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Does Vitamin C Actually Prevent Colds?

You feel the onset of a cold, so you immediately turn to vitamin C to prevent it. Maybe you take tablets; maybe you pour yourself a tall glass of orange juice. However you choose to go about it, it feels like the best preventative action before turning immediately to medication. We’ve all been told at some point that vitamin C is a good way to combat colds before they work their way in. However, I’m sad to announce that this isn’t the case. The overall results seem to be pretty mixed.

What is Vitamin C?

First off, let’s examine vitamin C. It’s a nutrient that our body uses to keep us strong, and it also helps us absorb iron. It’s found in several fruits and veggies, especially citrus fruit. You can also purchase vitamin C in the form of dissolving tablets or as a dietary supplement.

Does Vitamin C Stop Oncoming Colds?

Thus far, no research has proven that it does. Studies show that taking vitamin C every day didn’t shorten the¬†number of colds that test subjects got, nor did it stop them from occurring. However, in some cases, vitamin C did improve the symptoms of said colds. Overall, it doesn’t alleviate colds and viruses, but it can weaken them.

Is it Good for You?

Vitamin C is healthy in doses, but like any substance, too much can be harmful to the body. An overabundance of vitamin C can cause kidney stones as well as digestive problems, but taking small, regulated amounts of it isn’t harmful. As with anything, it’s best to discuss what you should or shouldn’t take with your doctor first.

Ultimately, I understand the need to reach for the vitamin C tablets once you start coughing or sniffling, but be aware that vitamin C won’t completely kill off that virus. Vitamin C isn’t a bad thing to take by any means, and it can help your symptoms, but it isn’t the superhero supplement we’ve made it out to be. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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