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Vitamin C and Infections

Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki FI-00014, Finland
Nutrients 2017, 9(4), 339;
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin C in Health and Disease)
In the early literature, vitamin C deficiency was associated with pneumonia. After its identification, a number of studies investigated the effects of vitamin C on diverse infections. A total of 148 animal studies indicated that vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The most extensively studied human infection is the common cold. Vitamin C administration does not decrease the average incidence of colds in the general population, yet it halved the number of colds in physically active people. Regularly administered vitamin C has shortened the duration of colds, indicating a biological effect. However, the role of vitamin C in common cold treatment is unclear. Two controlled trials found a statistically significant dose–response, for the duration of common cold symptoms, with up to 6–8 g/day of vitamin C. Thus, the negative findings of some therapeutic common cold studies might be explained by the low doses of 3–4 g/day of vitamin C. Three controlled trials found that vitamin C prevented pneumonia. Two controlled trials found a treatment benefit of vitamin C for pneumonia patients. One controlled trial reported treatment benefits for tetanus patients. The effects of vitamin C against infections should be investigated further. View Full-Text
Keywords: ascorbic acid; bacteria; bacterial toxins; common cold; herpes zoster; pneumonia; protozoa; respiratory tract infections; viruses; tetanus ascorbic acid; bacteria; bacterial toxins; common cold; herpes zoster; pneumonia; protozoa; respiratory tract infections; viruses; tetanus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hemilä, H. Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients 2017, 9, 339.

AMA Style

Hemilä H. Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients. 2017; 9(4):339.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hemilä, Harri. 2017. "Vitamin C and Infections" Nutrients 9, no. 4: 339.

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