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  #1  
Old 10-01-2011, 06:42 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Am I a moron for buying Emergen-C fizzy vitamin C powders?

I'm a healthy adult. Good immune system. Rarely get sick. Don't eat much fruit tho.

I have an incredibly hard time swallowing pills, especially large ones like the 1000 mg vitamin C ones. And anyway, I'm not convinced that a healthy American adult with a good diet even needs vitamin supplements. So I don't take multivitamins.

However, I seem to be somewhat convinced that vitamin C is good for helping ward off colds and flu and I LOVE those Emergen-C powders (actually I buy the generic ones from the local grocery store), not the brand-name). 1000 mgs of vitamin C plus 7 B vitamins in a fun-to-drink, fizzy tangerine beverage first thing in the morning. Nice way get get started with getting and staying hydrated for the day. Costs twenty-five cents a day.

I've seen so many news reports over the years, some saying that lots of vitamin C is helpful to ward off colds/flu, etc, and just as many saying it's all bunk. Who to believe? Am I wasting my money on a scam product? Dammit, I love my tangerine fizz in the morning! And it feels like I'm doing something healthy...

Last edited by Snow Pea; 10-01-2011 at 06:44 PM..
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2011, 06:50 PM
MsWhatsit MsWhatsit is online now
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1. It's not hurting you.

2. The placebo effect is a real thing, so if you think it's helping your immune system, wellll.... OK, it's still probably not having a major effect, but who knows, it might be helping a little.

3. It's a product you enjoy, apart from its purported health benefits. If you're not breaking the bank on it, I don't see the problem.
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:03 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsWhatsit View Post
1. It's not hurting you.

2. The placebo effect is a real thing, so if you think it's helping your immune system, wellll.... OK, it's still probably not having a major effect, but who knows, it might be helping a little.

3. It's a product you enjoy, apart from its purported health benefits. If you're not breaking the bank on it, I don't see the problem.
Thanks, that about sums up the way I feel, but I still wonder if it's a foolish purchase.

Why is it so hard to get the FACTS about vitamin supplements, anyway? Is it really THAT difficult to do a definitive clinical study of the efficacy of mega-doses of vitamin C on the immune system of healthy adults? Or has it been done? And if so, what is the straight dope?
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:07 PM
Little Bird Little Bird is offline
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You certainly aren't a moron, but I think you are spending money that you don't need to.

RDA only recommends amounts up to about 100 mg a day, and any extra you take that your body doesn't use you will just pee out. So you can just take a 100 mg pill which will be much smaller than the 1000 mg. I think they even have chewable vit c pills.
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  #5  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:12 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Bird View Post
You certainly aren't a moron, but I think you are spending money that you don't need to.

RDA only recommends amounts up to about 100 mg a day, and any extra you take that your body doesn't use you will just pee out. So you can just take a 100 mg pill which will be much smaller than the 1000 mg. I think they even have chewable vit c pills.
I read somewhere that the RDA amounts were determined decades ago and may not be accurate. This may be total bs, but googling this gives a bewildering amount of conflicting info. How recent is their data that determines the RDA of various vitamins?
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:15 PM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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They're expensive, sort of, but not like a soft drink. I've heard that too much ascorbic acid can have some negative effects on your renal system. That said, I like them, and, when I'm cat-sitting for a few days, I sniff them out just like Tanqueray.

Forget I said this, but they make an excellent "mixer" for various liquor drinks. Not sweet, just a bit sour. Kind of defeats the purpose of the graphic of a man reaching for a Martini in the desert, but when in Rome, I don't know, something in Rome.
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  #7  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:17 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Oh and for the record, I am well aware that "Airborne" is a scam. They recently paid a 23 million fine for making false health claims and I am mildly outraged that they are still allowed to market it.

It's on the shelf right next to the Emergen-C.

Does this make me a hypocrite?
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:19 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Originally Posted by Jaledin View Post
They're expensive, sort of, but not like a soft drink. I've heard that too much ascorbic acid can have some negative effects on your renal system. That said, I like them, and, when I'm cat-sitting for a few days, I sniff them out just like Tanqueray.

Forget I said this, but they make an excellent "mixer" for various liquor drinks. Not sweet, just a bit sour. Kind of defeats the purpose of the graphic of a man reaching for a Martini in the desert, but when in Rome, I don't know, something in Rome.
So does that mean I can justify an emergen-C martini if I feel the sniffles coming on?
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  #9  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:19 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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Originally Posted by MsWhatsit View Post
2. The placebo effect is a real thing, so if you think it's helping your immune system, wellll...
The placebo effect won't work if the person taking the placebo knows it's a placebo. Placebo.
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  #10  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:55 PM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
The placebo effect won't work if the person taking the placebo knows it's a placebo. Placebo.
Maybe ... maybe not.
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  #11  
Old 10-01-2011, 08:11 PM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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Originally Posted by Snow Pea View Post
So does that mean I can justify an emergen-C martini if I feel the sniffles coming on?
How good can you smell gin? You wag!
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  #12  
Old 10-01-2011, 08:18 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Could I make my own?

How does the fizzy thing work? There are dozens of ingredients, I'm not a chemist, can't figure out which one(s) do the "magic" fizzy effect...

Can I buy bulk powdered vit c? Maybe just add sugarfree tangerine kool-aid powder or something?
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  #13  
Old 10-01-2011, 09:41 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is online now
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You do realize that lemon juice is just as good?

Actually if you bother to eat a lemon, you get lots of other micronutrients.
Lemon, raw, without peel Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 121 kJ (29 kcal) Carbohydrates 9.32 g - Sugars 2.50 g - Dietary fiber 2.8 g Fat 0.30 g Protein 1.10 g Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.040 mg (3%) Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.020 mg (2%) Niacin (vit. B3) 0.100 mg (1%) Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.190 mg (4%) Vitamin B6 0.080 mg (6%) Folate (vit. B9) 11 μg (3%) Vitamin C 53.0 mg (64%) Calcium 26 mg (3%) Iron 0.60 mg (5%) Magnesium 8 mg (2%) Phosphorus 16 mg (2%) Potassium 138 mg (3%) Zinc 0.06 mg (1%) Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient DatabaseAnd you can buy lemons and lemon juice at the average grocery store. I personally tend to drink a splenda sweetened 8 oz glass of lemonade with breakfast. [lemon juice, splenda to taste, ice and water to the top of the glass.]
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  #14  
Old 10-01-2011, 10:25 PM
Mr. Duality Mr. Duality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snow Pea View Post
So does that mean I can justify an emergen-C martini if I feel the sniffles coming on?
I don't take vitamins regularly because I eat well. When I feel a sore throat or sniffles coming on I have an EmergenC a day for a few days. I believe it helps if done during the early stages of flu etc.
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  #15  
Old 10-01-2011, 10:51 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Duality View Post
When I feel a sore throat or sniffles coming on I have an EmergenC a day for a few days. I believe it helps if done during the early stages of flu etc.
Why, and more importantly how do you believe it "helps"? I feel the same way, but what are we basing this on?

Last edited by Snow Pea; 10-01-2011 at 10:53 PM..
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  #16  
Old 10-01-2011, 11:13 PM
Snow Pea Snow Pea is offline
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Just took a good look at the box...the recommended dosage isn't 1 1000 mg pack per day, it's 3. So that's 3000 mg of vit C per day. If Little Bird is correct, I'm only using 100 of that, and wasting the other 2900 mg down the toilet. Is this really correct?

At a cost of 75 cents per day, that dosage is about $275 USD per year. Holy &*%$# ! Do people really spend that much on this stuff?

I'm taking/spending 1/3 rd this amount, but it's still $91 per year.



Starting to thing that yes, I am a dumbass. But I love my tangerine fizzy vit C drink! It makes me feel like I'm doing something healthy...

Last edited by Snow Pea; 10-01-2011 at 11:17 PM..
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  #17  
Old 10-02-2011, 01:02 AM
Mr. Duality Mr. Duality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snow Pea View Post
Why, and more importantly how do you believe it "helps"? I feel the same way, but what are we basing this on?
The latest example: Someone living in the same house as me had several days of sore throat and congestion 3 weeks ago. I was definitely exposed to the germs. I took EmergenC for 3 days. My only symptom was once when I woke up in the middle of the night with feverish chills. I got back to sleep back to sleep and woke up feeling fine.

I think it may be the zinc in EmergenC that does the job. Last I heard, zinc actually helps if taken during the early stages of a viral infection.
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  #18  
Old 10-02-2011, 01:08 AM
MsWhatsit MsWhatsit is online now
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Originally Posted by Mr. Duality View Post
The latest example: Someone living in the same house as me had several days of sore throat and congestion 3 weeks ago. I was definitely exposed to the germs. I took EmergenC for 3 days. My only symptom was once when I woke up in the middle of the night with feverish chills. I got back to sleep back to sleep and woke up feeling fine.
I live in a house with four other people, and quite frequently one or more of us comes down with a serious viral illness that one or more of the rest of us fails to contract. Nobody in this house takes any sort of vitamin supplement. (Edit: I occasionally take B-complex and I think MrWhatsit takes calcium-magnesium but nobody takes zinc or vitamin C.) I don't think anecdotes like this prove anything.

Last edited by MsWhatsit; 10-02-2011 at 01:10 AM..
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2011, 11:15 AM
Morelin Morelin is offline
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Originally Posted by MsWhatsit View Post
I live in a house with four other people, and quite frequently one or more of us comes down with a serious viral illness that one or more of the rest of us fails to contract. Nobody in this house takes any sort of vitamin supplement. (Edit: I occasionally take B-complex and I think MrWhatsit takes calcium-magnesium but nobody takes zinc or vitamin C.) I don't think anecdotes like this prove anything.
Yeah, my husband routinely gets sick for weeks on end, and generally I get a day or two of sniffles. And he's the one more likely to take EmergenC, Airborne, etc.
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  #20  
Old 10-02-2011, 12:03 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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Originally Posted by Snow Pea View Post
Just took a good look at the box...the recommended dosage isn't 1 1000 mg pack per day, it's 3. So that's 3000 mg of vit C per day. If Little Bird is correct, I'm only using 100 of that, and wasting the other 2900 mg down the toilet. Is this really correct?

At a cost of 75 cents per day, that dosage is about $275 USD per year. Holy &*%$# ! Do people really spend that much on this stuff?

I'm taking/spending 1/3 rd this amount, but it's still $91 per year.



Starting to thing that yes, I am a dumbass. But I love my tangerine fizzy vit C drink! It makes me feel like I'm doing something healthy...
I just want to point out that the RDA values do not mean that is the maximum the body can use, but the minimum that is considered healthy. I can't find any information right off about what that maximum actually is, but I did read that the maximum recommended on a daily basis is 2,000 mg. But if you current dosage isn't causing diarrhea or other side effects, I wouldn't worry about it.

Plus, I just wanted to say that I get it. Something about the way those things feel in your throat just makes you feel better. I've wondered if the bubbles lightly scratch your throat, taking away some of that awful itchy feeling. And they taste better than soda when you're sick.
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  #21  
Old 10-02-2011, 12:14 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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As another poster noted, taking excess vitamin C is probably just going to result in having urine loaded with vitamin C. It's of dubious value in preventing colds or limiting their duration. From a recent Cochrane review on the subject:

"The failure of vitamin C supplementation to reduce the incidence of colds in the general population indicates that routine prophylaxis is not justified. Vitamin C could be useful for people exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise. While the prophylaxis trials have consistently shown that vitamin C reduces the duration and alleviates the symptoms of colds, this was not replicated in the few therapeutic trials that have been carried out. Further therapeutic RCTs are warranted."

There appears to be low risk of any problems associated with long-term consumption of 1g of vitamin C a day (less than compelling association with side effects like kidney stones, low copper absorption etc.). If the OP enjoys the drink and it's cheap, sounds pretty harmless to me.*

*of course, I'm a person who starts loading on Echinacea capsules shortly before and for a week or so after I take a plane trip anywhere, on the doubtful theory that I'll get enough of an immune boost to ward off contagion from the germ-ridden people on the flight. Hey, if I don't get sick that proves it works, right?
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  #22  
Old 10-02-2011, 12:24 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
As another poster noted, taking excess vitamin C is probably just going to result in having urine loaded with vitamin C. It's of dubious value in preventing colds or limiting their duration. From a recent Cochrane review on the subject:

"The failure of vitamin C supplementation to reduce the incidence of colds in the general population indicates that routine prophylaxis is not justified. Vitamin C could be useful for people exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise. While the prophylaxis trials have consistently shown that vitamin C reduces the duration and alleviates the symptoms of colds, this was not replicated in the few therapeutic trials that have been carried out. Further therapeutic RCTs are warranted."
When they say severe physical exercise...what do they mean? Because isn't exercise supposed to help the immune system, too?
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  #23  
Old 10-02-2011, 01:19 PM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
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Originally Posted by Snow Pea View Post
Just took a good look at the box...the recommended dosage isn't 1 1000 mg pack per day, it's 3. So that's 3000 mg of vit C per day. If Little Bird is correct, I'm only using 100 of that, and wasting the other 2900 mg down the toilet. Is this really correct?

At a cost of 75 cents per day, that dosage is about $275 USD per year. Holy &*%$# ! Do people really spend that much on this stuff?

I'm taking/spending 1/3 rd this amount, but it's still $91 per year.



Starting to thing that yes, I am a dumbass. But I love my tangerine fizzy vit C drink! It makes me feel like I'm doing something healthy...
It's only a waste of money if all you'd drink otherwise is water or the cheapest teas. Otherwise it's a healthy drink that you like which doesn't actually cost very much compared to most other drinks.
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  #24  
Old 10-02-2011, 01:28 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
When they say severe physical exercise...what do they mean? Because isn't exercise supposed to help the immune system, too?
I found this in response to my own question:

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/i...x_Immunity.htm

Quote:
More recent studies have shown that there are physiological changes in the immune system as a response to exercise. During moderate exercise immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. After exercise ends, the immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours, but consistent, regular exercise seems to make these changes a bit more long-lasting.
Quote:
However, there is also evidence that too much intense exercise can reduce immunity. This research is showing that more than 90 minutes of high-intensity endurance exercise can make athletes susceptible to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session. This is important information for those who compete in longer events such as marathons or triathlons.
So...exercise but not TOO much.
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  #25  
Old 10-03-2011, 12:26 PM
Snickers Snickers is offline
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Originally Posted by Snow Pea View Post
Could I make my own?

How does the fizzy thing work? There are dozens of ingredients, I'm not a chemist, can't figure out which one(s) do the "magic" fizzy effect...

Can I buy bulk powdered vit c? Maybe just add sugarfree tangerine kool-aid powder or something?
I don't know about flavoring - there you have a ton of choices - but when I want a fizzy drink that's not pop, I reach for club soda, then doctor it with whatever. The club soda provides the fizzy (at zero calories, too!), and the flavoring provides the taste. I've used grenadine and one of those Crystal Light light drink mixes (I think it was fruit punch; might have been Raspberry Ice) to very good effect.

I don't know what would add the Vitamin C, though. Maybe a crushed Flintstones tablet, or similar?
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  #26  
Old 10-03-2011, 03:23 PM
AndyLee AndyLee is offline
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I have heard smoking cigarettes will cause you to need more vitamin c than normal. But I don't know how much more.

BTW I've taken some of those pills the OP was talking about and they are pretty cool. I don't think they help but I doubt they'd hurt you really

Last edited by AndyLee; 10-03-2011 at 03:24 PM..
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  #27  
Old 10-03-2011, 03:59 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Originally Posted by Snow Pea View Post
So does that mean I can justify an emergen-C martini if I feel the sniffles coming on?
Yes. Also if perhaps you feel a touch of scurvy, an emergen-C martini is a salubrious reaction.

Though if you use tonic water (and lime! Remember, fighting scurvy is everyone's business!) instead of emergen-C, then you're also warding off malaria. Just so you know.
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