Scientists say they can find no convincing evidence to show that taking vitamin D supplements will fend off a cold.
A New Zealand team did the “gold standard” of tests – a randomised placebo-controlled trial – to see what impact the supplements would have.
The 161 people who took daily vitamin D for 18 months caught as many colds as the 161 who took fake pills.
The study was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
But a leading UK cold expert said vitamin D was useful.
Prof Ronald Eccles, of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, said it can give the immune system a much-needed boost during winter when vitamin D reserves may be low.
Supplements do not work for everybody because people’s immune systems are different”
“There is sufficient information to indicate that vitamin D is a vital vitamin for the immune system.
“Supplementation might help to support the immune system over the winter when we are short of vitamin D.”
Eh, I’m highly skeptical of “boosting” immune system claims and “supplements support the immune system”. Sure, in the winter, we get less sun and may be Vitamin D deficient but I am unclear how this affects the immune system. No supplement, not even echinacea, as this doctor suggests, has been shown to do anything convincing.
Then, there is this old clunker about vitamin C. It’s not citing new studies but an old one that pretty much says extra C is a waste.
Myth: Vitamin C prevents the common cold.
Fact: After decades and dozens of studies, it appears the idea that vitamin C prevents colds is just an old wives’ tale. But there is some evidence that high doses of the vitamin, which is found in citrus fruit and other produce, may slightly shorten the length of a cold.
The conclusions come from a 2004 study by researchers at Australia’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health who reviewed more than 30 published trials investigating vitamin C’s ability to prevent and treat the cold.
Combined, the studies involved more than 10,000 participants. The reviewers determined that people taking vitamin C daily, in doses as high as 1 gram, caught roughly the same number of colds as people who were not taking extra vitamin C.
This myth is SOOOO prevalent. Everyone’s parents believe this stuff and chow down on the C supplements and extra juice. It can’t hurt you, really, but it’s a waste. Measuring symptoms of the cold are so subjective. And, the results showed that the shortening of these symptoms were basically not signficant to justify the extra work.
The typical discussions around common colds is chock full of anecdotes of “This totally works for me” from homeopathic nothing meds to zinc supplments or extra sleep. Does anything work? It seems not, the cold just needs to run its miserable course and we can only do our best to deal with the symptoms and not get run-down so that it doesn’t turn into secondary infections.
Read this: Treating the Common Cold