10. Vitamin C and Colds

30 Apr

I have been using Vitamin C (VC) in high doses for the past 40 years — with great success. VC together with other healthful nutrients can profoundly increase your healthy and productive days over those with common colds, flu and maybe other disorders. I have a strong professional background in scientific reasearch and experimental design, with several years of research in psychopharmacology and neurophysiology. It seems that I often have to defend my nutritional practices, so I am going to document one of these issues here.

Particularly after Linus Pauling (winner of two Nobel prizes) published his book Vitamin C and the Common Cold in 1970, a considerable amount of research was performed by Pauling and many others on this topic. Researchers who have reviewed dozens of studies have concluded that VC does shorten the duration of colds and flu. There are no clear positive findings that VC reduces the incidence of colds. You can find this medical research literature using “Pubmed” (medical research site) and searching “Vitamin C common cold” and/or searching author H. Hemila who has done several reviews. The problem with Vitamin C (and many other types of human research) is that with humans, it is not possible to the rigorous studies that would definitively answer all of the questions.

Pauling and others have observed that timing and quantity of administration are critical to the effectiveness. To be most effective, the quantities must be very large, and the first dose must be immediately after the initial signs of the disease. Additional high doses must follow the first. Pauling pointed this out, but few, if any studies, understandably, have been able to create these conditions. Most studies were done with small doses (under 1 gram) and with no critical timing. Pauling also described topical administration of VC as an important adjunct. Nevertheless, the crude studies definitely show that VC affects colds.

Since rigorous relevant studies are not practical, the best information must come from objective persons that have tried the procedure originated by Pauling. Someone could send well-designed questionaires to scientists, graduate students, and others, who would be willing to describe their own personal VC investigations.

Here is my method, derived from Pauling’s writings, and my observations. (Certain illnesses require the attention of a medical doctor so please use good judgement, especially when in doubt or if symptoms persist.)  The first and most critical administration of around 2 to 4 grams of VC must take place at the very first sign of a cold. There is a little more than a minor stuffyness or dry throat — but not much more. If you are over 30 you know the feelings that indicate the onset of a cold or flu. The dose you choose will depend on your body weight and experience. You watch and wait for 2 or 3 hours and take a similar dose, if the symptoms persist. Topical methods should be included. If my symptom is a sore throat, then I will make a solution of VC (2 grams in 1/2 cup of water) and gargle with it or sip it slowly. Do not hold the VC in your mouth for too long, as you might remove a little enamel from your teeth (a possibility that I have not thoroughly researched). You can also squirt this solution into the nasal cavities, if infected. The best method involves the pills and topical (throat and nose) use.

It is important to continue the high doses at 2-3 hour intervals until the symptoms disappear. This could take more than one day. The symptoms may come back again several times after a temporary relief. I believe that in many cases, your immune system must kick in before you will get long term relief. Sometimes its over in a few hours, sometimes longer. I have found that this procedure works 90 % of the time. When I have not conscientously applied this procedure the cold sets in and it may take several days to cure it. It may be true that VC only shortens the duration of colds, but the durations often are very short, just a couple of hours.

Using my experience, and after reading many articles on nutrition, I would suggest a daily dose of 2 or 3 grams. VC should be taken daily on a routine basis, at least for its many other documented health functions. Please do not rely on orange juice for VC. The citric acid in citrus fruits, if taken in large quantities can promote bladder and prostate disease, because the end product of their metabolism is a base. I also strongly suggest other vitamins and highly nutritious foods.

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