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Vitamin C (part 1): Can Science be Trusted?

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Written by   663
9 months ago

In a two-part article, we will look at vitamin C and its properties. We will start by questioning some scientific studies made on this vitamin and see what's wrong with them.

I. Can Science be Trusted?

With many contradictory scientific results through the years, not least within the medical world, one may wonder whether science can be trusted. I am tempted to answer that with a resounding “no”. Science is often wrong. Suffice it to look at its history; one has to be blind not to notice all the errors. This would not be a real problem, if everyone were aware of the uncertainty and the factors that can make a scientific result erroneous; but it becomes dangerous if everything expressed as "scientific" is blindly believed. Results are often misinterpreted, and studies are often badly designed - yet the worst is that misinterpretation as well as bad design can be, and often are, deliberate. Prestige, money, and power, not a genuine desire for knowledge, are the major driving forces within the contemporary scientific community. Many researchers do not hesitate to manipulate their results, suppress facts which do not support their theories, or even lie to advance their own professional position or wealth.

Another factor is that the media want sensations. They eagerly blow up and exaggerate scientific results, no matter whether they are credible or not. For the general public it is hard, maybe impossible, to know what to believe.

New headlines on health turn up almost on a daily basis. Healthcare is big business. To evaluate credibility of the result of a new study, it is necessary to be able to evaluate at least its design and the interpretation of the result. The general public cannot reasonably be expected to possess sufficient knowledge to do so, so there is a lot of room for manipulation.

Yet it would be wrong to say that science is unreliable. Humans are. All those who abuse science, either deliberately or by ignorance, are to blame. Science is a powerful tool, in spite of its limitations - and it does have limitations. It can mislead us sometimes, but if we are aware of the uncertainties and limitations involved, there is no danger.

II. Some Studies about Vitamin C

In July 2005, New Scientist published an article named "Vitamin C left out in the cold". ( The article covered a project of Australian National University, where they had looked at 55 studies during 65 years. The result: "...regular doses of at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C do not reduce the risk of a cold in the general population."

Later the text states: "Only one study, in which people were given a massive 8-gram dose on the first day of symptoms, found any effect, albeit very slight (PLoS Medicine, vol 2, p e168)."

This is not surprising, because all these studies are badly designed and cannot possibly show any significant effect. They are absolutely meaningless. Yet this result made headlines in the international media.

In August 2005, Nature published the result of a Japanese study named: "Effect of vitamin C on common cold: randomized controlled trial". (

They gave "Daily vitamin C supplementation of 50 mg (low-dose group) or 500 mg (high-dose group)."

It states: "No apparent reduction was seen for the severity and duration of the common cold." But they found a slight reduction in the frequency of colds

Just in Europe, there are at least six studies with similar results.

It should be stated though, that several studies show a significant result for individuals with extremely low vitamin C intake; and for individuals who are under acute stress.

Some of the Studies

Anderson TW, Reid DBW, Beaton GH (1972). Vitamin C and the common cold: a double-blind trial. Can Med Assoc J 107, 503–508.

Karlowski TR, Chalmers TC, Frenkel LD, Kapikian AZ, Lewis TL, Lynch JM (1975). Ascorbic acid for the common cold: a prophylactic and therapeutic trial. JAMA 231, 1038–1042.

Elwood PC, Lee HP, Leger AS, Baird IM, Howard AN (1976). A randomized controlled trial of vitamin C in the prevention and amelioration of the common cold. Br J Prev Soc Med 30, 193–196.

Ludvigsson J, Hansson LO, Tibbling G (1977). Vitamin C as a preventive medicine against common colds in children. Scand J Inf Dis 9, 91–98.

Pitt HA, Costrini AM (1979). Vitamin C prophylaxis in marine recruits. JAMA 241, 908–911.

Briggs M (1984). Vitamin C and infectious disease: a review of the literature and the results of a randomized, double-blind, prospective study over 8 years. In: Briggs MH (ed.), Recent Vitamin Research. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 39–82.

III. What was Wrong?

These and other studies either show an astonishing ignorance about how vitamin C works, or they are deliberately set up to be misleading (sponsored by the medical drug industry).

The doses given are too low, and the "massive" dose of 8g that was mentioned is not necessarily all that "massive". In any case, you can not set a fixed dose and give it to everyone. The dose needed depends on a large number of individual factors. The body has to become in a sense "saturated", in order for vitamin C to have any noticeable effect on an acute infection or inflammation.

The way to determine your optimal oral dose is to increase the dose until you get a diarrhoea. From there you lower it slightly, and there you have it! This can be 5g, or 20g, or whatever, depending on your condition. Note that your optimal dose will grow when your body houses an infection.

Yet I think the common cold is too much of a trifle for all this attention. Although it is common, it's hardly a serious disease. A cold now and then might even be good, as it trains the immune system and keeps it in good shape. But there are many serious infections and inflammations where vitamin C can be really useful. Difficult influenza, of course, but also pneumonia, measles, or meningitis, just to mention a few. They sometimes require a very high dosage, which should be injected. Orally administered it would be too hard on the stomach. The level of "saturation" can also be determined by a urine test.

Another way to take vitamin C is by nasal spray, which increases the vitamin concentration in the sinuses 1000 times, compared to oral intake.

However you take it, the normal "Recommended Daily Allowance" will do nothing more than keep away ACUTE symptoms of avitaminos (deficiency), and studies whose design is not based on how the vitamin really works, are totally meaningless.

(Continue reading about vitamin C in part 2 of this article: Vitamin C (part 2): How to Use & What it Does

Other articles related to vitamins/nutrients:

Understanding Dietary Fats Part 1 (of 2)

Understanding Dietary Fats Part 2 (of 2)

Why Dietary Supplements are Needed

Supplements, Getting Them Right: Some Points to Consider

Iron & Cancer

Co-Enzyme Q10 & Carnitine

Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Nutrients that Protect Your Eyes from Ageing

Not Only Beta-Carotene: Carotenoids (Carotenes & Xanthophylls)

Salicylic Acid: Is Aspirin a Vitamin?

Vitamin A - Function & Need

Vitamin D – Underrated Vitamin?

Nicotinic Acid, the Real Super Vitamin!

Vitamin E - A Powerful Vitamin

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(The lead image shows Mandarins, a source of vitamin C. Photo by Couleur/Pixabay, CC0/Public Domain.)

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9 months ago
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Your article is generating comments! I like that. But I did not read the comments (only the article). I really like that you say the same as I think:

 "A cold now and then might even be good, as it trains the immune system and keeps it in good shape"

I fully agree. And I think that the "social distancing" and "stay home orders" are just bad for our mental sanity and societies as a whole. I feel that my immune system doesn't understand what happened. I was used to so much more social interactions and it felt healthy.

$ 0.00
9 months ago

Yes, I agree. Everything about how covid-19 has been handled can be questioned.

Thanks for your tips and comments. You seem to have been reading through a lot of my material the recent hours.

$ 0.02
9 months ago

"Can Science be Trusted?"

Yes, maybe - only if open-sourced, well-documented, and repeatable
[I refer to the method, not the finding issued.]

"Can scientists be trusted?"

perhaps, but only if no one labels them a scientist
The moment anyone labels them a scientist
credibility attaches a question mark.

$ 0.01
9 months ago

Almost everythjng we own today that help or mar life are as a resjlt of some good and bad moments about science. The media house that do blow a resounding whistle for science and their scientific input is as a result of scientific good and quick thinking and hence that is the case, what do you expect from them to do if not to support science in whatever they do that is either wrong or right. Let us also take a little time to digress into that aspect of science and their inventions and innovations of some chemical weapons that are used to destroy whose lives if not the human lives of course. Were it not for the so called scientific innovations and inventions that are most of the time used in the wrong way, do you think we could have come by such a high magnitude of a destructive chemical with such a high destructive tendencies? Tske it or leave it, science have helped improved us in terms of our usage of the universe to almost its fullest as much as it has brought the earth to a greater amount of ruin in terms of the lives they waste, after all, we have been able to destroy what we helped built scientifically. So sad!

$ 0.00
9 months ago

Science is a tool, all tools can be used and abused. A knife also once was a result of science, albeit a primitive one - it is also a tool with many good uses, but it has also been used to kill many people. The human nature is destructive, so, unfortunately, all possible tools are also used for destruction.

$ 0.00
9 months ago

Doctor, what might be the reason for me to feel tired and sleepy all the time? I eat healthy, live healthy, exercise often, but 2-3 hours after I wake up, I could go back to bed and sleep for another 8 hours. It makes me worried, a little bit.

$ 0.00
9 months ago

There can be many reasons for that, but the most likely is that you have some unattended health problem.It can be an infection, a chronic inflammation, parasites (worms), or something else of myriad possible health issues. Perhaps you ought get a thorough examination with a large blood test, etc, in order to establish if everything looks alright.

Or perhaps you exercise too hard so you are wearing down your body. I have seen in your writings that you sometimes exercise very hard. Don't overdo it. Pro-athletes are not exercising for good long-term health, they want fast results. They are far beyond what is healthy.

$ 0.00
9 months ago

Thank you! I would get an examination, but in my area, that's impossible without the Covid passport. :/

Is it true that fasting kills off parasites by starving them?

$ 0.00
9 months ago

Not necessarily. It can happen with some parasites, but not all. But if you have access to papaya seeds you can eat 4-5 seeds 3 times a day. It dissolves the proteins of the parasites, so you will in essence consume them and their eggs as food.

Papaya seeds can be dried and kept for a long time without losing their power.

$ 0.00
9 months ago

Thank you for this precious information! I will order papaya! Have a splendid day!

$ 0.00
9 months ago

Lately, I begin to wonder why some scientists are proven wrong what some scientists have established in time past, I began to doubt the reality of what their results are... Probably they are just mere fact

$ 0.00
9 months ago

There is so much that can affect the result and give false results. Limited understanding, mistakes or deliberate errors. Something is not true just because someone says that it is scientifically proved, one must evaluate every step in the study before accepting or rejecting the result. Still we can never be sure that there are not errors or manipulations we have missed. And,in addition to that, new knowledge sometimes changes established truths.

$ 0.02
9 months ago