Orthomolecular Use of Vitamin C and the Common Cold

Orthomolecular Use of Vitamin C and the Common Cold

Linus Pauling's interest in vitamin C's potential benefits for health emerged in the 1960s. He proposed that megadoses of vitamin C could boost the immune system and reduce the incidence and severity of the common cold. His advocacy led to widespread public interest and consumption of vitamin C supplements in large quantities.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various physiological processes, including the functioning of the immune system. It acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, vitamin C is involved in the production and function of white blood cells, which are vital components of the immune system.

Orthomolecular practitioners often recommend higher-than-normal doses of vitamin C to achieve therapeutic effects. Pauling himself suggested daily intakes of several grams, far beyond the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Proponents argue that these megadoses can enhance the body's ability to fend off infections, including the common cold.

While Pauling's enthusiasm for vitamin C gained popularity, the scientific community has remained divided on the efficacy of orthomolecular doses for preventing or treating the common cold. Numerous studies have explored the relationship between vitamin C and respiratory infections, with mixed results. Some studies suggest modest benefits, while others find no significant impact on cold prevention or duration.

One challenge in assessing the effectiveness of orthomolecular vitamin C lies in individual variability. Responses to vitamin C supplementation can vary, and factors such as overall health, genetics, and pre-existing conditions may influence outcomes. What works for one person may require modifications for another - which is why we recommend finding your Bowel Tolerance. 


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