“Being sick is just your body’s way of letting you know that you are too awesome and you need to slow down so everyone can catch up.” ~ Unknown
I don’t know about you but I DESPISE being sick. I am not a good sick person. In fact, I usually go through several stages of denial whenever I am sick.
- Denial Stage 1: I’m sure when I sit up I will feel better. I’m not sick.
- Denial Stage 2: Maybe after I take a shower. Showers fix everything. I can’t possibly be sick.
- Denial Stage 3: I really just don’t have time to be sick so I will just push through this and then I will be ok.
- Stage 4: I am dying, where is my sick robe, someone take care of me now!!!
Now that we are in the middle of cold and flu season, one of the things I hear people say is “I won’t get sick, I have been loading up on Vitamin C.” It is common knowledge that Vitamin C is important for the immune system but does it really help keep us from getting sick?
Adults catch approximately 2-5 colds/year with children suffering from the common cold about 6-10 times/year.
In 2013, researchers did a review of 29 vitamin C trials including over 11,000 participants in total to determine how effective daily supplementation with Vitamin C was in reducing the common cold. They found that in adults the chance of getting the common cold was only reduced by 8% and in children it was reduced by 14%. The authors concluded that the low reductions in incidence did not merit widespread regular supplementation of Vitamin C.
For adults the recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 65-90mg/day. The upper limit is 2.0 g/day. Most multivitamins contain between 500-1,000 mg of Vitamin C per day. Remember be sure to talk to your health care provider before starting any new supplement!
In a recent meta-analysis (analytical review of studies), researchers found that taking supplementing with a large amount of Vitamin C JUST during the cold was not effective in reducing the length of the cold or symptoms. However, regular vitamin C (1.0g/day) plus a slightly larger dose of Vitamin C (3.0-4.0g/day) during a cold could help reduce the cold by about 1/2 a day and slightly reduce symptoms including chest pain, fever and chills.
So what does this all mean? Regular vitamin C supplementation MAY be helpful for some specific populations to help prevent the common cold however for most people, taking a vitamin C supplement won’t have a great effect on preventing or reducing the symptoms.
So what is the most effective way of preventing the common cold?
- Wash your hands REGULARLY for 20 seconds with soap!
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands.
- Stay away from sick people.
Happy planting and eating!
~ The Gardening Dietitian
*Disclaimer: This blog is intended for educational purposes only and is not to serve as medical advice. Speak to medical professional about your specific conditions before beginning any new supplement regime.