How Does Vitamin C Combat the Sniffles?

Pulling on your knitted gloves, venturing out in the morning frost, and watching your clouds of breath as you scrape the ice from your car windscreen – it’s that time of the year again. But winter is not all about curling up in front of a log fire or making hot chocolate with those tiny marshmallows. It’s also the season of cold and flu.

These viruses tend to peak between December and February every year as we spend more time indoors making it much easier for the virus to spread from person to person.

We remember the days as a child when we were wrapped up in blankets, and given chicken soup to help relieve your aching sinuses and were told to drink lots of orange juice to boost our immune system. But how does this vitamin help our body to fight off infection?

Vitamin C is needed for growth and repair of tissues. It helps your body to make collagen – an important component in the production of skin, tendons, and blood vessels. It is essential for healing wounds and keeping your bones and teeth healthy. Making sure your diet is high in Vitamin C can stave off arthritis, reduce your risk of a heart attack, and may also be linked to keeping your gums healthy. But, it turns out there is very little evidence of Vitamin C helping you overcome the common cold!

It is great that you’re topping up your vitamins and fluids while you’re sick, but working your way through a litre of OJ will not make a difference to your recovery time. Vitamin C only makes a tiny difference to your health when it comes to the sniffles. Even if you take Vit C supplements every day over the course of a year, you’ll only see about one day less of illness than anyone else.

So, if you’re off work sick this week, remember to rest up and drink a lot of water. Use it as an excuse to watch a new series on Netflix and stock up on your favourite snacks. But remember that to feel the real benefits of Vitamin C you need to strive for a healthy balanced diet all year around!

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