A study published in the journal Nutrients found that vitamin C is the key to recovering from the symptoms of the common cold. A researcher from the University of Helsinki in Finland discovered that a high dose of vitamin C can potentially reduce the duration of the common cold. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is known to relieve and prevent bacterial and viral infections among different animal species. Its effects on human infections are similar to those found in animal studies.
Dr. Harri Hemila, the author of the study, reviewed the findings of two trials that focused on the effects of vitamin C doses during a common cold infection. In the first trial, two different study groups received 3 g (3,000 mg) of vitamin C per day. The third group received 6 g (6,000 mg) the vitamin while the fourth group received a placebo. At the end of the trial, the group that took 6 g of vitamin C had their common cold infection shortened by about 17 percent.
In the second trial, Hemila gave 4 g (4,000 mg) and 8 g (8,000 mg) of vitamin C, and a placebo to the remaining groups on the first day of their colds. Eight grams of vitamin C was found to reduce the duration by 19 percent.
Based on these results, the researcher concluded that there is a positive correlation between vitamin C doses and the response participants.
"Given the strong evidence that regularly administered vitamin C shortens and alleviates common cold symptoms, it seems plausible that vitamin C might also alleviate complications of the common cold,” Hemila said.
In a press release from the University of Helsinki, Hemila stated that: “Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective.” Additionally, Hemila highlighted the need for more trials to examine the dose-response relationship in larger doses of vitamin C
More than just boosting the immune system's resilience toward the common cold, vitamin C has other beneficial effects on the body. Vitamin C prevents scurvy, a disease where bones, connective tissues and blood vessels with collagen become weak. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C make it essential for the production of collagen.
Vitamin C also helps reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease, including hypertension and stroke.
People with cataracts or those with difficulty controlling their asthma or suffer from lead toxicity can depend on vitamin C to reduce their symptoms. Better mood and more effective wound repair have also been connected with vitamin C intake. Vitamin C supplements can be used for vasodilation -- the dilatation of blood vessels to decrease blood pressure.
The human body isn't capable of creating its own vitamin C, so most people resort to eating vitamin C-rich foods and taking supplements to get their daily dosage. Among the most famous sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits like oranges, raspberries, lemons and strawberries.
Leafy, green vegetables like spinach and cabbages are also fantastic sources of vitamin C. Other vegetables you can try are cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, kale and collard greens. There are also experts that stand by the effectiveness of increasing fermented foods consumption to increase your vitamin C intake.
If you feel a cold or flu is coming, save yourself from the misery and increase your intake of vitamin C. It's an effective and healthy nutrient that helps the body fight infections.