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Vitamin C for Cold: How Effective is it

One of the most common medicines that we are asked to take every time we have a cold or cough is vitamin C. This important water soluble vitamin is touted to be the most effective micro nutrient to help the body avoid cold and sore throat symptoms as well as boost immunity.

The most common sources of vitamin C are citric fruits such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, berries, black currants, their fresh juices and the like. In absence of natural sources of vitamin C, one can also be advised to take vitamin C supplements or pills. However, how effective a treatment is vitamin C for cold or is it just a traditional medicine passed on from generation to generation? Let’s explore.

Vitamin C for Cold


How effective is Vitamin C For Cold?

Although it has now become a common practice to prescribe vitamin C for cold and cough, it first came to be used in the 1970s. According to research, when taken in particular dosages, vitamin C can help prevent the start of a cold as well as reduce the severity if you already have it. According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance, women can have 75 mg of vitamin C daily, while men can have 90 mg of the same. The upper limit for adults is 2000 mg a day. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily value of vitamin C for adults and kids aged 4 and above is between 60 mg and 90 mg, irrespective of their gender.

However, a research published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013 suggested that supplementing a person with vitamin C may not reduce the chance of catching a cold but may definitely boost the immune system of those who undertake some form of physical exercise like skiing, running, swimming, and the like. Furthermore, it showed how vitamin C helped lessen the duration and severity of the cold bout in both adults as well as children. While in adults, an administration of 1000mg to 2000 mg reduced the duration of cold by 8 %, in children, the same amount of dosage brought it down by 14%.

What happens if you have too much vitamin C?

Although having too much of vitamin C rich foods causes no potential side effects (given it's water soluble and any surplus will be lost in urine), consuming supplements more than the recommended dosage, can result in symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. That is why it is always best to consult a doctor before including supplements in your daily diet.

Final Takeaway

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that benefits the body in more ways than one. These health benefits include strengthening the immune system, helping in producing collagen for the skin, hair and bones, as well as help in wound healing, apart from reducing the severity and duration of cold and cough, as stated above, among adults and children. Given that human beings, unlike other animals, cannot synthesize vitamin C on their own, they need to consume more of it either through the foods they eat or through supplements. Best food sources include bell peppers, orange juice, kiwi fruit, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, grapefruit among other citrus fruits, the best supplements include the ones with ascorbic acid individually as well as with bioflavonoids or ones with mineral ascorbates, such as sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate.
Vitamin C are Citric Fruits

 To help you manage your cold and cough symptoms, Wellbeing Nutrition’s Daily Greens is the perfect solution for you. A multivitamin from 39 farm-fresh greens, veggies, fruits, and antioxidant-rich superfoods, (of which vitamin C is an important ingredient, Daily Greens will meet your Vitamin C requirement while keeping you safe, without any side effects. Just drop a tablet into your glass, watch it fizz, and sip on the delicious drink to get your daily dose of nutrients!


  • Bucher A, White N. Vitamin C in the Prevention and Treatment of the Common Cold. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016;10(3):181-183. Published 2016 Feb 9. doi:10.1177/1559827616629092. (
  • Chambial S, Dwivedi S, Shukla KK, John PJ, Sharma P. Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: an overview. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2013;28(4):314-328. doi:10.1007/s12291-013-0375-3. (,%E2%80%9340%20mg%2F100%20g.)
  • Vitamin C, National Institute of Health, (
  • Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), National Institute of Health, (
  • Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 31;2013(1):CD000980. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4. PMID: 23440782; PMCID: PMC8078152. (
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