Preventing the common cold with a vitamin C supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey

Adv Ther. 2002 May-Jun;19(3):151-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02850271.


One hundred sixty-eight volunteers were randomized to receive a placebo or a vitamin C supplement, two tablets daily, over a 60-day period between November and February. They used a five-point scale to assess their health and recorded any common cold infections and symptoms in a daily diary. Compared with the placebo group, the active-treatment group had significantly fewer colds (37 vs 50, P<.05), fewer days challenged virally (85 vs 178), and a significantly shorter duration of severe symptoms (1.8 vs 3.1 days, P<.03). Consequently, volunteers in the active group were less likely to get a cold and recovered faster if infected. Few side effects occurred with the active treatment, and volunteers reported greatly increased satisfaction with the study supplement compared with any previous form of vitamin C. This well-tolerated vitamin C supplement may prevent the common cold and shorten the duration of symptoms. Volunteers were generally impressed by the protection afforded them during the winter months and the general acceptability of the study medication.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Common Cold / prevention & control*
  • Dehydroascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Threonine / therapeutic use*


  • Drug Combinations
  • calcium ascorbate
  • Threonine
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Dehydroascorbic Acid