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Vitamin C To Prevent Flu

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How Much Vitamin C Do I Need To Stay Healthy

UNTV Life: How Vitamin C cures common colds

The NHS recommends that adults aged between 19 and 64 should have 40 milligrams of vitamin C each day.

To give you an idea of how much that is, heres the vitamin C content of some popular fruits and vegetables, according to

  • 100g of orange contains 52mg
  • 100g of strawberries contains 57mg
  • 100g of kiwi fruit contains 59mg
  • 100g of broccoli contains 79mg
  • 100g of red cabbage contains 55mg

Generally, its best to eat these kinds of foods raw, as cooking reduces the vitamin C content by about one third. This is why oranges are a popular way of getting your daily vitamin C. Read our guide to discover more foods high in vitamin C.

The Side Effects Of Too Much Vitamin C

If you’re planning to take that much vitamin C every day for an extended period, it merits a talk with a doctor.

Sevilla says that taking more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily has been known to cause GI effects like nausea and abdominal pain. It’s primarily because of those issues that the tolerable upper intake level the max you should take unless under the direction of a doctor is 2,000 mg for adults.

And if you’re debating between a food and a supplement, Sevilla recommends sticking with food as your source of vitamin C, if you can manage it.

Does Vitamin C Help With Colds

In the 1970s, Linus Pauling, a double Nobel laureate and self-proclaimed champion of vitamin C, promoted megadoses of the vitamin. He recommended the equivalent of 12 to 24 oranges a day to prevent colds and some chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. And on one aspect, he was right: Science does support daily intake of vitamin C because, as a water-soluble vitamin, the body doesnt store it easily. But high doses of vitamin C dont prevent disease.

No studies have conclusively shown vitamin C has any benefit in preventing illness, especially the common cold. It does play an important role in boosting the immune system, but most people in the United States are not vitamin C-deficient, so taking extra vitamin C doesnt necessarily boost the immune system, says Oladimeji Oki, M.D., a family physician at the Montefiore Medical Center and a professor of family and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. There are some exceptions to this rule, he says. We tend to see vitamin C deficiency in people with little access to food or severe poverty, people who are institutionalized and not eating well, or those who have an aversion to most if not all foods and vegetables, such as some children with autism.

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Vitamins And Supplements That May Work

It’s only natural to look for supplements that can help you get through flu season virus-free. While some nutrients could boost your immunity and prevent the flu, its important to remember that research hasnt proved this. Getting the flu shot and following a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to prevent the flu overall. If youd like to try some additional treatments, then the following supplements and nutrients show some success in boosting immunity and fighting the flu virus.

  • 1Eat 65-90 mg of vitamin C to support your immunity. Vitamin C is a key nutrient in immune health, and any deficiencies will make you more susceptible to illnesses like the flu. Make sure you get at least 65-90 mg of vitamin C each day to keep your immunity strong.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • For most people, 1 or 2 fruit or vegetable servings is enough to satisfy the daily requirement. Good sources include bell peppers, citrus fruits, apples, and leafy green vegetables.
  • You could also take a multivitamin supplement to get more vitamin C.
  • 2Get 15 micrograms of vitamin D to ward off the flu. Research suggests that getting adequate vitamin D each day can keep your immunity high during flu season and help you fight off the virus.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Eat vitamin D-rich foods or take supplements to get at least 15 micrograms each day.XResearch source
  • Does Vitamin C Help With A Cold Yes But It Won’t Help Prevent It

    Does Vitamin C Help Prevent Flu, Cold or COVID19?
    • The belief that vitamin C can help you steer clear of a nasty cold has been a myth for decades, but it has since been disproven.
    • Research shows that at least 200 mg per day of vitamin C, while you’re sick, can help you get better sooner and decreases the severity of your symptoms.
    • Though many people turn to supplements to get extra vitamin C, physicians recommend sticking to vitamin C rich foods, like papaya or red bell pepper.
    • This article was reviewed by Tania Elliott, MD, who specializes in infectious diseases related to allergies and immunology for internal medicine at NYU Langone Health.
    • This story is part of Insider’s guide for Treating the Common Cold.

    Walk through the aisles of any pharmacy when you’re trying to keep an impending cold at bay and you’ll be met with a slew of options from over-the-counter medications to cough drops, herbal teas to vitamin C powders.

    The belief that vitamin C can help you steer clear of a nasty cold has been around for decades but has since been disproven. That said, vitamin C can help with your cold in other ways. Here’s what you need to know.

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    Is Taking A Huge Dose Of Vitamin C Bad For Me

    Vitamin C is an important nutrient, but as the old saying goes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

    After taking too much vitamin C, you may experience symptoms such as:

    • Diarrhea

    So how much vitamin C is too much?

    For adults, the daily upper limit of vitamin C is 2,000 mg. For teens, it’s 1,800 mg. For children, the upper limit depends on age, and it ranges from 400 to 1,200 mg per day.

    In addition, vitamin C is water-soluble, making it hard for your body to store it with excess being secreted in your urine. So even if you’re adult and can handle the 1,000 mg in each vitamin C packet or pill, just know that your body can’t absorb more than about 400 mg. This means that most of the vitamin C in that supplement you’re taking just goes down your toilet .

    All this to say, however, that getting the recommended amount of vitamin C is still a critical step in staying healthy, as this vitamin plays many important roles in your body. But, you don’t need to take a supplement to make that happen.

    What Is Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is an important vitamin and antioxidant that the body uses to keep you strong and healthy. Vitamin C is used in the maintenance of bones, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also assists in the formation of collagen and helps the body absorb iron.

    Vitamin C is found naturally in vegetables and fruits, especially oranges and other citrus fruits. This key vitamin is also available as a natural dietary supplement in the form of vitamin C pills and vitamin C chewable tablets.

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    How Flu Is Spread

    Stomach flu is very contagious, especially in the winter months when you might spend more time in close contact with others. You can catch stomach flu when someone who has it coughs or sneezes and sends virus-filled droplets into the air you breathe. How susceptible you are to the viral infection may be determined in part by your genes, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

    Some things to avoid that might be responsible for developing stomach flu are:

    • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated
    • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus, such as door handles, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes
    • Through direct contact with someone who is infected, such as sharing food or eating utensils

    Supplements With Preliminary Evidence

    Does Vitamin C Really Prevent Or Cure A Common Cold?

    Many other supplements might help reduce the duration and severity of colds and the flu, but the evidence tends to be mixed, scarce, or low in quality. Among the most promising supplements are echinacea, elderberries, Pelargonium sidoides, and probiotics.


    Taken daily, echinaceamight reduce the risk and duration of upper respiratory infections, yet trial effects are so small as to lack statistical or clinical significance. Moreover, many of the trials were low in quality, or their quality was difficult to determine.

    Echinacea can interact with medications, particularly immunosuppressive drugs. If you take any medication, you may want to consult a physician before trying this supplement.

    Echinacea might reduce the risk and duration of upper respiratory infections, but many of the studies are of low quality and the effects are very small at best.


    Elderberries are known for their antioxidant properties, and in one randomized controlled trial, an elderberry extract reduced the duration and severity of colds more than placebo. Also, a few human trials have shown elderberries to reduce symptoms of the flu, but here the evidence is weakened by small sample sizes and, in some cases, low methodological quality.

    Elderberries are a promising but understudied supplement: they may reduce the symptoms of colds and the flu, but the evidence is still preliminary. Beware: the plant is poisonous, and even the berries can be dangerous if not prepared properly.


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    Other Natural Prevention Tips

    While supplements have mixed results for preventing the flu, you can reduce your overall flu risk by following some other natural prevention tips. These habits reduce your exposure to the flu and keep your immunity up. Along with getting the flu shot, they could help you make it through flu season without getting sick.

  • 1Avoid people who have the flu if you can. The flu is very contagious and easily spreads from person to person. Do your best to avoid people showing flu symptoms so you dont pick up the virus.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
  • This will be difficult if you live with someone who comes down with the flu. Do your best to have them stay in one room and only go in there if you have to.
  • 2Wash your hands regularly. The flu virus can live on surfaces for several hours, and you could spread it to yourself if you dont wash your hands multiple times throughout the day. Wet your hands, add soap, then rub your hands together so the soap lathers. Scrub the fronts and backs of your hands for at least 20 seconds to kill any germs before rinsing.XResearch source
  • Never touch your face if you havent washed your hands. This is a common way for people to get the flu.
  • You could use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you arent near a sink to wash your hands. However, you should still wash your hands as soon as you can.
  • What About High Dosages

    Vitamin C is found naturally in foods like oranges, bell peppers, and strawberries, and it certainly wont do us any harm. But what about the massive doses found in vitamin C supplements and products like Airborne and Emergen-C?

    A tablet of Airborne, for instance, contains 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C along with zinc, vitamins A and E, selenium, and a blend of herbs including ginger and echinacea.

    Emergen-C also contains 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C and recommends users take it up to two times daily. Each serving also includes B vitamins, zinc, and electrolytes, which is why it claims to enhance energy .

    While neither of them outright say that they can prevent or cure colds, the mega doses of vitamin C are generally the reason many cold-sufferers sniffle their way to the supplement aisle.

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    Myth #: Vitamin C Can Cure Or Prevent The Common Cold And Flu

    When flu season hits, do you drink a packet of vitamin C powder a day? If you feel a cold coming on, do you start popping vitamin C tablets? Many of us turn to vitamin C foods, drinks, and supplements when sick or to avoid getting sick. While vitamin C is good for your health and can help give your immune system a little boost, it isnt a remedy for the common cold and flu or a preventive measure for getting sick.

    This belief stems from an American chemist and Nobel Prize Winner named Linus Pauling. In the 1960s, Pauling claimed that after taking high doses of vitamin C, he felt healthier and no longer experienced any cold systems. His claims of megadosing vitamin C to prevent the common cold and flu led to a skyrocket of vitamin C product sales in the next decade and to many of us still thinking vitamin C can cure a common cold. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for helping keep our bodies healthy, but many scientists today agree and studies have proven that you cant effectively treat a cold or the flu with vitamin C. They recommend that if you want the benefits of vitamin C, you should consume it daily.

    Vitamins And Supplements To Fight Cold And Flu

    Truth Time: Does Taking Large Doses Of Vitamin C Really Prevent And ...

    If you believe you might have a flu virus, you should see your physician as soon as possible to be tested and to determine a course of action for healing and recovery. In fact, even if you just have a cold , its worth a discussion with your physician or even a pharmacist to get proper guidance on any of these:

    Recommended Reading: Should You Get The Flu Shot If Your Sick

    How The Review Was Done

    This summary is based on a review of 63 randomized controlled trials with 11,306 adults and children. 60 trials were based in the community and 3 in the lab. Most of the trials focused on regular supplements of vitamin C to prevent a person from getting a cold. 10 trials focused on the use of vitamin C as a treatment once the natural cold symptoms had started.

    Can You Prevent The Stomach Flu With Vitamin C

    Maintaining the recommended levels of vitamin C is important for optimal immune function to help your body ward off colds and flu. Although both the common cold and stomach flu have initial, similar symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. Vitamin C has been shown to have some benefits against the cold virus, but these do not apply to stomach flu. However, there are things you can do to minimize your risks or shorten the length of the illness.

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    No clear evidence shows any direct positive effect of vitamin C on the stomach flu virus, other than its ability to boost your immune system.

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    Is Vitamin C Safe To Take

    In general, vitamin C won’t harm you if you get it by eating food like fruits and veggies. For most people, it’s also OK if you take supplements in the recommended amount.

    The RDA, or recommended daily allowance, is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women. High doses of vitamin C may cause kidney stones, nausea, and diarrhea.

    If you’re unsure about taking vitamin C for colds, talk to your health care provider.

    Vitamins And Supplements For Cold And Flu Season

    Should You Take Vitamin C Supplements For a Cold? | Dr. Ian Smith Answers

    The 2019-20 cold and flu season has already been one of the more intense ones in recent history in terms of duration and numbers of cases. As April has arrived, it appeared that the spread of cold and flu was still was affecting many Americans, most notably various strains of influenza.

    At the same time, millions of people have been stocking up more than usual on items such as food, bath tissue, hand sanitizers and medications in anticipation of longer-than-usual home stays, otherwise known as self-quarantining. In terms of what we stock, though and this should never involve hoarding its important to remember that abundant inventory of food you gather should be healthful, i.e., conducive to bolstering your immune system.

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    Oral Supplementation And Side Effects

    Vitamin C has an excellent safety profile, primarily due to its high water solubility and rapid clearance of excess levels by the kidneys . Although it is not possible to establish a UL for vitamin C, values of 1,0002,000 mg/day have been suggested as prudent limits by some countries, based on a potential risk of osmotic diarrhea and related gastrointestinal distress in some individuals at higher doses .

    Since vitamin C is partially converted to oxalate and excreted in the urine, high doses of vitamin C could be associated with calcium oxalate stone formation . Ferraro et al. studied 156,735 women and 40,536 men, who reported episodes of kidney stones during an average follow-up of 11.311.7 years. The authors signicantly correlated the total vitamin C intake with a higher risk of incident kidney stones in men, but not in women. However, it is important to outline that this study had limitations to be considered. The presence of confounding factors were not taken into account during the follow-up, and the authors assessed vitamin C intake only through a questionnaire and with very long time intervals .

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