Cold Home > Vitamin C and the Common Cold

Many people believe that taking large doses of vitamin C will reduce their cold symptoms -- or even prevent colds altogether. However, research studies have shown that there is no connection between the common cold and vitamin C. In fact, taking large doses of vitamin C may cause harmful side effects.

Vitamin C and the Common Cold: A Summary

The connection between vitamin C and the common cold has been a source of controversy for decades. Many people are convinced that taking large quantities of vitamin C will prevent colds or relieve cold symptoms. To test this common cold myth, several large-scale, controlled research studies involving children and adults were conducted.

Research Results on the Common Cold and Vitamin C

To date, no conclusive data have shown that large doses of vitamin C prevent colds.
For people who take vitamin C every day, it may reduce the severity or duration of cold symptoms, but there is no clear evidence supporting this. Once symptoms of the common cold begin, taking vitamin C has not shown any benefit in reducing the severity or duration of cold symptoms.
Taking vitamin C for cold prevention could provide some benefit for people exposed to brief episodes of intense exercise or extreme cold-weather environments.

Are There Side Effects?

Taking vitamin C over long periods of time in large amounts may be harmful. Too much vitamin C can cause severe diarrhea, a particular danger for elderly people and small children.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation




Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.