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Vitamin C is beneficial against the common cold

An updated Cochrane Review on vitamin C and the common cold has found vitamin C to be particularly beneficial for people under heavy physical stress. In five randomized trials of participants with heavy short-term physical stress, vitamin C halved the incidence of the common cold. Three of the trials studied marathon runners, one studied Swiss school children in a skiing camp and one studied Canadian soldiers during a winter exercise. Furthermore, in a recent randomized trial carried out with adolescent competitive swimmers, vitamin C halved the duration of colds in males, although the vitamin had no effect on females.

Few therapeutic trials, meaning trials in which vitamin C was given only after the first symptoms of a cold appeared, have been carried out and their results are not consistent. Nevertheless, given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration and severity of colds in the regular supplementation studies (where regular doses of vitamin C of one gram per day or higher have reduced the average duration of colds in adults by 8% and in children by 18%), and the safety and low cost of vitamin C, the authors considered that it may be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial for them.

Hemilä H & Chalker E, Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Review, 31 JAN 2013 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4

Categories: Nutritional News, Sport & Exercise