Does Vitamin C Prevent Colds?

P When the nurse in my doctor asked me what supplements I take, I mentioned vitamin C and told him that the dose if I feel a cold coming on. He laughed and said he had been refuted long ago.

I am convinced that works for me. What do you say?

A. Taking vitamin C to prevent colds has been controversial for decades, since Linus Pauling recommends this strategy in 1970. Since then, numerous studies have been conducted, but clear evidence that this vitamin actually prevents colds.

Studies among marathon runners and people in severe winter conditions show that vitamin C reduces the risk of a cold by half under these circumstances ( Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews May 13, 2013 ). Other research indicates that people taking vitamin C regularly, as it does, are sick less days if they catch a cold.

For more information about a variety of strategies to treat cold symptoms, including ginger or tea elderberry, vitamin D and zinc, we offer our Guide for colds, cough and flu. Vitamin C is used in this way they do not seem to have serious side effects, although some people may find that high doses that cause diarrhea.

We have previously written about other ways to prevent colds , especially hand washing and disinfecting surfaces that could spread cold viruses.

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