Fact or Fiction: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the common cold? It’s probably a lemon or an orange. It is embedded in our brain that vitamin C is good for preventing and treating colds.
Do you have a runny nose? Headache? Stomachache? Or maybe an itchy throat? It’s nothing that drinking a little lemon juice can’t solve. That’s the reasoning of most people. People increase their consumption of lemons and oranges during the winter or when they get a cold because these fruits are rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin C has been shown to improve mood, boost immunity, and improve skin and bone health. But recently there has been an increase in the use of vitamin C to prevent and treat colds. Find out if that’s fact or fiction.
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbic acid. It is a water-soluble vitamin essential for the well-being of the body. Vitamin C is easily excreted from the body through water, so a daily intake of vitamin C is a must for everyone. Vitamin C is also a common nutrient whose daily requirement can be met only by a balanced diet. It was discovered in 1932, but even before that, citrus fruits, the greatest source of vitamin C, were used to treat diseases such as scurvy.
Food sources of vitamin C
- Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, kiwi)
- Green vegetables
Functions of vitamin C
- Vitamin C is vital for the proper functioning of the body. It plays many important roles. Some of them are listed below:
- Protect cells and keep them healthy.
- iron absorption
- Maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones, tendons and cartilage.
- Helps with wound healing.
Vitamin C deficiency
Although vitamin C deficiency is rare today, it is still prevalent among malnourished adults. Signs of vitamin C deficiency include:
- frequent bruises
- Improper healing
- bleeding gums
Causes and symptoms of the common cold
The common cold is mainly caused by rhinovirus. There are about 160 varieties of rhinoviruses, and overall at least 200 viruses are known to cause colds. These continually evolve and mutate; That’s why you get colds from time to time. Your immune system adapts to the virus, but the next time, a new variant attacks. Similarly, scientists are also having trouble developing a vaccine against the common cold.
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Sneezing and coughing
- Sore throat
- Shaking chills
The flu, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and COVID-19 also have symptoms similar to the common cold. Therefore, we recommend that you do not self-diagnose unless you are a certified medical professional.
What is the link between vitamin C and the common cold?
The link between vitamin C and the common cold was first established in the 1970s by scientist and Nobel laureate Linus Pauling. He conducted numerous experiments on the benefits of high doses of vitamin C.
Pauling argued that high doses of vitamin C can also prevent many other diseases besides colds. However, Pauling’s studies did not yield conclusive results. Pauling wrote several books and scientific articles about the supposed miraculous effects of vitamin C. Many of his claims have been proven false in the years since or remain unverified.
In modern times there have also been several other studies on vitamin C and its connection to the common cold. In some trials, vitamin C supplementation reduced the duration of the common cold in a few subjects. But no study has conclusively shown that vitamin C prevents or treats colds in all people.
Just as the duration, symptoms, and severity of colds vary between people, the effects of vitamin C vary as well. Vitamin C can reduce the duration of colds in some people. It may also moderate symptoms, aid recovery, and help prevent long-term colds in some people. But, I repeat, nothing has been scientifically proven yet, so it cannot be said with certainty that vitamin C is beneficial for everyone.
Although there have been studies demonstrating the effectiveness of vitamin C in combating the common cold and others, the notion that vitamin C is the magic cure for preventing or treating the common cold is fiction. But there is nothing wrong with slightly increasing your daily intake of vitamin C, as it increases immunity and overall health, which will prevent many ailments in the long run.
Also read: Fact or fiction: you can only use 10 percent of your brain
Also Read: Fact or Fiction: India Never Invaded Any Other Country
Read also: Fact or fiction: the Sahara is the largest desert in the world
Also read: Fact or fiction: running barefoot is better for your health