Myths And Truths Of Vitamin C, Does It Really Prevent Colds? – Free Press

The body needs vitamin C for proper growth and functioning. (Free Press Photo: Services).

The cold fronts that approach in the last weeks of the year are a source of colds or respiratory diseases. It is common for these health problems to always recommend the consumption of citrus fruits, such as lemon and orange, for its high content of vitamin C. However, does this vitamin really prevent the appearance of colds or flu?

Vitamin C is one of the fundamental micronutrients that the body needs for good growth and functioning. It is also known as ascorbic acid, it helps repair tissues of any part of the body due to the collagen that forms and functions as an antioxidant contributing to prevent damage to free radicals, which are molecules that the body produces when it breaks down food or when it It is in exposure of tobacco smoke.


Relationship of vitamin C and colds
Consuming vitamin C during flu symptoms will help reduce the time of this discomfort. (Free Press Photo: Services).

In addition to these functions, vitamin C is believed to be a primary source of preventing flu, colds or respiratory diseases. However, experts point out that the truth is that this micronutrient helps reduce the duration of colds. That is to say, if you usually suffer from flu discomfort for a week, with this vitamin supplementation it could last 4 days.

Several years ago, several studies have been carried out that look for the relationship between vitamin C and the cold. There have been different conclusions and in the majority a direct relationship with respiratory or cold diseases and prevention has not been determined.

“The researcher Pauling LC, in the article entitled Vitamin C and the common cold, in the 70s, aroused the interest of consuming vitamin C in doses of 1 gram per day for the prevention of the cold. In the last 40 years, several studies have found that regular supplementation with vitamin C at doses of 0.25 to 2 grams per day did not reduce the appearance of colds in the general population, ”explains internist Eduardo López.

Abundant mucus and watery eyes are some of the symptoms of a common cold or flu, which may decrease with vitamin C. (Free Press Photo: Services).

In addition, he notes that, in patients with physical stress, such as athletes or soldiers, supplementation with vitamin C did reduce the incidence of colds and the duration of symptoms of this disease by half.

On the other hand, the nutritionist Carolina Solares indicates that, in the general population, studies have shown that a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, which are the main source of vitamins and minerals, causes the defenses to be produced and functioning properly.

But, by eating foods such as lemon, orange, pineapple or melon, which are a source of vitamin C, when you start having flu symptoms, you can reduce the duration of this discomfort.

“If you are used to consuming vitamin C in your daily diet, you will not be able to reduce your symptoms, because your defenses are accustomed to this nutrient. But, when the disease starts and you consume more vitamin C, what you do is reinforce them. Then, the flu or the cold will last less time. These nutrients do not prevent the disease or make the body immune to the virus, but only reduce the symptomatology time, ”says Solares.

A common cold or flu will cause you, regularly, heavy mucus, watery eyes, irritability, reluctance and fever. Then, by supplementing with vitamin C, these discomforts could be reduced, it may give you less time or give you less symptoms.

How can we consume it?
Drinkable ampoules or chewable pills is another option to consume vitamin C. (Free Press Photo: Services).

Not only lemon or orange have an adequate amount of vitamin C. According to nutritionist María Alejandra Hernández, fruits and vegetables such as macuy, blackberry, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, acerola, cashew, papaya Grapefruit, tangerine, mango, melon, raspberries and kiwi are also rich in this nutrient. In addition, roots and tubers such as potatoes and cassava.

If it is difficult for you to include these foods in your daily diet, you can also consume the drinkable ampoules or chewable tablets of vitamin C, found in pharmacies or supermarkets.

Although this vitamin is water soluble and is excreted in the urine, it is important to supplement or consume with due care like any other micronutrient. “Because consumption in too high concentrations can cause diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps. In people with hemochromatosis, a disorder that causes excessive accumulation of iron in the body, vitamin C in high doses could worsen excess iron and damage body tissues, ”explains López.

Therefore, nutritionist Hernández, indicates that, according to the daily dietary recommendations of Guatemala, adequate consumption in adult men should be 60 mg / day and for adult women 50 mg / day. During pregnancy, in the third trimester, an increase of 10 mg / day added to the requirement of women is recommended.

Recommendations for cold weather
Maintaining constant physical activity helps prevent respiratory diseases. (Free Press Photo: Services).

Because vitamin C can only reduce the time of flu or cold symptoms, experts share some recommendations to take into account in these coming weeks of the end of the year, where most people are prone to disease in the airways:

Have a varied, balanced, safe and complete diet. That is, that includes fruits, vegetables and the consumption of a lot of liquid, preferably water.
Reduce the consumption of processed foods.
Maintain physical activity and exercise regularly.
Rest well and reduce periods of stress.
In specific cases, use the influenza or stationary influenza prevention vaccine.
Avoid very sudden weather changes.
Do not spend much time in places with poor ventilation.
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