During class we have researched many different internet sites to help us come to the conclusion to whether vitamin C helps prevent and / or cure the common cold. Many of the site supported different answers, some saying yes, vitamin C does help cure and prevent common colds, others disagreeing, stating that no matter how hight the dosage of vitamin C you consume it will have no effect on curing or preventing the common cold. While we were researching, we also discovered overall that, vitamin C is very important for normal functioning of the body. Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant, which in high doses can cure or prevent the common cold, as well as prolong the lives of terminal cancer patients, says Nobel laureate Linus Pauling.

He concluded that high doses at the beginning of a cold, has only been shown in some cases, to reduce the severity of the symptoms to a modest degree, due to a mild antihistaminic effect. However, vitamin C has not been shown to prevent the common cold. An increase in the average person's daily intake of vitamin C decreases the frequency and severity of the common cold. 'Alternative Medicine's ays, "Antioxidant compounds such as ascorbate from vitamin C and components of garlic such as Alli cin can have beneficial effect by limiting the damage caused by excess oxidizing agents. Large doses of vitamin C (1-2 grams a day) are required in order to provide any useful antioxidant activity and it is unlikely that the small doses of vitamin C in many common cold medications provide any real benefit to the patient." The daily consumption of vitamin C will only affect people wanting prevention or cure of common cold, who are deficient in vitamin C. There have been several trials concerning vitamin C and the common cold, which have had varied results.

One trial showed that people taking a gram of vitamin C a day might reduce the duration of symptoms by about 10 or 11 hours. That only related to the people who took vitamin C on a regular basis. A trial conducted in Canberra tested this on 400 healthy volunteers who took either 1 gram a day for three days at the start of a cold, three grams a day, or a placebo. The results showed no reduction in symptoms, whether it was length of illness or how bad it was. Doctors Gorton and Jarvis of Utah, USA conducted a controlled study to investigate the effect of mega dose vitamin C in preventing and relieving cold and flu symptoms. 715 students aged from 18-32 years were divided into 2 groups.

The test group involved 252 students. When the test group presented with symptoms, they were treated with hourly doses of 1 gram of vitamin C for the first 6 hours and then 3 times daily thereafter. Those not presenting with any symptoms were given 1 gram dose of vitamin C 3 times a day. The control group included 463 students. When they presented with symptoms, they were treated with pain relievers and decongestants. The results of this study found that of the flu and cold symptoms in the test roup decreased by 85% compared to the control group.

Vitamin C in mega doses given before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test group. Dr. Terence Anderson, professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto directed 3 experiments on vitamin C and colds. In 1972, he published the results of a 3-month study of 818 volunteers aged 10 to 65. Half received 1 gram of vitamin C daily before colds and 4 grams per day during the first 3 days of a cold, while the other half received "equivalent" placebos. In the vitamin group, 74% had one ore more colds during the study period while 82% of the placebo group had one or more colds.

The difference, which amounted to "one-tenth of a cold per person", was judged by Dr. Anderson to be "of no practical importance." The severity, as measured by days confined indoors, average 1. 36 days for the vitamin group and 1. 87 days for the placebo group. In 1974, the Anderson team reported on a trial in which about 3, 500 volunteers were divided into eight groups, six of which received various daily dosages of vitamin C while the others received placebos.

No difference in the incidence of colds was seen among the groups taking no vitamin C, 250 mg, 1 gram or 2 grams daily during the three-month test period. A possible slight reduction in severity of symptoms was found in the vitamin C groups, but volunteers taking dosages of 4 grams or 8 grams per day when a cold began did no better than those taking only 250 mg per day. The third Anderson trial, reported in 1975, covered 16 weeks and used 488 volunteers, with one-third receiving an ordinary vitamin C pill, one-third given vitamin C in slow-release capsules, and one-third getting a placebo. The vitamin C dosage was 500 mg once a week before colds, but 1. 5 grams the first day of a cold followed by 1 gram on the second and third days. No reduction in the incidence of colds was observed, but those taking vitamin C averaged less time at home.

The 3 Anderson studies suggest that extra vitamin C may slightly reduce the length and severity of colds, but that it is not necessary to take high dosages to achieve this result. Nor is there anything to be gained by taking vitamin supplements year-round in hope of preventing colds.