Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vitamin C Offers Little Protection Against Colds, Review Finds

Date:
July 18, 2007
Source:
Center for the Advancement of Health
Summary:
Unless you run marathons, you probably won't get much protection from common colds by taking a daily supplemental dose of vitamin C, according to an updated review of 30 studies.

Since the discovery of vitamin C in the 1930s, controversy regarding its efficacy in treating ailments from lung infections to colds has surrounded it.
Credit: iStockphoto/Erick Nguyen

Unless you run marathons, you probably won't get much protection from common colds by taking a daily supplemental dose of vitamin C, according to an updated review of 30 studies.

Related Articles


Conducted over several decades and including more than 11,000 people who took daily doses of at least 200 milligrams, the review also shows that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) does little to reduce the length or severity of a cold, according to the researchers at the Australian National University and the University of Helsinki.

However, they found that people exposed to periods of high stress -- such as marathon runners, skiers and soldiers on sub-arctic exercises -- were 50 percent less likely to catch a cold if they took a daily dose of vitamin C.

For most people, the benefit of the popular remedy is so slight when it comes to colds that it is not worth the effort or expense, the authors say. "It doesn't make sense to take vitamin C 365 days a year to lessen the chance of catching a cold," said co-author Harri Hemilä, a professor in the Department of Public Health at University of Helsinki in Finland.

The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

Since the discovery of vitamin C in the 1930s, controversy regarding its efficacy in treating ailments from lung infections to colds has surrounded it. In the 1970s, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling popularized its regular use. His book, "Vitamin C and the Common Cold," encouraged people to take 1,000 milligrams of the vitamin daily.

The current recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 60 milligrams. An eight-ounce glass of orange juice has about 97 milligrams of vitamin C.

Despite early mixed results and later evidence against its efficacy, charismatic Pauling became the world's vitamin C champion. "Pauling never recanted and never backed down," said Wallace Sampson, founding editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and emeritus professor of medicine at Stanford University.

Regardless of the evidence against it, vitamin C remains popular because many people -- including those funding studies -- want to believe that it works, said Sampson, who debated Pauling on the radio and in letters.

These days, there is less interest in studying vitamin C and the common cold, said Hemilä, who has studied the vitamin for more than 25 years. The Cochrane Review was originally published in 1998 and updated in 2004 and this year. The latest update includes a single new study on the Vitamin C-cold connection.

However, researchers continue to examine vitamin C alone and in combination with other vitamins and substances, such as Echinacea, for its efficacy in preventing and treating diseases and conditions, including cancer. This is not necessarily a good thing, Sampson said. "It's broadside quackery."

Hemilä said he sees little use in further study for colds for adults. However, he would like to see more studies on vitamin C and colds in children and vitamin C and pneumonia. Vitamin C is not a panacea, but it is not useless either, Hemilä said. "Pauling was overly optimistic, but he wasn't completely wrong."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center for the Advancement of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center for the Advancement of Health. "Vitamin C Offers Little Protection Against Colds, Review Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070718002136.htm>.
Center for the Advancement of Health. (2007, July 18). Vitamin C Offers Little Protection Against Colds, Review Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070718002136.htm
Center for the Advancement of Health. "Vitamin C Offers Little Protection Against Colds, Review Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070718002136.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins