Vitamin C’s cold prevention power

C of controversy
Vitamin C has taken a beating throughout the years–a little over 70 years, to be exact.

It’s been the natural cold remedy du jour since it was first identified in the 1930s. But as is typical with most things in medicine, it has also been demonized according to conventional “wisdom.”

Those of us in the integrative medical field have been using vitamin C and seeing the benefits for decades. So when a recent analysis came out that examined over 70 studies on the use of vitamin C, imagine my disbelief at the conclusion.

This group of researchers admits that vitamin C has a “modest yet consistent” effect on cold duration. But they assert that it has no effect on cold incidence in the majority of people.

Some details: Of all the trials the researchers reviewed, 29 of them–involving over 11,000 participants–sought to test vitamin C’s cold prevention power. And according to results, supplementing with this nutrient will only cut risk of illness by 3 percent in a typical population.

The authors pointed out that this is a non-significant number. But I’m willing to bet that those 3 people in a hundred who didn’t come down with that cold would have a different opinion.

For that matter, do you know what else only works on 3 out of every 100 people who take it? Coumadin. And that drug represents the gold standard of care in its class.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

These researchers did concede to some significant benefit, though. In the handful of trials looking at this nutrient’s effects on extremely active people–think marathoners or soldiers in subarctic training–vitamin C was able to cut risk of illness in half.

And among 31 studies–involving nearly 10,000 cold episodes–researchers found that supplementation can reduce symptom duration by 8 percent and 14 percent in adults and children, respectively.

This is, just so you know, far superior to Tamiflu.

But that’s not all. Children taking 1,000 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily benefited from an 18 percent shorter cold duration. And the severity of symptoms was also lower among subjects regularly filling up on C.

The study authors may not be impressed with these results. But I am.

Vitamin C is cheap. It’s well tolerated. And it’s certainly better than anything else on the market.

What’s more, humans are among the only mammals that can’t synthesize vitamin C internally. And yet we need, on average, around 3,000 mg per day.

Meanwhile, I’m sure that most of these studies only looked at the RDA dose of vitamin C–which is a paltry 60 mg. This is truly laughable.

No, really… I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. It’s that ridiculous.

When I am facing a cold or flu, I use oral vitamin C doses of 500 mg every two hours. And I will often get an IV dose of up to 50,000 mg.

And you know what? I don’t ever get sick.

So, while there may be some controversy in the conventional world, there certainly isn’t in mine. Take your vitamin C… and take it consistently.

“Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 31;1:CD000980.