VitaminC: Could help relieve symptoms of Common Cold

An analysis of 29 studies including 11,306 participants concluded that supplementing with 200 mg or more of vitamin C did not reduce the risk of catching a cold. This article explains about VitaminC: Could help relieve symptoms of Common Cold.

However, regular vitamin C supplements had several benefits, including:

  • Reduced cold severity: They reduced the symptoms of a cold, making it less severe.
  • Reduced cold duration: Supplements decreased recovery time by 8% in adults and 14% in children, on average.

A supplemental dose of 1–2 grams was enough to shorten the duration of a cold by 18% in children, on average.

Other studies in adults have found 6–8 grams per day to be effective.

Vitamin C appears to have even stronger effects in people who are under intense physical stress. In marathon runners and skiers, vitamin C alantost halved the duration of the common cold

How Does Vitamin C Reduce the Severity of Colds?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and necessary to produce collagen in the skin.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, keeping skin and various tissues tough but flexible.

A vitamin C deficiency results in a condition known as scurvy, which isn’t really a problem today, as most people get enough vitamin C from foods.

However, it’s less known that vitamin C is also highly concentrated in immune cells and quickly depleted during an infection.

In fact, a vitamin C deficiency significantly weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infections.

For this reason, getting enough vitamin C during an infection is a good idea.

Other Nutrients and Foods That May Help

There is no cure for the common cold.

However, some foods and nutrients can help the body recover. In the past, people have used various foods to reduce their symptoms.

Few of these are scientifically proven to work, but some are backed by evidence.

  • Flavonoids: These are antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest that flavonoid supplements may reduce the risk of infections in the lungs, throat and nose by 33%, on average.
  • Garlic: This common spice contains some antimicrobial compounds that may help fight respiratory infections. Read this detailed article for more information.
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Can Garlic Fights Colds and The Flu?

Garlic has been used for centuries as both a food ingredient and a medicine. In fact, eating garlic can provide a wide variety of health benefits. This includes reduced heart disease risk, improved mental health and enhanced immune function . This article explains Can Garlic Fights Colds and The Flu?

Garlic Can Boost Immune Function

Garlic contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs.

Whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. When garlic is crushed or chewed, this compound turns into allicin (with a c), the main active ingredient in garlic.

Allicin contains sulfur, which gives garlic its distinctive smell and taste (8).

However, allicin is unstable, so it quickly converts to other sulphur-containing compounds thought to give garlic its medicinal properties.

These compounds have been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses, such as the viruses that cause the common cold or flu.

Can Garlic Help Prevent Colds and The Flu?

Garlic has shown promise as a treatment for preventing colds and the flu.

Studies have shown that garlic reduces the risk of becoming sick in the first place, as well as how long you stay sick. It can also reduce the severity of symptoms.

One study gave 146 healthy volunteers either garlic supplements or a placebo for three months. The garlic group had a 63% lower risk of getting a cold, and their colds were also 70% shorter.

Another study found that colds were on average 61% shorter for subjects who ate 2.56 grams of aged garlic extract per day, compared to a placebo group. Their colds were also less severe (9).

If you often get sick with a cold or flu, eating garlic can help reduce your symptoms or prevent your illness entirely.

However, a review of the evidence found that many of the studies investigating the effects of garlic on the common cold were of poor quality.

It’s also unknown if you need to take garlic constantly, or if it also works as a short-term treatment when you start getting sick.

How to Maximize the Benefits of Garlic

The way garlic is processed or prepared can really change its health benefits.

The enzyme alliinase, which converts alliin into the beneficial allicin, only works under certain conditions. It can also be deactivated by heat.

One study found that as little as 60 seconds of microwaving or 45 minutes in the oven can deactivate alliinase, and another study found similar results (1314).

However, it was noted that crushing garlic and allowing it to stand for 10 minutes before cooking can help prevent the loss of its medicinal properties.

The researchers also stated that the loss of health benefits due to cooking could be compensated for by increasing the amount of garlic used.

Here are a few ways to maximize the health benefits of garlic:

  • Crush or slice all your garlic before you eat it. This increases the allicin content.
  • Before you cook with your crushed garlic, let it stand for 10 minutes.
  • Use a lot of garlic — more than one clove per meal, if you can.

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Can vitamin C prevent a cold?

Vitamin C is often touted as a natural cold remedy. The nutrient is featured in supplements promising to boost the immune system. Nobel laureate Dr. Linus Pauling famously claimed that taking large doses of vitamin C helps thwart a cold. Is there something to these claims? “The data show that vitamin C is only marginally beneficial when it comes to the common cold,” says Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Can vitamin C prevent a cold?

About vitamin C

Our bodies don’t make vitamin C, but we need it for immune function, bone structure, iron absorption, and healthy skin. We get vitamin C from our diet, usually in citrus fruits, strawberries, green vegetables, and tomatoes. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for men is 90 milligrams (mg) per day, and for women, it’s 75 mg per day.

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The impact on colds

The most convincing evidence to date comes from a 2013 review of 29 randomized trials with more than 11,000 participants. Researchers found that among extremely active people—such as marathon runners, skiers, and Army troops doing heavy exercise in subarctic conditions—taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C every day appeared to cut the risk of getting a cold in half. But for the general population, taking daily vitamin C did not reduce the risk of getting a cold.

More encouraging: taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C per day did appear to reduce the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 8% in adults and 14% in children, which translated to about one less day of illness. “That could be important for some people, since the common cold causes 23 million lost days of work each year,” says Dr. Bistrian.

What you should do

If you want the benefits of vitamin C, you’ll need to consume it every day, and not just at the start of cold symptoms.

Should you take a supplement? “It’s better to get vitamin C from food, because you also get other important nutrients. Eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day for general health, and you’ll get enough vitamin C,” advises Dr. Bistrian.

What about claims that massive doses of vitamin C can help prevent a cold? Some studies have suggested there may be a benefit, but they required doses of 8,000 mg per day.

At doses above 400 mg, vitamin C is excreted in the urine. A daily dose of 2,000 mg or more can cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and it may interfere with tests for blood sugar.

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Vitamin C recommendations and Side effects

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that’s found in many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. It’s well known for being a potent antioxidant, as well as having positive effects on skin health and immune function. Vitamin C recommendations and Side effects are mentioned in below.

Side Effects

Serious side effects from too much vitamin C are very rare, because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended. Doses this high can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. Large doses of vitamin C supplementation are not recommended during pregnancy. They can lead to shortage of vitamin C in the baby after delivery.

Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:

  • Anemia
  • Bleeding gums
  • Decreased ability to fight infection
  • Decreased wound-healing rate
  • Dry and splitting hair
  • Easy bruising
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
  • Rough, dry, scaly skin
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Weakened tooth enamel

A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy. This mainly affects older, malnourished adults.

Recommendations

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins reflects how much of each vitamin most people should get each day. The RDA for vitamins may be used as goals for each person.

How much of each vitamin you need depends on your age and gender. Other factors, such as pregnancy and illnesses, are also important.

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.

Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin C:

Infants

  • 0 to 6 months: 40* milligrams/day (mg/day)
  • 7 to 12 months: 50* mg/day

*Adequate Intake (AI)

Children

  • 1 to 3 years: 15 mg/day
  • 4 to 8 years: 25 mg/day
  • 9 to 13 years: 45 mg/day

Adolescents

  • Girls 14 to 18 years: 65 mg/day
  • Pregnant teens: 80 mg/day
  • Breastfeeding teens: 115 mg/day
  • Boys 14 to 18 years: 75 mg/day

Adults

  • Men age 19 and older: 90 mg/day
  • Women age 19 year and older: 75 mg/day
  • Pregnant women: 85 mg/day
  • Breastfeeding women: 120 mg/day

Smokers or those who are around secondhand smoke at any age should increase their daily amount of vitamin C an additional 35 mg per day.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who smoke need higher amounts of vitamin C. Ask your health care provider what amount is best for you.

Alternative Names

Ascorbic acid; Dehydroascorbic acid

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Health benefits of vitamin C

Fruits and vegetables are the best food sources of vitamin C. Eating a variety of these healthful foods will help people meet their daily requirements. Health benefits of vitamin C are mentioned below.

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, plays many important roles in the body. In particular, it is key to the immune system, helping prevent infections and fight disease.

The human body does not store vitamin C, so people need to get this nutrient from their diet every day. It dissolves in water, and any excess leaves the body in urine.

This article looks at the foods richest in vitamin C and how to include them in the diet. It also discusses the vitamin’s function and health benefits.

Why is vitamin C important?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It protects the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals can cause changes in cells and DNA that can lead to illnesses, including cancer.

This vitamin also plays a key role in almost all of the body’s tissues. Without vitamin C, the body cannot make collagen, a protein that is necessary for building and maintaining:

  • healthy bones
  • joints
  • skin
  • digestive tract tissues

Vitamin C is an important part of the immune system, which defends against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Studies show that low levels of vitamin C lead to problems with the immune system and other illnesses.

Vitamin C deficiency can result in a condition called scurvy. This deficiency is relatively rare in the United States.

A vitamin C deficiency, or scurvy, may cause:

  • joint pain
  • bleeding gums
  • fatigue
  • problems with wound healing
  • depression
  • tooth loss

Health benefits of vitamin C intake

The following sections discuss some of the most important benefits of vitamin C.

Boosting heart health

Some evidence suggests that vitamin C may help lower the risk of heart disease or its complications.

One study indicates that people who consume more vitamin C have a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Other researchers are not convinced that vitamin C alone improves heart health. However, it is clear that eating more fruits and vegetables can help boost the health of the heart by providing a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Strengthening the immune system

Vitamin C has an immune-boosting effect that can help the body fight off illnesses, such as the common cold.

One study found that vitamin C helped prevent pneumonia and supported tetanus treatment. Also, findings of an animal study suggest that vitamin C plays a role in reducing lung inflammation that results from the flu.

Lowering the risk of some cancers

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it can prevent damage caused by free radicals. This may help prevent diseases such as cancer.

Investigations into whether vitamin C effectively prevents cancer have yielded mixed findings. However, the results of a few studies have been positive:

  • A meta-analysis found that vitamin C was linked to a lower risk of certain types of brain tumor.
  • Another study determined that high doses of vitamin C impaired the growth of colorectal tumors in mice.
  • A different meta-analysis observed that higher vitamin C intake was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer.
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Top 12 Vitamin C rich foods

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that’s found in many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Top 12 Vitamin C rich foods are mentioned below.

1. Guava

Yellow and red fruits are usually credited with having high vitamin content, but guava is a fruit that stands tall as an exception. A single guava fruit, weighing 100 grams, has over 200mg of Vitamin C content (as per the USDA), which is almost twice as high as that in an orange.

2. Pineapple

Pineapple is an underrated nutrient powerhouse – the fruit contains huge amounts of vitamin C. A mineral which is rarely found in natural foods, manganese, is also found in pineapple making it a great addition to the diet.

3. Strawberries

Strawberries are known for their antioxidant properties all over, but they are also a rich source of vitamin C. Their vitamin C content is slightly more than that in a single orange.

4. Kiwi

If you’re looking for a healthy snack option or a way to add ‘green’ to your diet, Kiwi fruit is the way to go. Just one kiwi fruit contains up to 84mg of vitamin C, along with other vital vitamins such as vitamin K and E.

5. Mango

Mangoes are naturally high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, and thus help in boosting immunity as well. Green mangoes actually have more vitamin C content than their yellow or red counterparts.

6. Papaya

Papaya is best enjoyed fresh, whether as a salad or in the form of a juice. Half a papaya, if eaten raw, provides a significantly higher amount of Vitamin C than a single orange.

7. Broccoli

Apart from being a great vegetable for maintaining overall health, broccoli is also a great naturally occurring source of vitamin C, which helps repair damaged tissue and maintaining a healthy immunity.

8. Kale

Kale has a number of health benefits, and one of them is being high in vitamins C and K. A delicious kale juice is the way to add it to your diet or can even be replaced in pesto sauce, in place of basil.

9. Red And Yellow Bell Peppers

Red and yellow bell peppers are super rich in antioxidants, which help in maintaining eye and heart health. They also contain high amounts of vitamin C, which boosts collagen level and may help to prevent lung cancer too.

So, next time you’re looking for ways to add to your diet that are naturally high in vitamin C, try one of these options instead of using the regular orange.

10. Oranges

One medium-sized orange provides 70 mg of vitamin C, which is 78% of the DV.

Widely eaten, oranges make up a significant portion of dietary vitamin C intake.

Other citrus fruits can also help you meet your vitamin C needs. For example, half a grapefruit contains 44 mg or 73% of the DV, a mandarin 24 mg or 39% of the DV and the juice of one lime 13 mg or 22% of the DV.

11. Lemons

Lemons were given to sailors during the 1700s to prevent scurvy. One whole raw lemon, including its peel, provides 83 mg of vitamin C, or 92% of the DV.

The vitamin C in lemon juice also acts as an antioxidant.

When fruits and vegetables are cut, the enzyme polyphenol oxidase is exposed to oxygen. This triggers oxidation and turns the food brown. Applying lemon juice to the exposed surfaces acts as a barrier, preventing the browning process.

12. Parsley

Two tablespoons (8 grams) of fresh parsley contain 10 mg of vitamin C, providing 11% of the recommended DV.

Along with other leafy greens, parsley is a significant source of plant-based, non-heme iron.

Vitamin C increases the absorption of non-heme iron. This helps prevent and treat iron-deficiency anemia (27Trusted Source28Trusted Source).

One two-month study gave people on a vegetarian diet 500 mg of vitamin C twice a day with their meals. At the end of the study, their iron levels had increased by 17%, hemoglobin by 8% and ferritin, which is the stored form of iron, by 12% (29Trusted Source).

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Vitamin C Functions and Food Sources

Vitamin C Functions and Food Sources

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It is needed for normal growth and development. Here are some functions and food sources of vitamin C.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. Although the body keeps a small reserve of these vitamins, they have to be taken regularly to prevent a shortage in the body.

Function

Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is used to:

  • Form an important protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels
  • Heal wounds and form scar tissue
  • Repair and maintain cartilage, bones, and teeth
  • Aid in the absorption of iron

Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals.

  • Free radicals are made when your body breaks down food or when you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.
  • The buildup of free radicals over time is largely responsible for the aging process.
  • Free radicals may play a role in cancer, heart disease, and conditions like arthritis.

The body is not able to make vitamin C on its own. It does not store vitamin C. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.

For many years, vitamin C has been a popular household remedy for the common cold.

  • Research shows that for most people, vitamin C supplements or vitamin C-rich foods do not reduce the risk of getting the common cold.
  • However, people who take vitamin C supplements regularly might have slightly shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms.
  • Taking a vitamin C supplement after a cold starts does not appear to be helpful.

Food Sources

All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C.

Fruits with the highest sources of vitamin C include:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries
  • Watermelon

Vegetables with the highest sources of vitamin C include:

  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
  • Green and red peppers
  • Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens
  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Winter squash

Some cereals and other foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin C. Fortified means a vitamin or mineral has been added to the food. Check the product labels to see how much vitamin C is in the product.

Cooking vitamin C-rich foods or storing them for a long period of time can reduce the vitamin C content. Microwaving and steaming vitamin C-rich foods may reduce cooking losses. The best food sources of vitamin C are uncooked or raw fruits and vegetables. Exposure to light can also reduce vitamin C content. Choose orange juice that is sold in a carton instead of a clear bottle.

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Parsley uses, side effects and Precautions

Overview Information

Parsley is an herb. The leaf, seed, and root are used to make medicine. Parsley uses, side effects and Precautions are explained below.

Some people take parsley by mouth for bladder infections (UTIs), kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, constipation, diabetes, cough, asthma, and high blood pressure.

In some women it is taken by mouth to start menstrual flow or to cause an abortion.

Some people apply parsley directly to the skin for dark patches on the face, cracked or chapped skin, bruises, tumors, insect bites, and to stimulate hair growth.

In foods and beverages, parsley is widely used as a garnish, condiment, food, and flavoring.

In manufacturing, parsley seed oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes. Here are Parsley uses, side effects and precautions.

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Dark patches on the face (melasma). Early research shows that dabbing brewed parsley water on the face helps to lighten dark spots called melasma. It seems to work as well as a medicine called hydroquinone.
  • Asthma.
  • Bladder infections (UTIs).
  • Bruises.
  • Cough.
  • Cracked or chapped skin.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Fluid retention and swelling (edema).
  • Insect bites.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Liver disorders.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Tumors.

PARSLEY

OTHER NAME(S): 

Apium crispum, Apium petroselinum, Carum petroselinum, Common Parsley, Garden Parsley, Graine de Persil, Hamburg Parsley.

Side Effects & Safety

Parsley is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in amounts commonly found in food.

Parsley is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth as medicine, short-term. In some people, parsley can cause allergic skin reactions.

Consuming very large amounts of parsley is LIKELY UNSAFE, as this can cause other side effects like “tired blood” (anemia) and liver or kidney problems.

Also, applying parsley seed oil directly to the skin is LIKELY UNSAFE as it can cause the skin to become extra sensitive to the sun and cause a rash. Not enough is known about the safety of applying parsley root and leaf to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Eating parsley in food amounts is fine, but parsley in larger medicinal amounts is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Parsley has been used to cause an abortion and to start menstrual flow. In addition, developing evidence suggests that taking An-Tai-Yin, an herbal combination product containing parsley and dong quai, during the first three months of pregnancy increases the risk of serious birth defects. If you are pregnant, stick with using only the amount of parsley typically found in food.

Not enough is known about the safety of using parsley in medicinal amounts during breast-feeding. It’s best not to use more than typical food amounts of parsley.

Bleeding disorders: Parsley might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking parsley might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: Parsley might lower blood sugar levels. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use parsley.

Fluid retention (edema): There is a concern that parsley might cause the body to hold onto sodium (salt), and this increases water retention.

High blood pressure: There is a concern that parsley might cause the body to hold onto sodium (salt), and this could make high blood pressure worse.

Kidney disease: Don’t take parsley if you have kidney disease. Parsley contains chemicals that can make kidney disease worse.

Surgery: Parsley might lower blood glucose levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop using parsley at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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