Can Vitamin C Cure Colds?

Content Team

At the first hint of a cough, catarrh or cold, it is very common to find people recommending vitamin C as a drug to help fight it.

But does vitamin C really cure colds? Science shows that vitamin C does not cure colds yet many people would argue with these findings backing it up with stories of how it can cure a cold.

It is quite difficult to find the root of where this vitamin C belief came from.  However, history traces it to a two-time Nobel-prize winner scientist Linus Pauling who believed that vitamin C could cure many unrelated ailments. Linus Pauling's belief is still held by millions of people across the world

Other scientists have come up to debunk Linus’s assertions on the efficacy of vitamin C to cure a common cold, retinal detachment, snakebites, and the AIDS virus.

However, the truth is that Vitamin C is hardly harmful which makes it susceptible to being used as a cure-all medicine. Several scientists have found that taking a high amount of vitamin C does not slow down the progress of colds.

In the review of about 30 studies that researched into people with colds who took the normal daily dose of vitamin C, findings show that the cold duration was reduced by only 8%, which has no significant impact. This insignificant result also affects the relationship of the vitamin to cancer, pneumonia, cataracts, cardiovascular disease etc.

It is recommended that people should not take more than 2,000mg per day. A higher dose can lead to nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea. Swedish researchers discover that men who take an excess of vitamin C were two times as likely to develop kidney stones. Taking a high dose of vitamin C does not make it have more effect.

You do not need to load yourself or your kids up with Vitamin C to make them feel better. Here are alternative ways of dealing with a cold.

  • Eating a hot bowl of chicken soup or pepper soup.
  • Wrapping your head with a towel, inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water, while using a drop or two of eucalyptus oil or Robb.
  • Rubbing petroleum jelly on the skin under the nose.
  • Using a cool-mist humidifier in your room to increase air moisture.
  • Putting salt-water drops in the nostrils to relieve nasal congestion.
  • Giving cough syrup or drops to relieve a sore throat (this is meant for children older than six years)
  • Running a warm bath to soothe aches and pains.
  • Feed your child when she is hungry and give her plenty of fluids such as water or fresh fruit juice to help replace fluids.

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