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Can Vitamin C Keep you From Catching a Cold?

Updated: May 29, 2022

Colds are common throughout the year, especially during the winter months, but it is not something that most wish to be on the receiving end of. This has led many to frantically search for ways to prevent being infected by a cold. Vitamin C, an essential vitamin and antioxidant, in particular has been believed by many to be able to cure a cold. Vitamin C can be found in oranges, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and potatoes. However, various studies have found that vitamin C cannot prevent a cold, but vitamin C can be beneficial for a cold in other ways.

Studies by multiple experts have discovered that vitamin C cannot prevent the cold. In fact, a 2010 study investigated the role of vitamin C in preventing a cold, finding that even consuming vitamin C every single day does not prevent the amount of colds a person is infected with. A study conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration concurs with the findings of the 2010 study. The study by this organization compared the effectiveness of 200 mg of vitamin C in preventing the cold compared to a placebo in adults and children, discovering that vitamin C did not prevent colds in the research group. However, it was determined that those who consumed vitamin C and conducted intense activity in extremely cold temperatures had a reduced risk of developing a cold. This group is an exception as vitamin C cannot prevent most people from catching a cold.

Even though vitamin C cannot prevent most people from being infected by a cold, it is beneficial in other ways for a cold. One of the ways that vitamin C is beneficial for a cold is through its ability to shorten the amount of time one is sick for. For instance, a 2007 study discovered that the consumption of vitamin C on a daily basis shortened the length of a cold by eight percent in adults and by fourteen percent in children. Similarly, the same study by the Cochrane Collaboration discovered that those who consumed vitamin C on a regular basis had a cold duration shortened by ten percent. Another way that vitamin C is beneficial for a cold is through its ability to weaken the severity of a cold. Since vitamin C is important for immune cells and the immune system to function effectively, consuming vitamin C during a cold can help strengthen the immune system enough to fight off the cold. Six to eight grams of vitamin C supplements for adults and one to two grams of vitamin C supplements for children are believed to be helpful for a full recovery from a cold.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for bodily function and sustenance. It should not be neglected in one’s day to day diet. However, one should be aware that no more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C should be consumed a day because of the likelihood of one receiving dangerous symptoms from an excess of vitamins. For adults, 100 mg of vitamin C a day or a little less is considered to be enough by the German Institute for Risk Assessment. Dietary needs and a doctor’s recommendations will define the exact amount of vitamin C needed for each person.



Common colds: Does vitamin C keep you healthy? NIH. 2020 October 8.

Gunnars, K. Vitamin C for Colds — Does It Actually Work? Healthline. 2018 April 24.

Vitamin C for the Common Cold. WebMD.

Vitamin C. NHS.


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