Vitamin C and colds: Separating myths from facts

Winter means cold season. But what if there was something easy you could do to save yourself from the misery of a week or two of cold symptoms? That’s where vitamin C comes into play. Vitamin C is often said to be a miracle supplement that can basically cure colds. We’re here to separate fact from fiction about this important vitamin.

What is vitamin C?   

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of the many vitamins which humans need but do not make naturally. We get vitamin C in foods or supplements. Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means that it’s easily absorbed and broken down.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in our body, helping to protect our cells and keep them healthy. Our body uses vitamin C to make collagen, which is crucial for healing wounds and plump-looking skin. Vitamin C also improves how well you can absorb iron and supports the immune system to protect you from illnesses.

The amount of vitamin C you need every day depends on your age, but the average adult needs between 75 and 90 mg of vitamin C daily. You can get this vitamin in fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, and even baked potatoes. There also are many foods and beverages with Vitamin C added, or you can take a supplement.

Vitamin C and colds

Vitamin C is a famous natural cure for the common cold, but what does the science say? Based on a study from 2013, the research found that taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C daily didn’t lower the chance of getting a cold.

But, the study also found that taking at least 200 mg of daily vitamin C reduced how long cold symptoms lasted for the average person, so they were sick about one day less.

This means that while vitamin C likely won’t prevent a cold, it can help you get over your cold faster. But in order to have any success with your cold, you need to be taking vitamin C every day.

Vitamin C is crucial for your health. Though you can get vitamin C from your diet, multivitamins can help round out any diet gaps. Visit Optum Perks and search for your vitamins to see if you can save money during your next trip to the pharmacy.