Colds and vitamin C

Alternative names
Vitamin C and colds


Despite the popular belief that vitamin C can cure the common cold, the scientific evidence for this is limited. A few studies suggest that taking vitamin C supplements at the beginning of cold symptoms, or just after possible exposure, can shorten a cold or ward it off altogether.

However, most studies conclude that vitamin C does not prevent or treat the common cold. Vitamin C may only be useful in case of a cold if you have low levels of this nutrient to begin with. The likelihood of success may be very individual - some people improve, while others do not.

People with kidney disease should avoid vitamin C supplements. Most experts advise that you meet your daily vitamin and mineral requirements by eating a balanced diet.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.

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