For those basking in a northern hemisphere summer, catching a cold is probably not a significant concern, but for those Science a GoGo readers shivering in a southern hemisphere winter, new research about vitamin C and colds may bring cold comfort.
Since Vitamin C and The Common Cold by Linus Pauling was published in 1970, it has been generally accepted that vitamin C could help prevent and shorten the duration of the common cold. But an article in this month’s PLoS Medicine reviewing past clinical research on this topic, suggests that the public’s enthusiasm for vitamin C may be unjustified.
On a more positive note, the researchers did find that those people who were given vitamin C and then caught a cold, experienced a small reduction in the duration of the cold compared with those taking a placebo. In one of the trials, patients who took a single, very high dose of the vitamin (8 g) on the day their symptoms started experienced a shorter illness compared with people who took a placebo pill. The authors say that the results in this single trial are “tantalizing and deserve further assessment.”