• Mayo Clinic Minute

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Can vitamin C keep the common cold away?

Winter is cold and flu season. If you take in more vitamin C, will it help prevent you from getting sick?

Dr. Jesse Bracamonte, a Mayo Clinic family physician, explains more about the health benefits of vitamin C in this Mayo Clinic Minute.

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Want to keep the common cold away this winter?  Just drink more orange juice packed with vitamin C, right?

"We know that vitamin C does help your immune system function well. It helps with wound healing, helps with even collagen and joint protection, and even some tendon protection," says Dr. Bracamonte. "Overall, though, vitamin C taken in extra doses to prevent common colds hasn't proven true."

While it doesn't prevent you from getting a cold, Dr. Bracamonte says there is some limited research that additional vitamin C might speed up the recovery process slightly in some people. 

"So if you were going to have a common cold that lasts about seven days, it may cut it down about 13 hours," says Dr. Bracamonte.

He says you should be getting an adequate amount of vitamin C if you're including fruits and vegetables in your diet. But if you want to pump up the vitamin C even more, you could try a daily supplement.

"Most cases, it's 500 milligrams of vitamin C. Too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. You just want to be mindful of how much you're taking, and you're not exceeding the recommendations of the daily allowance," says Dr. Bracamonte.

He says it's best to talk with your healthcare team before taking any new supplements.

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