Saturday, February 2, 2008

Health Maintenance for Rigorous Training – Take Vitamin C

Nobody wants to go to the doctor when they have a cold. It's only normal to look for alternative treatments, such as Vitamin C, chicken soup and over the counter cold remedies.

One of the more popular, yet controversial supplements for cold prevention is Vitamin C - but is it useful?

Here’s a bit of clarification to help you decide when to spend you money on Vitamin C supplements.

According to the latest review from Cochrane, you can save your money if you are using Vitamin C on a routine basis to prevent colds. It is not likely to help when taken on a regular basis. There is an exception however.

If you’ve found yourself down and out during periods of intense physical training, or during ski season when you just can’t get enough of the brisk outdoors, there is good evidence that you may be the type of person who will benefit from Vitamin C supplements. This is good news for those of you who intermittently train hard, and may be especially valuable during the winter months when your vulnerability is at peak levels.

Once cold symptoms develop, Vitamin C is shown to provide no relief for shortening the duration or severity of a cold. The most consistent boost for cold prevention from Vitamin C supplements is seen in a test subgroup of marathon runners, skiers, and military personnel who were undergoing training in cold weather.

The dose of Vitamin C used in the study was 2 Grams (2000 mg.) or more per day. Lesser doses were not considered. The review was carried out to establish the truth surrounding the use of Vitamin C for cold prevention - a debate that has existed for over 60 years!

There is solid evidence supporting the limited use of Vitamin C for cold prevention during times of stress and exposure to the cold weather.

Don’t forget to include whole foods rich in Vitamin C such as citrus fruit, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables. You won’t know exactly how much Vitamin C you’re getting from food intake, but every little bit should help. There’s no doubt that whole foods may provide your immune system with the extra boost needed to keep you off the couch in the winter months and training hard.

Now we know more than we did yesterday, right?

Ref: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008 Issue 1 ◦