By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of Vitamin C have soared. People report looking for an immunity boost.

So, does Vitamin C work? Good Question.

“There is some evidence that Vitamin C has a benefit toward the immune system,” said Dr. Ndidiamaka Koka, a family medicine physician with Hennepin Healthcare.

Studies have shown Vitamin C can slightly shorten or lessen the symptoms of a cold.

“What’s been more debatable — does it stave it off,” said Dr. Koka. “That’s not been conclusively found.”

Vitamin C is the country’s third most popular supplement, after the multivitamin and Vitamin D.

And, while there are trials looking at the potential impact of Vitamin C on more severe COVID-19 cases, there is no evidence now to suggest that it helps cure or prevent COVID-19.

But, Dr. Koka said it can help to boost a person’s immune system – along with sleep, good nutrition, less stress and good hygiene – which is good, pandemic or not.

She said it’s important to talk about how a person takes their Vitamin C, whether by supplement or food. Human bodies absorb it better when it comes from food. One way to assess if a person is getting enough to look at eating habits.

The Recommended Daily Allowance for an adult is 75-90mg of Vitamin C a day. That can be found in an orange and cup of broccoli.

“I think people need to be mindful of what their bodies are telling them,” she said.

She said if a person needs more Vitamin C, a 500 mg supplement is generally considered safe. 2000mg is the maximum amount a person should take each day.

Heather Brown

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