Vitamin C No Cure for the Common Cold

It seems that Vitamin C is not a cure for the common cold, despite the view of some.

Vitamin C May Not Fight the Common Cold (WebMD)

Vitamin C’s reputation for fighting the common cold may not be justified, say researchers. They say they checked the best studies done on the topic in the last 65 years. Their findings appear in Public Library of Science Medicine.
Researchers working on the review included Robert Douglas, MD, of the Australian National University. They found hints of possible benefits in some conditions. Those areas should be studied further, say Douglas and colleagues. But overall, they say they didn’t find proof that vitamin C thwarts colds. The review included 55 studies.

Vitamin C did not prevent colds in people taking up to 2 grams daily, say the researchers. However, there were exceptions. In six studies, the number of colds was halved with vitamin C. But those studies involved rare, extreme conditions. The number of colds was only cut in marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers exposed to cold temperatures and/or physical stress. Those benefits should be treated with “great caution” and probed further, say the researchers.

I’m guessing chicken soup and refraining from going outside with wet hair are also not 100% effective.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. M. Murcek says:

    Well, it sure didn’t keep Nobel Prize-winning idiotarian Linus Pauling out of the grave…

  2. Brian H says:

    Lotsa confusions here.

    Cold does not cause colds. Viruses cause colds.
    Chilled volunteers kept away from other people don’t get them. Warm volunteers gathered indoors with others do.

    Linus Pauling made his claims about INTRAVENOUS (i.e., injected) Vitamin C. Later studies have exclusively used oral (pill form) Vitamin C. And he did not die of a cold, BTW.

  3. Michael Meo says:

    I read Pauling’s book; he did not make the claim about intravenous vitamin C; it was pills.

    But you’re right; warm rooms and other people produce more colds than cold temperatures.

  4. monique says:

    Maybe if they used the right amount of Vit C in their useless study they would’ve had better results.

    If you give a person with a cold 1 gram of vit C an hour their body will use it up and you WILL see a difference.

    It makes me sad to wonder how much $ was wasted while a bunch of idiots tested Vit C with insufficiant dosages. Only when they started getting closer to the right amounts did they see if difference. Duh.

  5. davod says:

    I have long given up on trying to figure out who is telling the truth when a study comes out. I think we need an addition to the phrase “Lies, damn lies and statistics, and studies”

  6. McGehee says:

    But … but science is infallible!