Rotten Egg #4 – Vitamin C and the Common Cold

November is probably my least favourite month. The weather is terrible, the clocks fall back, which means it’s dark by 4:30, the only ‘holiday’ is Remembrance day and it’s flu season!!!! Time to indulge in oranges and vitamin C supplements, or so you thought.

To all the vitamin C lovers out there – almost 40 studies have evaluated whether vitamin C can prevent or treat the common cold and unfortunately the results are modest, which is a nice way of saying it can’t. However, marathon runners, cross-country skiers and soldiers training in sub-arctic environments had a slightly greater reduction in cold symptoms, but for the average Joe, supplemental vitamin C cannot be recommended to prevent or treat common colds.

Vitamin C IS good for you – it performs a variety of important cell functions, such as synthesizing collagen, which holds together the various structures of the body. It can also increase iron absorption. Vitamin C can be found in the following foods: citrus fruits, papayas, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes, and greens. Men need 90 mg/day, women need 75 mg/day, and if you smoke you need an additional 35 mg/day. On average, one orange contains about 70 mg.

Take away message: please continue to consume this precious vitamin but just don’t expect it to cure your cold.

Image courtesy ofsanchom