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Does Vitamin C Help with Colds?

Looking after your health can mean increasing your vitamins and often Vitamin C is one of the first ones we think of, especially for its numerous health benefits.

Looking after your health can mean increasing your vitamins and often Vitamin C is one of the first ones we think of, especially for its numerous health benefits.

One widely discussed benefit includes the impact of Vitamin C on colds and flu, especially as it gets to the colder months when these bugs and sickness can be more common.

We’ve dug into what hardworking Vitamin C does for the body, and whether it can help us avoid the sneezing, sniffing and rundown feelings that the common cold brings with it…

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is something that many of us have heard of, and it’s something we all need thanks to its multiple health benefits. It’s found in citrus as well as other fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, bell peppers and leafy green vegetables.

A deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to a health condition known as scurvy, which can come with symptoms including fatigue, weakness, joint and muscle aches and bleeding gums.

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The benefits of taking Vitamin C

Studies show huge benefits to taking Vitamin C, which include:

  • helping to protect cells and keeping them healthy
  • maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
  • helping with wound healing and the body’s recovery
  • Stimulating the body’s white blood cells to aid immunity

Can Vitamin C help you fight a cold?

Unfortunately, even if you’re taking Vitamin C everyday it still won’t stop you from catching a cold.

There is some evidence to suggest that taking Vitamin C may help to reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms once you start to feel ill, but it’s not 100% proven.

While vitamin C can provide support for the immune system, maintaining your overall health through a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and good stress management is essential for the best immune function and that will help you stay fighting fit for longer.

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What’s the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C?

You should be able to get all the Vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take Vitamin C supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful and have a negative effect on your health instead.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C can vary by age, sex, and life stage but as a guideline; adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day. For pregnant women, guidelines suggest pregnant women should take approximately 50 mg of Vitamin C a day. However, it's not a good idea to take large doses, especially when you're pregnant.

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When should you take Vitamin C

There has been a myth that’s continued over the years that you shouldn’t take Vitamin C at night as it can have an effect on sleep, yet this isn’t proven and taking your Vitamin C shouldn’t disturb your beauty sleep, particularly if you take your chosen supplement or Vitamin C tablet with food such as your last meal or with a snack before heading to bed.

You can take Vitamin C supplements at any time of day, it’s completely up to you. Many people find that they take their supplements first thing in the morning alongside any other supplements or vitamins. For many of us that take a multivitamin supplement, whether that’s a tablet or a vegan supplement that has multiple benefits, this can often include Vitamin C in it too.

You don’t have to take it with food, but research has found that taking ascorbic acid with food can help decrease any side effects on the stomach that can be caused by the high acidity. Make sure to store your Vitamin C supplements in a cool and dark place, as this nutrient is sensitive to heat and light and that can have an effect on how beneficial it can be.

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