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C Is for Cold

vitamin c can help shorten colds

Colds can strike at any time, and their symptoms can leave you down and out. Many people believe that vitamin C can prevent and help treat the common cold. Is there any truth in this belief? Let’s see what the experts say.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki recently analyzed 63 clinical studies that investigated the effects of vitamin C on the common cold. They only included studies that used at least 2000 mg of vitamin C supplements daily. They found that vitamin C supplementation had no effect on the number of people who caught a cold. In other words, vitamin C does not prevent colds.

But wait! Don’t give up on vitamin C yet. The review also found that daily vitamin C supplementation did reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms. Adults taking vitamin C on a daily basis had an eight percent reduction in cold symptoms.

However, the ability of vitamin C to shorten a cold is not without its limits. The researchers found that vitamin C supplementation was only beneficial when started within 24 hours of catching the cold. Since most people don’t know they have a cold until after 24 hours has passed, vitamin C is typically not recommended by health professionals as a therapeutic remedy.

It is sounding like C may not be for cold after all. It may not be worth it to take vitamin C supplements all year long if the only benefit is the potential for a slightly shortened cold duration with lessened symptoms. Stick to getting vitamin C through your diet, and dodge that cold by washing your hands often.

Written by: Kierin O’Donnell, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.

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