Vitamin C supplementation reduces the incidence of postrace symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract infection in ultramarathon runners

Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Feb;57(2):170-4. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/57.2.170.


This study determined whether daily supplementation with 600 mg vitamin C would reduce the incidence of symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract (URT) infections after participation in a competitive ultramarathon race (> 42 km). Ultramarathon runners with age-matched controls were randomly divided into placebo and experimental (vitamin C-supplemented) groups. Symptoms of URT infections were monitored for 14 d after the race. Sixty-eight percent of the runners in the placebo group reported the development of symptoms of URT infection after the race; this was significantly more (P < 0.01) than that reported by the vitamin C-supplemented group (33%). The duration and severity of symptoms of URT infections reported in the vitamin C-supplemented nonrunning control group was also significantly less than in the nonrunning control group receiving the placebo (P < 0.05). This study provides evidence that vitamin C supplementation may enhance resistance to the postrace URT infections that occur commonly in competitive ultramarathon runners and may reduce the severity of such infections in those who are sedentary.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control*
  • Running*


  • Ascorbic Acid