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Healthcare Research August 25, 2018

Vitamin C

Findings show Vitaminc C is actually useless against colds

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. It is essential for tissue growth and healing. For example, wounds, and torn ligaments and tendons, damaged blood vessels, torn cartilage and broken bones require Vitamin C for proper healing. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and helps to strengthen the immune system in preventing or minimizing the effects of cancer, heart disease and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Most people think that taking high doses of Vitamin C can prevent or lessen the effects of colds. In the early 1970’s, American chemist and biochemist, Linus Pauling wrote “Vitamin C and the Common Cold.” The Nobel Prize winning chemist who pioneered the idea of quantum mechanics to chemistry, suggested that taking mega doses (200 mg/day or more) of Vitamin C could ward off colds.

The recommended daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin C is 90mg. for men and 75 mg. for women. Recent findings from Finnish scientists at the University of Helsinki and and Australian scientists at the Australian National University who reviewed 30 scientific papers which complied the results of over 11,000 participants in clinical trials covering several decades was released by the Cochrane Library. The participants in these studies took supplemental doses of Vitamin C daily. The report finds that taking supplemental doses of Vitamin C really has little effect on preventing or lessening symptoms of colds.

How to Get Your RDA of Vitamin C

The body does not manufacture or store Vitamin C and therefore it needs to be taken in each day. Fruits and vegetables all contain some level of Vitamin C. Foods containing the highest amount include citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables. Watermelon, raspberries, papaya, mango cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, red peppers and winter squash are also excellent sources of Vitamin C.

Toxicity Issues

Toxicity is rare because the body doesn’t store Vitamin C but huge mega doses (2000 mg/day) can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Most excess doses will be excreted in feces and urine.

Getting too little Vitamin C

Deficiencies of Vitamin C can cause scurvy. Signs and symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include:

  • bleeding gums
  • decreased wound healing
  • nosebleeds
  • weakened tooth enamel
  • swollen and painful joints
  • easy bruising
  • dry, splitting hair

These can all be symptoms of other diseases, so in addition to evaluating your intake of Vitamin C, discuss your symptoms with your health care practitioner and decide on how best to increase your levels of Vitamin C. In general consuming a balanced diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetable each day will meet or exceed your RDA of Vitamin C.

     

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