Vitamin C Supplement Review

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Vitamin C
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Prevention of common cold in marathon runners
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Prevention of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in wrist fracture patients
+2 (Moderate Evidence)


  • We studied the use of vitamin C in marathon runners and found that it reduced the number of colds developed before a race from approximately 60% to 30%, but only if it was started several weeks prior to the race.
  • About 10% of wrist fracture patients will develop a chronic pain syndrome called reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Taking Vitamin C reduces this risk substantially.
  • Vitamin C is inexpensive and has relatively few side effects. The ratio of benefits to risks seems quite favorable.


  • We’ve heard lots of potential benefits for vitamin C in the past, and most have been disproved.
  • The studies that looked at vitamin C for these above indications were small. More studies are needed to confirm the benefits.


DOSAGE:250 to 500 mg taken twice daily.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that vitamin C is safe and effective for preventing the common cold in marathon runners. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a chronic, very painful condition and if there is a chance that it can be prevented by such a simple, inexpensive means then it seems well worth it. As always, whole foods like fresh fruits are always the best source of vitamins and minerals. In juice, vitamin C loses potency quickly, so reconstituted frozen juice has a higher concentration of active vitamin C than refrigerated juices. Fresh fruit has the most vitamin C by far. If you use it, remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

“Vitamin C.” LLC, 2013. 25 August 2013.
“Vitamin C.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid).” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Hemila, H. et al. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. The Cochrane Collaboration (2010) 3
Zollinger, P. et al. Effect of vitamin C on frequency of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in wrist fractures: a randomised trial. Lancet (1999) 354: 2025-28

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