Points - Ask the Doctor

Q: Is Vitamin C really effective in preventing colds?

A: Vitamin C is the most famous of all natural treatments for colds. Numerous studies have found that Vitamin C supplements taken at a dose of 1,000 mg daily or more can significantly reduce symptoms of colds and help you get over a cold faster. Benefits appear to be greater for children than for adults, and the exact amount of the benefit varies widely between studies.

There is no real evidence that Vitamin C can prevent colds in general. However, there are two exceptions to this. One is the "post-marathon sniffle." Heavy endurance exercise temporarily weakens the immune system, leading to a high incidence of infection following marathons and triathlons. There is some evidence that Vitamin C can prevent such colds.

The other situation in which Vitamin C might help prevent colds is when you are deficient in the vitamin. In such cases, making sure to get your dietary allowance might help keep you healthier.

About our Doctors

This month's Ask the Doctor question was answered by:

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, Ph.D., D.O.M., L.Ac. . from his website:


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