How has your week been? Ours has been incredible. On with the show.
We see Vitamin C showing up on a lot of medicine lists and I want to share this doctor’s opinion.
For preventing the Common Cold – inconsistent results.
- A 5 year randomized trial in Japan showed that 500 mg vs. 50 mg significantly reduced cold frequency but had no effect on duration or severity of the common cold.
- Another study – meta-analysis where they looked at 29 studies with 11,000 people assigned to minimum of 200 mg Vitamin C vs placebo – showed no statistically significant benefit for prevention of upper respiratory tract infections. However, there was a small subset of patients that exposed to vigorous activity in freezing weather (e.g. soldiers in sub-arctic exercise) had a 50% decrease in the incidence of colds.
- At best, Vitamin C has a very minor role in preventing the common cold. Its benefit may be greatest in people doing high-intensity activity in arctic conditions.
For preventing or treating heart disease – Randomized trials have shown no benefit of Vitamin C for preventing coronary heart disease in those of us who have not had the disease or those of us who have had the disease.
For cancer reduction – Large, randomized trials have shown no reduction in cancer in patients given Vitamin C supplementation.
Cataracts and macular degeneration: Yup. Same. No benefit.
Take away message: The overwhelming majority of physicians practicing evidence-based medicine do not recommend taking Vitamin C supplements for prevention of disease.
At reasonable doses, Vitamin C is definitely safe – it just doesn’t do anything.
Now if you walk 15 minutes before you take your pill and 15 minutes after? That’s a different story.
Wow, thanks for the uplifting news Dr. Sunshine, what’s your point?
We have some patients that are getting taken by these supplement companies. They have long lists of pills and we want to shorten that list as much as possible.
I’m also concerned that some people may not be staying as active as they would otherwise because they are taking Vitamin C.
By the way, this ends in good news. We do have a way to fight the common cold (and heart disease, and cancer) here it is.