Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that the human body, unlike other mammals, CANNOT produce on its own. Therefore, it is important to get your daily intake of this nutrient to help ward off sickness…or is it?
Researchers Robert Douglas, from the Australian National University, and Harri Hemilä of the University of Helsinki, reviewed 23 past studies on Vitamin C and the common cold conducted over the last 65 years. They were attempting to find out whether Vitamin C could help in the prevention of a cold. The bad news is that Vitamin C didn’t seem to help.
However, Vitamin C did reduce the severity and duration of colds slightly, but these researchers say the difference was so slight it ended up being pretty meaningless. More alarming are the negative effects of the natural sugar found in orange juice, a nectar so often touted for its miraculous ability to cure colds. Orange Juice is so high in sugar that diabetics going into a coma from life threatening low sugar levels are given this concoction as the first line of treatment.
It is easy to consume excessive amounts of sugar through Orange Juice due to the liquid form and high content present in fruits such as oranges. One of sugar’s major drawbacks is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system. In fact, due to a similar chemical structure, the sugar actually competes with Vitamin C to enter cells. Therefore, the more sugar you ingest, the less Vitamin C is absorbed!
Vitamin C is not worthless by any means, but preventing colds just isn’t one of its benefits. It is an important building block for tissues throughout your body, including skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. If you suffer an injury, Vitamin C is a vital part of the healing process. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means it’s believed to help prevent or minimize conditions that include cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. So, even if it doesn’t fight colds, you do need a certain amount of it daily for other aspects of your health.
So if Orange Juice is a poor choice, how do we fight the common cold and provide the Vitamin C needed for overall health? The best approach is doing simple, if boring, things such as washing your hands, and eating a healthy diet of 5 fruits and vegetables, preferably the later as red peppers contain over 3 times the vitamin C of oranges, and broccoli over twice the amount.