Vitamin C Benefits for Immunity

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Middle-aged man drinking orange juice Vitamin C for cold prevention fact or fiction - Cooper Complete Nutritional SupplementsAt the first signs of a cold, many people reach for vitamin C supplements. Yet there are many popular misconceptions related to vitamin C benefits for immunity.

Overall, research has yet to show any significant results in taking vitamin C after the onset of cold symptoms.  However, daily vitamin C intake has shown to reduce frequency and severity of colds along with other minor respiratory infections.

In this article we look at:

  • Research on cold prevention and treatment
  • What is vitamin C and what are its benefits?
  • Where can you find vitamin C?
  • How much vitamin C should you take?
  • Can you take too much vitamin C?

Vitamin C for Cold Prevention: The Research

More than 30 clinical trials involving over 10,000 participants examined the effects of taking daily vitamin C.  Surprisingly, compared to common advice, taking vitamin C daily did not reduce the development of a cold.

On the surface, the vitamin C benefits for cold prevention don’t seem to exist.

However, a subset of the studies looked at people living in extreme circumstances including skiers and marathon runners.  According to the study conclusions, “evidence shows that it could be justified in persons exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise and/or cold environments.” Further, they found a “50% reduction in common cold incidence.”

As the subset of elite athletes was small; more studies are needed. Regardless, it looks like vitamin C for cold prevention in this population may make great sense.

This falls in line with results Dr. Cooper found on his research on marathoners.  He examined people exercising at 80 percent of predicted maximum heart rate for a minimum of five hours per week and found they have unique vitamin needs. For this, he formulated Cooper Complete Elite Athlete, which contains 2,000 mg vitamin C.

Vitamin C as a Cold Treatment: The Research

Common advice at the onset of cold symptoms suggests a regimen of high vitamin C intake.  Yet, this opposes numerous studies examining the effects of starting vitamin C after the onset of cold symptoms.

Plainly stated, “The trials in which vitamin C was introduced at the onset of colds as therapy did not show any benefit.” Unfortunately, reactive supplementation doesn’t seem to reduce the symptoms or the duration of the cold.

In contrast, there was a success at reducing the duration of cold symptoms during prophylaxis (or daily supplementation for prevention).  For “children this represented an average reduction of 14% in symptom days, while in adults the reduction was 8%.”

To help meet these goals of prevention, Cooper Complete includes these vitamin C benefits in our multivitamins with the Original (Iron Free and With Iron) containing 500 mg and the Basic One with 150 mg.

Vitamin C Benefits: What Does It Do?

As a water-soluble, ascorbic acid, Vitamin C benefits the body due to its ability perform many critical functions of maintenance.  An example of these functions would be how it forms collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels.

These functions allow vitamin C to aid in repairing bones and teeth by helping the body incorporate calcium into their tissues.  In addition, it helps the body heal wounds by speeding up the recovery process by aiding the body in forming new tissue.

Lastly, vitamin C helps absorb iron so the body can create enough red blood cells it needs and avoid anemia.

Vitamin C in Food: Where Can You Find It?

The body doesn’t make vitamin C naturally.  Therefore, to meet daily needs you must consume it from food (mostly fresh fruits and vegetables) and supplements. The orange juice folks would like to have a monopoly on vitamin C. However, there are many fruits and vegetables that contain great levels of vitamin C.

Here are some fruits and vegetables to meet vitamin C needs in a balanced diet:

Fruits Vegetables
grapefruit Brussel sprouts
Strawberries Broccoli
cantaloupe Kale
kiwi Collard greens

Vitamin C Daily Intake Recommendations: How Much is Too Much?

The U.S. recommendation for daily intake of vitamin C is 75 mg for adult women and 90 mg for adult men.

In an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers reported that when the daily dose of vitamin C was increased from 200 to 2,500 mg, the plasma concentration increased by only 12- to 15 mg/L, and renal clearance of vitamin C rose sharply.

In addition, the digestive tract also stops absorbing vitamin C as well as these higher levels. So, the net effect is that after a certain level it doesn’t really matter our much vitamin C we take as our blood level concentration of vitamin C isn’t going to increase much more.

The upper intake level (UL) for vitamin C is 2,000 mg per day for men and women.

Taking high levels of vitamin C can cause nausea, severe diarrhea, as well as kidney stones. And if you prefer a chewable form for supplements, many of these tablets can damage tooth enamel.

Vitamin C increases the adverse effects of acetaminophen and antacids.  You should consult your physician before taking a vitamin C supplement at the same time as these over-the-counter medications.

Consult with a physician when choosing a multivitamin based on your body’s specific needs. Cooper Complete Basic One, Original and the Cooper Complete Healthy Body Pack contain vitamin C in amounts complementing the average diet. Click here to see the entire line of vitamins and nutritional supplements from Cooper Complete.

Article provided by Cooper Complete team.

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