drink your OJ, take your zinc and Echinacea, and slurp some soup in the off chance that maybe your cold won’t be so terrible.

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