Vitamin C for the common cold is ubiquitous in our culture. Do you take mega-doses of vitamin C to fend off colds, or when you feel one coming on, and does this work for you?
Americans take for granted that vitamin C is one of the go-to remedies for boosting immunity or fighting the common cold, but we found, sifting through the studies, there is surprisingly little conclusive research backing this claim and remains controversial amongst scientists. Apparently, judging by sales and use, our collective common wisdom has left the experts behind!
What Does Vitamin C Do?
Vitamin C has several important functions: the growth and repair of hard (bones and teeth) and soft tissue (skin, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels), iron absorption, as an antioxidant, and as an antihistamine.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient found in plant-based food: vegetables, fruit, and herbs. The human body cannot synthesize it, though some mammals can, so we have to get vitamin C through our diet or take supplements.
What’s the Correct Dosage of Vitamin C for Me?
The recommended daily allowances (RDA) by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine are as follows:
Men: 90 mg per day if 18 years and older.
Women: 75mg; when pregnant: 85mg; when breastfeeding: 120mg; all 18 years and older.
Children: infants 0-6 months: 40mg per day; 7-12 months: 50mg; 1-3 years: 15mg;
4-8 years: 25mg; 9-13 years: 45mg; males 14-18 years: 75mg, females 14-18 years: 65mgs; 14-18 years when pregnant: 80mg; 14-18 years when breastfeeding: 115mg.
What Foods Contain Significant Amounts of Vitamin C?
We strongly advocate getting your nutrition from its original source whenever possible, and vitamin C is abundant and available, year-round. If you follow the simple guideline of eating a variety of colorful fresh fruit and vegetables daily, you’ll be in pretty good shape, come ‘tis winter season.
Which Supplement Form of Vitamin C is Best?
In a word: all. Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, and it comes in many forms, both synthetic and natural. Chemically, each is the same, and their bioavailability is the same. So, to answer, any form for supplementation will serve you well.
Vitamin C can be taken as tablets, capsules, powder, chewable, time-release, and liquids, and studies show no difference in bioavailability.
The natural forms of ascorbic acid as minerals are sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, molybdenum, chromium, and manganese. These mineral ascorbates are buffered and less acidic, making them easier to take for most people.
Bioflavonoids are a class of water-soluble plant pigment, providing color, and possessing anti-infectious, anti-fungal properties for the plant. Studies are inconclusive as to whether or not bioflavonoids increase the bioavailability of vitamin C in the human body.
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