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Can Vitamin C Help You Avoid a Cold?

By Randi Morse

This is the time of year when I start to get extremely conscientious about everything I touch. I wipe down the cart at the grocery store, I wash my hands a little more frequently, and I try to do everything I can to avoid touching my face or eyes. That's because this is cold and flu season. When I was growing up I was always told to bundle up in the cold weather so that I would avoid getting sick. We now know that this wives tale isn't entirely true. Are other stories about how to avoid getting sick true? For example, can taking Vitamin C help you avoid getting a cold?

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most well-known vitamins and is found in a wide array of foods including broccoli, kiwi, and, of course, oranges. In 1970 a Nobel prize winner by the name of Linus Pauling write a book in which he claimed that cold could be prevented by taking what he called "megadoses" of Vitamin C. The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C for a woman is 75 mg while it is 90 mg for a man. Pauling suggested that by taking 18,000 mg of Vitamin C daily, you could push back a cold before it began.

The Hard Truth

Unfortunately, Pauling was not correct about his theory. After researching and collecting information from 29 studies, with more than 11,000 participants, it was discovered that supplementing with Vitamin C does not reduce the possibility of catching a cold. While this is very saddening, there are still some good things about regularly supplementing Vitamin C, especially if you're looking to avoid the side effects that come along with a cold. 

Regular Vitamin C supplements have been shown to reduce the severity of a cold. This means that the symptoms you'll get with your cold are less intense than they would have been normally. Regular Vitamin C supplements also help to reduce the duration of a cold, lowering the recovery time by 8 percent in adults and by 14 percent in children. 

So what does this mean? If you hate catching a cold, like I do, there are smart things you can do to help stay healthy, like eating well, exercising regularly, and being cautious with what you touch. But adding some Vitamin C to your daily diet will definitely not hurt!

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Dawsonville, Ga.

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