To combat the common cold, vitamin C is a go-to solution for many people.
Back in the day, Mom would probably pour you a tall glass of orange juice. And Grandma would remind you how "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."
Nowadays, you don’t have to stock your fridge for when you need your "medicine." You can find vitamin C in concentrated-powder form in just about any convenience store. Products like Emergen-C and Zicam are marketed as being able to give your immune system a boost at any time.
But once a cold comes on, most of us are usually disappointed in the effectiveness of sugar-filled orange juice, the apple with only 8 grams of vitamin C, and the new-age vitamin powders.
Now, it’s not the vitamin C we should blame.
There’s a secret to making it work better for you, to help you get over your cold faster.
All you need to do is take more.
You see, most studies done on vitamin C and its success in fighting infections like colds only used a modest dosage. (About 1 gram per day.)
Which is the amount of vitamin C in one packet of a powder like Emergen-C.
A Double Dose of Vitamin C
Could Speed up Your Recovery
University of Helsinki researchers performed a study using higher doses of vitamin C. They wanted to see whether this would be more effective at reducing the duration of a cold.
The short answer is, yes. Here is exactly what they learned …
|Credit: Flickr.com user Orange juice|
The first trial in the study administered 3 g/day vitamin C to two study groups … 6 g/day to a third group … and the fourth group was administered a placebo.
Compared with the placebo group, the 6 g/day dose shortened colds by 17%.
That’s twice as much as the 3 g/day doses did.
The second trial administered 4 g/day and 8 g/day vitamin C, and placebo, to different groups.
But only on the first day of the cold.
Compared with the placebo group, the 8 g/day dose shortened colds by 19%.
That’s twice as much as the 4 g/day dose did.
Both studies revealed a significant dose-response relationship between the vitamin C dosage and the duration of the common cold.
The dose-response relationship was only tested up to the levels of 6 g to 8 g/day.
So, it is possible that even higher doses could lead to still-greater reductions in the duration of common cold.
As lead researcher, Dr. Harri Hemilä, said about the results:
"Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration of colds, and its safety and low cost, it would be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic 8 g/day vitamin C is beneficial for them.
"Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective."
I’d like to reiterate this last sentence.
For over-the-counter vitamin C to be effective against your cold, it must be used as soon as you start feeling sick.
A good plan of attack is taking doses of 1 gram to 2 grams at a time … with an hour in between those doses.
Choosing what brand of vitamin C to use is just as important as well.
You want to be using the most bio-available forms of vitamin C.
Most drugstores carry the brand Ester-C. This is actually calcium ascorbate, which can be used to treat or prevent vitamin C deficiency.
Using a proprietary, water-based manufacturing process, it produces a pH-neutral product that contains active vitamin C metabolites.
Another brand to look at is Ultra-fine Quali-C, which can be found online.
Next time you feel a cold coming on, try this new method of vitamin C defense and see how it works for you.
If you enjoyed this article, have additional thoughts, or want to share other cold-fighting strategies that have worked for you, please leave a comment below.
Happy and healthy investing,
Harri Hemila. Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients, 2017; 9 (4): 339 DOI: 10.3390/nu9040339