Does Vitamin C Actually Protect Against Common Cold?

It’s the middle of the third week of classes and I am sitting in my Econ102 lecture of 600 students. I usually make sure to get a front seat to avoid getting distracted. Although, this time there is a consistent and very violent noise that is unavoidably distracting and quite frankly disturbing. It’s the dreaded cough and all I can think is it’s a matter of time that washing my hands and taking a good helping of vitamin c won’t protect me from getting infected by the common cold.

I like to make sure to take vitamin c since it is one of the easiest ways to boost your immune system and protect against the contagions that literally surround college students all the time. Although, does vitamin c actually provide this reliability against the common cold?

According to Kris Gunnars at Authority Nutrition, vitamin c has been tested for this proof since 1970 when it became a very popular topic of interest in the science world. Gunnars also gives mention that vitamin c is found in immune cells. When these cells are attacked by infections, vitamin c is depleted.

There have been series of randomized controlled studies that have taken place over the past decade. They concluded with results that showed vitamin c does not reduce chances of getting infected by the common cold, according to Gunnars. Gunnars also says the average human will contract the common cold several times a year.

Although vitamin c may not prevent the common cold, it can shorten the amount of time you are actually sick, said Gunnars. I found this somewhat relieving especially since the studies mentioned in this article were disappointing and a little surprising.

According to  Dr. Mark Levine, from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, he suggests against taking vitamin c supplements altogether and to just make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables.

Levine doesn’t support taking in extra amounts of vitamin c because according to trials that tested the long term affects of taking vitamin c, your body can only withhold a certain amount of it. If you take too much, your body will begin to absorb less and less. This is why getting vitamin c naturally may be the best way to go.


I agree with this statement because most of the time, our bodies respond best to the natural supplements we take in. Although, all of our bodies work differently, so it really depends on what your body best responds to.

Since I am new to college life where I have to really take care of myself, getting sick is something myself and everyone else dreads. I try to take advantage of the supplements and foods that keep me healthy, but when studying, doing laundry, and campus life in general become a full time job, it’s easy to let other responsibilities become not as much of a priority as they should.


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4 thoughts on “Does Vitamin C Actually Protect Against Common Cold?

  1. Michael Robert Szawaluk

    Getting sick at college could be one of the scariest things to happen to you. What if I miss class and cannot make up the work, what if I get others sick, what if I do not stop being sick, these are all question a bet many of us ask after a single sneeze or cough. My dad would always tell me to take the EmergenC packets at the slightest sign of an illness, but I always wondered if they worked. I am yet to feel that way now, fingers crossed, but maybe I should take one to help prevent it. If you are curious about this wonder packet check out this link:

    1. Olivia Frederickson Post author

      In accordance with my original post, I still stand by the evidence explaining how vitamin c supplements or vitamin c in general cannot actually prevent getting sick. I wouldn’t depend on this supplement if you don’t want to get sick. Honestly, the most simplest way to prevent getting sick which is basically just following a healthy life style. Wash your hands as often as you can, utilize hand sanitizer, try not to touch your face as often, etc. If you do get sick, the packet can come in handy since it may have the power to shorten or lessen the severity of the cold as explained in my original post. Some less conventional ways to prevent getting sick are listed here if that’s something that interests you.

  2. Jacob Alexander Loffredo

    First off, I would like to say that getting sick at college is terrible. I had a fever the first week of school and in A hot dorm room you feel like nothing will ever get better. Believe it or not I actually swear by a vitamin called Air-Born it is a dissolvable capsule that is supposed to prevent or shorten periods of sickness, it works better than anything I have ever used before. At the same time I am a very healthy eater and agree with Dr. Levine on how he believes that you have to eat your fruits and veggies to get the proper nutrients. I know that many people still take vitamin C whenever they feel like they are about to get cold and I feel that even if you were to ask them about it they would agree it doesn’t work all that well.

  3. Francis Patrick Cotter

    I take those vitamin C packets about every other day to avoid getting sick. So far, so good. However, I think it is more of a mental thing for me. If I feel like the packets will keep me from getting sick, maybe i can trick myself into not getting sick.

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