Vitamin C is required for many, many enzyme reactions in our bodies including the activation of various immune system cells. Since we are among the few species that do not produce this essential nutrient, we must rely on our diets to get enough. The problem is; Enough is a lot! A lot more than the RDA of ninety milligrams
Vitamin C is nontoxic. You are 100 times more likely to poison yourself and die from aspirin than Vitamin C. One of the interesting things about the common cold is that it is difficult to do animal studies. Laboratory animals like rats, dogs etc. don't get colds! They all synthesize vitamin C. We don't. I don't think this is just a coincidence.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin reports in his article Vitamin C Alleviate Symptoms of Common Cold? states: "Since 1971, 21 placebo-controlled studies have tested whether 1 gram or more of vitamin C per day helps to prevent the common cold. These studies have not found any consistent evidence that vitamin C pills help to prevent colds. However, vitamin C reduced the severity of the symptoms of the common cold by an average of 23%. Vitamin C has antihistaminic properties that decrease swelling and secretions and make you feel better. (H Hemila. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 1994;26(1):1-6) (emphasis added, Ed.)." I contend that these studies would have shown that vitamin C will prevent colds if the dosages were adequate. Please visit the Orthomolecular Research site that details a new evaluation of seven studies that reveal that Vitamin C does protect against the common cold.
A Recent Study
Vitamin C Cuts Cold Symptoms 85%
J Manipulative Physical Ther 1999 Oct;22(8):530-3
The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections.
Gorton HC, Jarvis K.
BACKGROUND: An ever increasing demand to evaluate the effect of dietary supplements on specific health conditions by use of a "significant scientific" standard has prompted the publication of this study.
OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of megadose Vitamin C in preventing and relieving cold and flu symptoms in a test group compared with a control group.
DESIGN: Prospective, controlled study of students in a technical training facility.
SUBJECTS: A total of 463 students ranging in age from 18 to 32 years made up the control group. A total of 252 students ranging in age from 18 to 30 years made up the experimental or test group.
METHOD: Investigators tracked the number of reports of cold and flu symptoms among the 1991 test population of the facility compared with the reports of like symptoms among the 1990 control population. Those in the control population reporting symptoms were treated with pain relievers and decongestants, whereas those in the test population reporting symptoms were treated with hourly doses of 1000 mg of Vitamin C for the first 6 hours and then 3 times daily thereafter. Those not reporting symptoms in the test group were also administered 1000-mg doses 3 times daily.
RESULTS: Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C.
CONCLUSION: Vitamin C in megadoses administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group.
(The reason this study showed such positive results while so many don't is dose. For your body to fight a cold, a whole lot of vitamin C is required. Most studies use a dose in the 500 mg to 1000 mg per day range. Far too little for significant affect. Rusty)
If you would like to see for yourself (pun intended) if Vitamin C will help you prevent or minimize colds, please follow the following procedure:
Nothing to Sneeze At: Factoids About the Common Cold
reprinted from the January, 2000 edition of Biography magazine
(of all places)
Americans suffer nearly 1 billion colds every year.
Children have six to ten colds a year.
There are approximately 300,000 nonprescription cold remedies available today.
Sales of nonprescription cold and cough medications top $2 billion annually.
Twenty-two million school days are lost annually to the common cold.
Fifteen million workdays are lost annually to the common cold.
Colds cost $5 billion in lost wages and medical expenses.
- Take Vitamin C to bowel tolerance limit twice a day.
- If you start to feel a cold coming on, increase this level to at least 1000mg per hour or as much as you can tolerate. This must be started IMMEDIATELY.
- Continue this for as long as your bowel tolerance level stays high.
While the C will help no matter when you take it, once the infection has a foothold, it will not be AS effective.
Write to me. If you were unsuccessful, I'll bet that you did not take as much as I have advised. It is amazing that people will tell me they tried taking C and it didn't work. I always ask the same question and always get the same answer - "Did you take as much as I told you to?" - "No."
Everyone needs a different amount of everything. This is known as "biochemical individuality". This is why I can't tell you exactly how much to take. Biochemical individuality makes all the double-blind studies on drugs difficult to interpret.
The gist of all this is that Vitamin C is safe, there are no contraindications or paragraphs of side-effects.
Take as much as your system requires for optimum health.