Vitamin C was first touted for the common cold in the 1970s. But despite its widespread use, experts say there's very little proof that vitamin C actually has any effect on the common cold.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an important vitamin and antioxidant that the body uses to keep you strong and healthy. Vitamin C is used in the maintenance of bones, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also assists in the formation of collagen and helps the body absorb iron.
Vitamin C is found naturally in vegetables and fruits, especially oranges and other citrus fruits. This key vitamin is also available as a natural dietary supplement in the form of vitamin C pills and vitamin C chewable tablets.
Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat Cold Symptoms?
Vitamin C has been studied for many years as a possible treatment for colds, or as a way to help prevent colds. But findings have been inconsistent. Overall, experts have found little to no benefit from vitamin C for preventing or treating the common cold.
In 2010, researchers looked at all studies and found that taking vitamin C every day did not prevent the number of colds that a person got. In some cases, it made symptoms improve.
The results were different for people who were in very good physical condition, such as marathon runners. People like that who took vitamin C every day cut their risk of catching a cold in half.
So what does all this mean?
Is Vitamin C Safe to Take?
In general, vitamin C won't harm you if you get it by eating food like fruits and veggies. For most people, it's also OK if you take supplements in the recommended amount.
The RDA, or recommended daily allowance, is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women. High doses of vitamin C (greater than 2,000 milligrams per day for adults) may cause kidney stones, nausea, and diarrhea.
If you're unsure about taking vitamin C for colds, talk to your health care provider.