Oldie-but-goodie nutrient making headlines again

The oldie-but-goodie supplements keep making front-page news.  Well, in the journals I read anyway. This is something you’ll want to archive and show your primary care doctor the next time he rattles off his standard joke: that the only thing supplements give you is expensive urine.

According to a new study, daily supplements of vitamin C may help boost energy levels, as well as reduce the incidence of the common cold. It never ceases to amaze me that researchers keep testing vitamin C’s effects on the common cold. How many studies have to prove it works before people finally believe it?

Anyway, back to the study…

Researchers recruited 30 young men with low to average vitamin C levels and randomly assigned them to one of two groups. One group was given 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day for eight weeks. The other group got a placebo. By the end of the study, the men taking vitamin C experienced an astonishing 40-percent increase in their physical activity score, compared to those in the placebo group. The researchers think that since vitamin C combats oxidative stress, that could, in turn, combat fatigue too.

They’re certainly on the right track. Here’s a little bit more of the science behind this discovery: Vitamin C possesses neuroprotective properties and influences the brain’s oxidative fuel supply, thereby instilling a sense of well-being. This sense of well-being naturally translates into boosting energy and activity levels. And I’m all for anything that will get people more active.

As far as the findings on the common cold—not only did the men in the vitamin C group report fewer colds overall, but the duration of the colds they did experience was reduced by whopping 59 percent.

And to think these impressive benefits came from a modest 1,000 mg dose of vitamin C per day. Just imagine what these researchers might have found if they upped it to an optimal dose of this essential nutrient. I recommend at least 3,000 mg of vitamin C per day.


“‘A measureable benefit’: Vitamin C supplements may boost activity levels & reduce colds in young men,” NutraIngredients, 8/4/14 (http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/A-measureable-benefit-Vitamin-C-supplements-may-boost-activity-levels-reduce-colds-in-young-men)

“Vitamin C Supplementation Slightly Improves Physical Activity Levels and Reduces Cold Incidence in Men with Marginal Vitamin C Status: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Nutrients 2014; 6(7): 2572-2583