Vitamin C Supplementation = Say ‘Goodbye’ to Cold? (I)  

Woman having fever holding her forehead

Author: Myron Yau, Nutritionist at HKBioTek

There are more and more advertisements in Hong Kong in an overwhelming manner promoting the concept that taking a large dose of vitamin C can fight against cold. But do you think about whether it is a true story or just a marketing strategy?


In fact, the possible pharmacological effects of vitamin C on the incidence, severity, and the duration of the common cold have been almost refuted by some scientific investigators. They found that vitamin C dosage as high as 1g a day does not show any effect in protecting against or combating the common cold than 50mg a day. Furthermore, there is no significant difference between these two groups observed with regard to the incidence, severity or duration of colds. Thus, they come to a conclusion that high dose of vitamin C appear to be only weakly prophylactic, if any, and to be of little or no use for treating colds.


On the other hand, however, some reported a decrease in duration of cold episodes and the severity of symptoms with vitamin C supplementation. In their points of view, vitamin C is thought to moderate colds by enhancing many immune cell functions and destroying histamine which triggers many cold symptoms.


Indeed, it is too preliminary to make final conclusion now. But how we can better utilize the information on our hand is to maintain a balance between the benefits and drawbacks of vitamin C.


In next part, how to maintain this balance will be discussed in more details with the backup of some data. Also, some tips of consuming vitamin C will be given.