Vitamin C and the common cold

:slight_smile: Regarding your comments about vit. C and the common cold. C’mon, Cecil, everone knows that if you take large doses of that great vitamin, you can get rid of the headcold in a week. Untreated, it will last for seven days!

Personally, I was amazed that Cecil was able to cite medical literature published in 1997 in an article he wrote in… 1978! The Master continues to amaze!

Oh, and here’s the link:

A link to the column in question is appreciated. Proving one can be as simple as pasting the URL into your post, making sure to leave a blank space on either side of it.

Will vitamin C cure the common cold? URL: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_278.html

Does vitamin C prevent colds, cancer, etc.? URL: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_412a.html

I am amazed that people continue to take vitamin C supplements when a quick check of the “Nutritional Information” panel on almost any juice bottle/carton will show you that an average serve of juice has (presumably with added Vitamin C in the ingredients) around 200% of the RDI of Vitamin C.

Our sewers must be one of the worlds richest sources of vitamin C.

Not enough people drink as much juice as they should, that leaves a need for Vitamin C.

I was a little concerned that Cecil seems to think large amounts of vitamin C are harmless. It’s true that you have to eat many times the RDA before you get health problems (the RDA is 40mg, while doses over 10g can cause negative side effects like diarrhea and kidney stones), but these high levels are the sort that Pauling recommended: he apparently took 40g per day while ill.

There are good articles on the topic on Quackwatch:

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pauling.html
http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/colds.html

Vitamin C is great stuff for reducing the neurotoxicity of drugs such as MDMA and Amphetamine/Methamphetamine.

The damage done by the drugs listed above is caused when there is a depletion of Serotonin in the synapse between neurons, or an overabundance of Dopamine. MDMA causes the neurons to release all the stored Serotonin it has. This Serotonin can take up to 2 weeks to replenish in the body naturally. Methamphetamine/Amphetamine increases the amount of Dopamine released in the synapse. When this happens Dopamine is absorbed by the Serotonin Reuptake Transporters. Studies have shown that Dopamine itself is toxic to Serotonin cells, but worse still is the fact that the Dopamine is oxidised by MAO (monoamine oxidase) in the cell producing Hydrogen Peroxide (that’s right, Bleach). This further oxidises parts of the cell that don’t normally get oxidised. This is referred to as ‘oxidative stress’ and causes damage to Serotonin producing cells.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that crosses the blood/brain barrier quite quickly (1-2 hours after taking). This stops the MAO from oxidising the Dopamine in the Serotonin Reuptake Transporters, thus preventing damage to the cells.

I can personally vouch that taking Vitamin C at the same time as taking MDMA/Amphetamines and then 4 hours later is a real mind saver.

I have heard that zinc is actually very effective in fighting the common cold. Any truth to that?

No.

Then why does every bottle of Vitamin C tablets I own say that the U.S. RDA is 60 mg?

There have been a few studies done on this that say “yes!”, but I’m quite skeptical. One I had a peripheral involvement (as the parent of a study subject) in one well-publicized study that was very flawed, run by a doctor who became the poster child for conflict-of-interest.

The study was on high school students in a Cleveland suburb. Here’s the abstract: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/279/24/1962

Although they claimed the study was double-blind, that was not the case. The zinc tablets were (and are) available from drug stores, and the placebo tasted quite different. It didn’t take the students long to figure out who was getting zinc and who was getting placebo.

As for conflict-of-interest, the doctor had a financial stake in the company that produced the zinc tablets, and made a handsome profit from sale of his stock after his results were announced. Reference: http://www.fool.com/Rogue/1997/Rogue970131.htm

I find it odd that Cecil doesn’t at least make passing mention of the preventive properties of vitamin C…

This fad for using vitamins as an actual cure for illness has passed me by, maybe because I don’t live in the United States, but I was always led to believe that regular doses of vitamin c strengthen your immune system, thus making it less likely to get a cold in the first place. (By regular doses I mean enough to bring your daily intake to the recommended levels, not enough to kill a horse.)

Also, RE vitaman A overdoses: I read somewhere that a polar bear’s liver contains so much of the stuff that you can die from eating it. Polar legend, or reality?

Polar bear liver contains 15,000 to 30,000 units of vitamin A, high enough that liver is toxic to humans if eaten.

http://www.polarbearsalive.org/uswildreport.php

Too much C can cause temporary diarrhea, but there are no cases wherein it caused kidney stones. If you have one, please post it.

Altho 60 grams is the current RDA for C, there has been discussion about increasing that. U.of Cal. Wellness Center recommends 250-500 grams daily in view of recent studies. http://wellnessletter.com/html/ds/dsVitaminC.php

http://wellnessletter.com/html/ds/dsVitaminC.php

BTW, Pauling took “only” 20 grams a day, as did the person who isolated this vitamin.

5cents, I’m confused. From the context of your post, it sounds like that study came out in favor of zinc lozenges. But the abstract you link to differs:

followed by

By the way, it’s always good to see more Clevelanders on the Board. I’m Cleveland born and raised, myself.

Oops, here’s an earlier study by the same doctor:

http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/125/2/81?ijkey=2e03802cbd2c7a1960626410af123b3153a54d6d&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

The controversy followed this study. The study I originally quoted was done at the time the controversy erupted, but it wasn’t published until a year later (by which time Macknin had sold his stock and pocketed a handsome profit).

I’m a transplant. We’ve been in the Cleveland area for 7 years, and it looks like we’re staying…

I’ve read conflicting results of zinc studies, but all I know is that it did not work for me. I used sublingual zinc with no benefits. However, vitamin C has worked for me - but you have to take megadoses. You can’t just take a 500mg pill.

Albert Szentgyörgyi, just for the record…

I remembered the name, but not how to spell it. I could not remember if it was spelled “Alburt” or “Albert”. :slight_smile: