Vitamin C and the common cold: a retrospective analysis of Chalmers’ review.

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Hemilä , H & Herman , Z S 1995 , ' Vitamin C and the common cold: a retrospective analysis of Chalmers’ review. ' Journal of the American College of Nutrition , vol 14 , no. 2 , pp. 116-123 . , 10.1080/07315724.1995.10718483

Title: Vitamin C and the common cold: a retrospective analysis of Chalmers’ review.
Author: Hemilä, Harri; Herman, Zelek S
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute
Publisher: American College of Nutrition
Date: 1995
Language: eng
Number of pages: 8
Belongs to series: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
ISSN: 0731-5724
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/42358
Peer reviewed: Yes
Abstract: In 1975 Thomas Chalmers analyzed the possible effect of vitamin C on the common cold by calculating the average difference in the duration of cold episodes in vitamin C and control groups in seven placebo-controlled studies. He found that episodes were 0.11 +/- 0.24 (SE) days shorter in the vitamin C groups and concluded that there was no valid evidence to indicate that vitamin C is beneficial in the treatment of the common cold. Chalmers' review has been extensively cited in scientific articles and monographs. However, other reviewers have concluded that vitamin C significantly alleviates the symptoms of the common cold. A careful analysis of Chalmers' review reveals serious shortcomings. For example, Chalmers did not consider the amount of vitamin C used in the studies and included in his meta-analysis was a study in which only 0.025-0.05 g/day of vitamin C was administered to the test subjects. For some studies Chalmers used values that are inconsistent with the original published results. Using data from the same studies, we calculated that vitamin C (1-6 g/day) decreased the duration of the cold episodes by 0.93 +/- 0.22 (SE) days; the relative decrease in the episode duration was 21%. The current notion that vitamin C has no effect on the common cold seems to be based in large part on a faulty review written two decades ago.
Subject: VITAMIN-C
ASCORBIC ACID
COMMON COLD
INFECTION
ASCORBIC-ACID
MITOGEN STIMULATION
IMMUNE FUNCTIONS
PATHOGENESIS
NEUTROPHILS
LYMPHOCYTES
INTERFERON
PIGS


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