Vitamin C

From 1932 until now, no vitamin has been the subject of more research. Indeed, vitamin C has spawned an industry - Berkeley Wellness Letter

Vitamin C
Vitamin C

image by: Linus Pauling Institute

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How Linus Pauling duped America into believing vitamin C cures colds

You wake up with a stuffy nose and your first reaction might be to down a glass of orange juice. Don't bother: everything we know about research shows that mega-doses of vitamin C are absolutely, positively useless at fighting colds. All that extra orange juice will do nothing to shorten your sniffles.

This all leads to the question: how did America get sold on a massive vitamin C myth? Is it vitamin manufacturers, trying to get us to purchase more pills? Has the orange industry tried to dupe us?

Part of it has to do with the fact that vitamin C is rarely harmful, so there's been little impetus to intervene.

"There’s a lot of misinformation out there on vitamin C because…

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 How Linus Pauling duped America into believing vitamin C cures colds

"There’s a lot of misinformation out there on vitamin C because it’s safe," says Heather Mangieri, a nutritionist working with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And part of it traces back to one famous scientist, Linus Pauling, who came to believe that vitamin C could be a cure-all for numerous ailments — and, while he's no longer alive, he's still duping millions of people.

7 Foods With More Vitamin C Than An Orange

While the classic apples to oranges comparison doesn't quite pan out (oranges would win), there are some other match-ups that give oranges a real run for their money.

The Vitamin C Foundation

The VITAMIN C FOUNDATION is a national nonprofit, charitable organization that has recently been assigned the IRS tax-exempt 501(c)(3) designation as a Texas non-profit corporation devoted to preserving the "lost knowledge" about ascorbic acid and its role in life. Dedicated to the memory of Linus C. Pauling, the foundation's activities are funded by charitable contributions.

Berkeley Wellness

Many studies have failed to find that vitamin C can prevent colds. According to extensive reviews of studies by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2010 and 2013, vitamin C supplements do not prevent colds, except perhaps in people exposed to severe physical stress, such as marathon runners and skiers. Research on the vitamin’s potential role in reducing the severity and/or duration of cold symptoms when taken at their onset has yielded inconsistent results. Any such effect, if there is one, is apparently small.

C: The Blog

This is the Cforyourself vitamin C Blog. This has replaced the old Message Board that used to live here. Please keep your posts and comments on topic, that is, vitamin C and related health issues.

Linus Pauling Institute

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Unlike most mammals and other animals, humans do not have the ability to make ascorbic acid and must obtain vitamin C from the diet. Inside our bodies, vitamin C functions as an essential cofactor in numerous enzymatic reactions, e.g., in the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine, and catecholamines, and as a potent antioxidant.


Many uses for vitamin C have been proposed, but evidence of benefit in scientific studies is lacking. In particular, research on asthma, cancer, and diabetes remains inconclusive, and a lack of benefit has been found for the prevention of cataracts or heart disease.


Vitamin C is generally safe. Large doses of vitamin C may cause stomach upset and diarrhea in adults and have been reported to cause kidney stones. There is also a risk of excess iron absorption with high doses of vitamin C.


Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It is important for your skin, bones, and connective tissue. It promotes healing and helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables. Good sources include citrus, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and greens. Some juices and cereals have added vitamin C.


Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and has several important functions. For example, it: •helps to protect cells and keeps them healthy •is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue, which gives support and structure for other tissue and organs •helps wound healing A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy.


Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Despite claims of benefit, very high doses of vitamin C have not been shown to decrease the incidence of the common cold in the general population. It may slightly reduce the duration of the cold. In people exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise or cold environments, there may be some benefit to supplementation to ward off colds. Very high doses of vitamin C can acidify the urine, may cause diarrhoea, can predispose to urinary calculi and can cause iron overload.


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