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Does Vitamin C Help Prevent the Common Cold?

It's that time of year again when everyone around us is sniffing, sneezing and coughing. If only there was a cure for the common cold! Many people I know tell me that they are taking a vitamin C supplement daily in excess of 1000 mg with the hopes of preventing the common cold.

I have some good news and some bad news to share. Research shows that taking approximately 200 mg or more of vitamin C daily does not prevent the common cold in the general population, but it may slightly reduce the duration and severity of symptoms in those individuals who take it regularly, once they get a cold.

It's a different story however, in athletes or people experiencing extreme physical stress. For these individuals, daily vitamin C consumption of 200 mg or more may reduce the incidence of colds by as much as 50%.

The usual daily recommended intake of vitamin C for adults is 75 mg/day for females and 90 mg/day for males. Smokers need an extra 35 mg of vitamin C per day. Just one medium orange per day almost satisfies your vitamin C needs! Many other fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin C, especially: other citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, guava, papaya, peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. There really is no point in taking a lot more than recommended, as your body uses what it needs and then gets rid of the rest through your urine. So instead of spending your money on an expensive supplement, try getting your vitamin C naturally. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet every day! Fruits and vegetables are not only a good source of vitamin C, but other vitamins and minerals as well as fibre and antioxidants.

Eat Well, Feel Well



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