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.