Popping a Vitamin C pill every time you feel a cold starting isn't such a good idea after all, for a new study has found that you will most probably end up getting the sniffles.
The news comes from an updated review of 30 studies conducted over several decades and including more than 11,000 people who took daily doses of at least 200 milligrams of Vitamin C.
The review, according to the researchers at the Australian National University and the University of Helsinki, also shows that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) does little to reduce the length or severity of a cold.
"It doesn't make sense to take vitamin C 365 days a year to lessen the chance of catching a cold," said co-author Harri Hemila, a professor in the Department of Public Health at University of Helsinki in Finland.
Vitamin C was discovered in the 1930s, and its use was made popular in the 1970s by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling with his book Vitamin C and the Common Cold" which encouraged people to take 1,000 milligrams of the vitamin daily.
The current recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 60 milligrams. An eight-ounce glass of orange juice has about 97 milligrams of vitamin C.
Despite the fact that evidence was found against the use of Vitamin C in later years, the nutrient remains popular because many people —including those funding studies — want to believe that it works.
Hemila said he sees little use in further study for colds for adults. However, more studies on vitamin C and colds in children and vitamin C and pneumonia are another story. Vitamin C is not a panacea, but it is not useless either, he adds.
The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.