In this part of my series on vitamin C, we head into its treatment portfolio. What conditions can this antioxidant nutrient help treat and prevent? Let’s begin with its most famous link, the common cold. From there, we’ll look at its potential in wound healing and in cancer.
Vitamin C is most widely used to prevent and treat the common cold. Some researchers suggest that taking one to two grams (g) of vitamin C a day could prevent or ameliorate a cold virus. However, despite many decades of clinical studies, this topic is surrounded by controversies. Several clinical trials have used varying doses of vitamin C to find that the nutrient doesn’t have significant preventive effect. Instead, it could reduce the severity and duration of symptoms of the common cold.
In a recent double-blind study out of Australia, 400 individuals with new-onset cold symptoms were treated with placebo or various doses of vitamins C — namely one gram, three grams or three grams with bioflavonoids. The researchers found that there was no difference in the duration or severity of cold symptoms between any of the vitamin-C-treated and the placebo-treated groups. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 92 marathoners, supplemental vitamin C of 600 milligram (mg) a day for three weeks made them 50% less likely to get the common cold. So, with the varying results, you can easily see why the controversy still rages today.
Vitamin C is very important in wound healing, because it stimulates the creation of collagen, needed by the tissue to rebuild. In people who underwent surgery or suffer from burns, it is recommended that between 500 mg and one gram a day of vitamin C be taken to help with repair.
Famous researchers have advocated the use of high doses of vitamin C (i.e. over 10 g a day) to treat cancer. However, subsequent well-controlled studies conducted at the Mayo Clinic showed no real differences between vitamin-C-treated and placebo-treated groups with regard to survival time. At the present time, there is no demonstrated role of high-dose vitamin C in the treatment of any cancer.
Read the first part of this series, by clicking here.