The secret to stopping your cold with vitamin C

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,
Brad

Journal Reference:
Harri Hemila. Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients, 2017; 9 (4): 339 DOI: 10.3390/nu9040339

Your thoughts on “The secret to stopping your cold with vitamin C”

  1. an important issue is absorbality, as with any supplement. this issue is not covered above but should. if you do not properly absorb into your bloodstream what you swallow, it is of no use. All you get is “expensive pee” – meaning you excrete much of what you take without any or with only little effect.
    when taking Vitamin C make sure it contains Rose Hips!

  2. I use to average the typical one or two colds per year, like so many. I got really tired of fighting the lingering cold symptoms. I had previously used various supplements at the very first sign of something coming on — with disappointing results. My new game plan was to bolster my immune system during the entire cold & flu season, rather than start a supplement only during the onset of a cold/flu. I went with Echinacea. In the past 5 years I’ve only had three colds (one was very minor) that occurred, but two of those colds were because I started Echinacea too late. Mid Sept. to late Sept. use to be the time I started, but I now know that two of those three colds could have been prevented by starting in early August. I take 400mg capsules. I take 3 to 4 capsules twice a day for the first few days, then reduce it to 2 to 3 capsules twice a day throughout the cold & flu season. I now take this Echinacea from about early August to late May each season. Every 8 weeks I take the recommended 2 week break before continuing. I find that for myself it takes only about 2 days to build up immunity. For me Echinacea has worked very well & it is very low cost if you shop around. I only take pure Echinacea without all the other ingredients because they really jack up the price. The past 5 years when I’ve been on Echinacea I’ve only had one cold & no flu — I was never able to figure out why it failed me that one time — perhaps I took it past its fresh date or perhaps a lesser potent batch since my Echinacea is not standardized. Just thought I’d share something that I’ve been very happy with & I think many other people would be happy if they gave it a try. Perhaps there is a way to improve upon my regimen without raising the price too much. – Kurt P.

  3. I take zinc with my vitamin C. And I use a different form of C and that is Ascorbyl Palmitate which stays in your system much longer. Haven’t had a cold or flu in many many years.

  4. Vitamin C is a known panacea in natural health circles. Linus Pauling got a Noble prize for his work on vitamin C in the fifties. The problem with it is that is so inexpensive to use that the pharmaceutical industry does not want people to know about its wonderful beneficial properties. In large doses it can cure almost anything.

  5. brad; Your Vit C article is very interesting and is certainly in the field of “Well it can’t do any harm, might as well give it ago”.
    You might be interested to have a look at what Linus Pauling had to say about large doses of Vit C many years ago. It was quite controversial at the time.

  6. While I wonder how come an investment maven provides medical advice, I appreciate the info. However I must say that a 17% or 19% reduction is not all that impressive.
    I do take 250 mg vit. C twice a day prophylactically. More importantly, I take a dose of Echynacea daily and seem to successfully ward off colds.
    When I do feel the first symptoms of a cold, I take several capsules of Echynacea a day and in most cases avoid a full-blown cold.

  7. I use a combination of Echinacea tincture (half a dropper) in water and andrographis (400 mg) pill every 6-12 hours. I am careful about overdosing with vitamin C because it leads to diarrhea.

  8. DEAR BRAD , THANK YOU FOR THE CONSEL!HAVE ONE FRUITE WITH MUCH VITAMIN” C”-GREIPFUITE AND ALSO IN SIZILIANA-FRUITE BETWEEN LIMON , MANDARINE AND GREIPFRUITE.ONE THIN WHERE IS ACIDE HAVE MUCH VITAMIN ” C”.IT IS ACIDE IS CONTRA THE SUGAR. I PERSONALY LIKE MUCH LIMONES.EVERY DAY I CONSUMIRING MUCH LIMONS , GREIPFUITE, MANDARINS AND ORANGES.VITATMIN ” C” IS CONTRA INFLUENS , BECAUSE LIBERET THE RADICALS.THE COLD ALSO CURE WITH ” VODKA”-100 GRAMMA-” STOLICHNAIA”, ” ARAPOV”,”BORISOV”, SUBROV” , ”SMIRNOFF” AND OTHER . THIS VODKA IS DRINK WITH THE MILK SALAT;KVARK,GARLIC,CUCUMBER, FENNEL.ALL THIS IS DROPS IN THIS SALAT.IF YOU NOT CAN TO DRINK NOT MAKE THIS , BECAUSE WE IN BALKANS DRINKING LITTLE WHEN WE HAVE BIG TEMPERATURES…BUT BASTA FOR TODAY.I WISH ONE GOOD WEEKEND-TATYANA MIRCHEVA-DATA-08.04.2017-BREMEN-GERMANY

  9. Since you don’t know the duration of a cold when you get it, and some last longer than others, and there’s never a definitive start or stop time, the time reduction numbers quoted are almost meaningless. I will try it however.

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Brad Hoppmann originally grew up in Florida, but has lived in Baltimore, Charlotte and New York as well throughout his career. Always an athlete, he played varsity football and water polo at the University of Florida and received All-SEC/SCC honors.