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When cold and flu season hits, you may want to up your intake of vitamin C. According to new research published in the journal Nutrients, increasing your vitamin C intake to six to eight grams per day while sick with a cold might shorten the duration of your symptoms.

Self dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective,” said study author Dr. Harri Hemilä from the University of Helsinki in Finland.

In dozens of studies conducted on various animals, vitamin C significantly prevented or alleviated infections caused by bacteria and viruses. There is also evidence that suggests vitamin C can help stave off infections and lessen the severity of symptoms.

Vitamin C and its impact on the common cold is one of the most extensively studied natural remedies. Most studies used a controlled dosage of one gram of vitamin C per day, but the best dosage to fight the common cold is still unknown.

Hemilä analyzed data from two different randomized studies which examined the effects of vitamin C dosage on the duration of the common cold. The first trial gave two separate groups three grams of vitamin C per day, while the third group was given six grams per day and the fourth group was given placebos. Compared to the placebo group, the participants who were given six grams of vitamin C per day saw their colds shortened by 17 percent, which was twice as much as the group that took three grams per day.

The second trial compared the difference between administering four grams and eight grams of vitamin C. There was also a group given placebos for the control. Compared to the placebo group, the group that was given eight grams per day had their colds shortened by 19 percent, which was twice as much as the four-grams-per-day group.

“Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration of colds, and its safety and low cost, it would be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic 8g/day vitamin C is beneficial for them,” Hemilä said.

To give yourself an extra boost to overcome that cold, it’s recommend taking vitamin D in addition to vitamin C.

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