Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Vitamin C is not a panacea: doctors

COMPLICATIONS:The human body can only absorb about 200mg of vitamin C per day, but its metabolite can bond with calcium to create unhealthy stones

By Hsieh Chieh-yu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Experts at Nantou Hospital have dispelled rumors that vitamin C supplements cure colds and warned that their excessive intake could instead lead to stones.

While vitamin C does speed up the healing of wounds and burns, as well as boost immunity, its protective properties are only apparent when a person’s immune system is in a normal state, Nantou Hospital nutritionist Tsai Hsiu-wen (蔡秀雯) said.

It does not, as is rumored online, alleviate cold symptoms or prevent colds, she said.

Moreover, vitamin C can be absorbed naturally through fruits and vegetables, Tsai said, adding that guavas, lemons and tangerines are all rich sources of the vitamin.

The common cold is an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus that results in symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, a sore throat and fatigue, Nantou Hospital family doctor Hsu Sheng-jung (許盛榮) said.

Symptoms can differ according to the type of virus that caused the infection, as well as a person’s physical condition, he said.

Unless what they have contracted is the flu, people with a common cold do not require immediate medical attention, Hsu said.

Most people with a common cold can recover without medication in about a week by simply drinking warm water and getting more rest, he said.

Regardless of the quantity of vitamin C a person consumes, the human body can only absorb about 200mg per day, with the excess expelled through urine, the Health Promotion Administration has said.

However, as vitamin C is metabolized into oxalic acid, which bonds with calcium to create stones, excessive intake could be detrimental to a person’s health, the agency said.

The best way to prevent colds is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, routinely exercise and wash your hands frequently, the hospital said.

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