Does vitamin C really help with colds?
A certain amount of vitamin C is essential for health. Some also see the vitamin as a real miracle cure for colds. But is it really helpful with infections?
Taking vitamin C for colds
If the throat scratches or the nose runs, some try to fight the oncoming cold with additional vitamin C. But studies show that such preparations "have no effect on the symptoms and duration of a cold if they are taken at the beginning of the cold," explains the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) on its portal "gesundheitsinformation.de" . However, there are some things that really help with colds.
Natural home remedies for colds
If you have a cold, the most important thing is to rest and drink a lot. Due to an increased fluid intake, the stubborn mucus dissolves better and the secretions in the nose are diluted.
Many colds also swear by ginger tea. The miracle bulb ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, the sharpness of this natural remedy irritates the mucous membranes and promotes blood circulation.
Cooking steam inhalations for the face are also a proven home remedy for colds. These have an expectorant, secretion-promoting and anti-inflammatory effect.
It is also advisable to place a bowl of water on the heating and ventilate it several times a day.
Experts usually also recommend going for a walk from time to time with a cold - but not if you have a fever.
Sufficient amount of vitamin C from food
However, some people swear that the best way to combat their cold is to take vitamin C supplements.
A certain amount of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential for health, but most people already consume sufficient amounts with their daily diet.
Some of these preparations contain more than one gram of vitamin C, which is more than ten times the recommended daily dose. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) considers a daily intake of 100 milligrams with food to be sufficient.
Because the body cannot store vitamin C, the excess usually ends up with the urine in the toilet within a few hours. At higher doses, regular intake of the vitamin can sometimes cause diarrhea.
Even if the intake of vitamin C at the beginning of the cold no longer has a proven effect on the symptoms and the duration of the illness, the preventive intake can certainly make sense.
As the IQWiG writes on "informedhealthonline.org", studies showed that "long-term daily intake did not prevent the common cold, but shortened the duration of the common cold by about 10 percent."
And further: "In addition, the permanent intake of vitamin C was able to alleviate the cold symptoms somewhat."
Some studies have investigated the preventive effects of vitamin C in people “who were briefly exposed to a very high level of physical activity through sport, often in connection with the cold. These included, for example, marathon runners and soldiers who did winter exercises in the mountains. ”
The participants started “two to three weeks before the very heavy load of taking vitamin C preventively. This prevented about half of all colds. ”(Ad)