Guide to Vitamins

Should I Take Vitamin C?

What researchers now know about the classic cold antidote

Illustrations by Kieran Blakey

“Vitamin C seems to work a little better than placebo for the common cold — but it may just be a really great placebo.”

Some researchers have looked at vitamin C’s effects on heart health and cardiovascular disease risk. A 2012 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that short-term supplementation of around 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day could lower blood pressure scores, especially among people with hypertension. But that finding has not translated to lower heart disease risks. “When we looked at vitamin C’s effects on cardiovascular disease risk, all the endpoints were flat,” says Dr. Edgar Miller III, coauthor of the promising review and a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. In other words, any short-term blood pressure improvements associated with vitamin C pills don’t seem to offer people protection from heart trouble.

I write about health and science. I live in Detroit with my wife and kids. I’m trying to learn German, but my progress so far is nicht gut.

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