Many people turn to vitamin C and zinc supplements to fight off colds and flu. Now, scientists are continuing to explore the use of vitamins and supplements in the treatment of the novel coronavirus disease.
Vitamin C is a recognized antioxidant, and plays an essential role in supporting the immune system. Even though it has not been shown to prevent illness, research has found vitamin C can shorten colds by 8% in adults and 14% in kids.
Using vitamin C after cold symptoms start, however, doesn’t appear to be helpful, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Zinc may help a cell’s ability to fight infection, a study said, “while there is evidence that zinc deficiency increases pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreases the production of antibodies.”
But what does that mean in real life? If taken within 24 hours of the very first signs of a cold, zinc may reduce the length of a cold by only one day, a review of 13 studies found.