Nutrition Spotlight: Vitamin C

By in Nutrition Spotlight/Sports & Health

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps your body heal wounds, absorb iron, form collagen and maintain your bones, muscles and blood vessels. But, have you ever wondered if taking vitamin C for a cold actually works? It turns out it might.

According to a meta-analysis published in 2013, highly active individuals such as athletes can actually cut their risk of catching a cold in half by taking 200 mg of vitamin C per day.

Unfortunately, the benefits of vitamin C supplementation are negligible for the general population. Taking daily vitamin C does not reduce the average person’s risk of catching a cold.

And, while a daily dose of 200 mg can reduce the length of a cold by about 14 per cent in children and 8 per cent in adults, there’s a catch: you have to take it every single day to reap this benefit. Taking vitamin C just on the days you feel ill doesn’t actually work!

Although the benefits are modest, people at high risk of catching colds may still want to consider taking a 200-mg supplement every day. For the rest of us, Health Canada recommends a daily intake of just 60 mg, which means you can get more than enough vitamin C by eating the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Remember to eat the rainbow! Dietary sources of vitamin C include green vegetables, like broccoli and brussels sprouts; red fruits, like strawberries and tomatoes; and citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits.

Amanda Slinger / Copy Editor

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor