What is Vitamin C

Also known as Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C is one of the 24 essential vitamins required by the human body. Humans do NOT produce Vitamin C and therefore it must be acquired through food. Fruits often contain high concentrations of Vitamin C, with papaya, strawberries, and oranges containing about 50-60 mg per 100 grams. Vitamin C can also be obtained from animal sources, usually found in high concentrations in the liver (20-30 mg’s).

The Vitamin C Claim: Supplementing with Vitamin C will prevent the common cold; taking mega doses of Vitamin C once you have a cold will reduce the length or cure the cold.

The Research

One of the most researched vitamins on the market. Despite Vitamin C’s urban popularity as a cold-fighting solution, no studies have so far shown Vitamin C prevents colds in the general population.

General Conclusion

Vitamin C does not live up to the hype and won’t fight or cure the cold in the general populations. At most it will reduce the duration of a cold by a small bit.

Despite the urban myth surrounding Vitamin C, the ample amount of research done on it has yet to show Vitamin C prevents colds or cures colds in the general population. The one group that Vitamin C can reduce colds are athletes. Vitamin C can reduce the chances of catching a cold by half. If you are on Vitamin C and you catch a cold, studies show a 7 to 14 percent reduction in the length of the cold.

The general population likely gets plenty of Vitamin C from diet and fruit (Orange Juice, Oranges and other fruit, Vitamin C additives in processed food) which probably explains why supplementing with Vitamin C provides no real benefits.



The claims about Vitamin C are hype and not at all true based on the loads of research. Vitamin C won’t provide any benefits unless you are a hard training athlete. As a general cold preventative it will do nothing for the average person.



if you train as a fighter (training 4-5 times a week, 1 to 2 sessions a day, with long road work, and maybe strength training). Studies do show Vitamin C can half the risk of catching a cold. Considering Vitamin C is cheap, has no side effects, and is readily available, I say it’s well worth supplementing with Vitamin C if you train like an athlete.

If you do have a flu, taking Vitamin C may reduce the duration by 10-14 percent. In real terms, this may knock one day off your flu duration.


if you are not an athlete. If you train casually a couple times a week, Vitamin C likely won’t reduce your chances of catching a cold.