Asthma/AllergyCochrane LibraryCommon ColdInfectionPregnancyVitamins

Is there any justification to take high doses of vitamin C?

Let’s see what the Cochrane Collaboration reveals.

2007: Preventing and treating the common cold

  • Routine mega-dose prophylaxis is not justified.
  • Hope springs eternal for people exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise or cold environments.

2007:Preventing and treating pneumonia

  • Evidence is too weak to advocate widespread prophylactic use of vitamin C.
  • But it might reasonable for pneumonia patients with low vitamin C blood levels because its cost and risks are low.

2005: During pregnancy

  • Not enough data to know if it’s worth the time and trouble.

2004: For asthma

  • Insufficient evidence to recommend a specific role for vitamin C.
  • More studies are needed in children with asthma.
  • One is listed here.

The bottom line?
It’s pretty clear there is little if any reason to take Linus Pauling-level doses of ascorbic acid. Yet, hope springs eternal. If we could just do one more, really, really good study, I’m sure we could justify Dr. Pauling’s musing.

7/18/07 19:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.