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Vitamin C and treating the common cold

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The antioxidant, antihistamine, and chemotactic properties of vitamin C provide the theoretical basis linking vitamin C supplementation to combating the common cold; yet, the clinical evidence is mixed. To date, vitamin C intervention trials have not systematically recorded cold symptoms

The antioxidant, antihistamine, and chemotactic properties of vitamin C provide the theoretical basis linking vitamin C supplementation to combating the common cold; yet, the clinical evidence is mixed. To date, vitamin C intervention trials have not systematically recorded cold symptoms daily or looked at fluctuations in plasma histamine over an extended period. Also, trials have not been conducted in individuals with marginal vitamin C status. This study examined the impact of vitamin C supplementation during cold season on specific cold symptoms in a population with low plasma vitamin C concentrations. Healthy young males who were not regular smokers or training for competitive sports between the ages of 18 and 35 with below average plasma vitamin C concentrations were stratified by age, body mass index, and vitamin C status into two groups: VTC (500 mg vitamin C capsule ingested twice daily) or CON (placebo capsule ingested twice daily). Participants were instructed to fill out the validated Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey-21 daily for 8 weeks. Blood was sampled at trial weeks 0, 4, and 8. Plasma vitamin C concentrations were significantly different by groups at study week 4 and 8. Plasma histamine decreased 4.2% in the VTC group and increased 17.4% in the CON group between study weeks 0 and 8, but these differences were not statistically significant (p>0.05). Total cold symptom scores averaged 43±15 for the VTC group compared to 148±36 for the CON group, a 244% increase in symptoms for CON participants versus VTC participants (p=0.014). Additionally, recorded symptom severity and functional impairment scores were lower in the VCT group than the CON group (p=0.031 and 0.058, respectively). Global perception of sickness was 65% lower in the VTC group compared to the CON group (p=0.022). These results suggest that 1000 mg of vitamin C in a divided dose daily may lower common cold symptoms, cold symptom severity, and the perception of sickness. More research is needed to corroborate these findings.

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Date Created
2012

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Vitamin C and the common cold in the asthmatic population

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ABSTRACT

Asthma is a high-stress, chronic medical condition; 1 in 12 adults in the United States combat the bronchoconstriction from asthma. However, there are very few strong studies indicating any alternative therapy for asthmatics, particularly following a cold incidence. Vitamin

ABSTRACT

Asthma is a high-stress, chronic medical condition; 1 in 12 adults in the United States combat the bronchoconstriction from asthma. However, there are very few strong studies indicating any alternative therapy for asthmatics, particularly following a cold incidence. Vitamin C has been proven to be effective for other high-stress populations, but the asthmatic population has not yet been trialed. This study examined the effectiveness of vitamin C supplementation during the cold season on cold incidence and asthmatic symptoms. Asthmatics, otherwise-healthy, who were non-smokers and non-athletes between the ages of 18 and 55 with low plasma vitamin C concentrations were separated by anthropometrics and vitamin C status into two groups: either vitamin C (500 mg vitamin C capsule consumed twice per day) or control (placebo capsule consumed twice per day). Subjects were instructed to complete the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey-21 and a short asthma symptoms questionnaire daily along with a shortened vitamin C Food Frequency Questionnaire and physical activity questionnaire weekly for eight weeks. Blood samples were drawn at Week 0 (baseline), Week 4, and Week 8. Compliance was monitored through a calendar check sheet. The vitamin C levels of both groups increased from Week 0 to Week 4, but decreased in the vitamin C group at Week 8. The vitamin C group had a 19% decrease in plasma histamine while the control group had a 53% increase in plasma histamine at the end of the trial, but this was not statistically significant (p>0.05). Total symptoms recorded from WURSS-21 were 129.3±120.7 for the vitamin C and 271.0±293.9, but the difference was not statistically significant (p=0.724). Total asthma symptoms also slightly varied between the groups, but again was not statistically significant (p=0.154). These results were hindered by the low number of subjects recruited. Continued research in this study approach is necessary to definitively reject or accept the potential role of vitamin C in asthma and cold care.

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Date Created
2015