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Megadoses of vitamin C help common cold, influenza

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday Jan 18, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A study in Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics suggests that taking megadoses of vitamin C before and after a person gets a cold or influenza can help prevent the viral infections and relieve symptoms effectively.

It has been reported that taking 1200 IU per day of vitamin D3 can help prevent influenza in schoolchildren and its efficacy was 65%, which is similar to the efficacy for the influenza vaccine indicated for the 2012-2013 flu season, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study led by H.Clay Gorton, DC and Kelly Jarvis, DC indicates that vitamin C could be even more effective in fighting common cold and influenza (flu) than vitamin D and influenza vaccine.

It has been known thus far that vitamin D helps produce antibacterial peptides that are associated with innate immunity against infections.   In other words, it boosts innate immunity.  Vitamin C in megadoses has been known to kill viruses by generating reactive oxygen species. 

The study led by Gorton and Jarvis consisted of a study group of 252 students aged 18 to 30 years and a control group of 463 students aged 18 to 32 years.  In the study group, those who had common cold and influenza symptoms were given 1000 milligrams of vitamin C hourly for the first six hours and afterwards 3 times per day, and those who did not have any symptoms were given 1000 mg vitamin C three times per day.   Subjects in the control groups were given pain relievers and decongestants.

The researchers found that "Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C." 

They concluded "Vitamin C in megadoses administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group."

This and other studies suggest that taking vitamin D in a dose of 1200 IU or higher and vitamin C in a dose of 1000 mg three times a day can help prevent common cold and influenza effectively. Their efficacy can be greater than that of influenza vaccine.

In addition to taking vitamin D and C,  food consumers may need to consider using a low sugar and low fat diet.  High sugar and high fat diets can reduce a person's immunity against viral infections like common cold and influenza.

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