Are you sick of being sick? Try vitamin C. Research has found that taking a vitamin C supplement may help shorten the duration of colds

Scientists from the University of Helsinki, Finland, found that, if taken at the onset, relatively high doses of vitamin C may shorten the length of a cold.

Analysing two randomised trials, researchers found that compared to placebo, 8g of vitamin C administered on the first day of the cold shortened the duration by an average of 19 per cent, while the second study showed that taking 6g of vitamin C a day shortened colds by 17 per cent.

“Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration of colds, and its safety and low cost, it would be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic 8 g/day vitamin C is beneficial for them,” said head researcher Dr Harri Hemilä. ”Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective,” he added.

Related: 3 Natural ways to boost your immune system

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Vitamin C protects cells from free-radical damage

Another study also found that vitamin C may be helpful in supporting immunity, protecting cells from free-radical damage and cardiovascular and chronic disease, promoting muscle repair and generally contributing to improved health.

Increasing vitamin absorption

Additionally, studies show that a new technology known as liposomal encapsulation may increase the bioavailability of important nutrients in the body, including vitamin C.

Liposomes are tiny, “nano-sized” fat-soluble bubbles made from phospholipids. Liposomal encapsulation of vitamin C helps improve absorption and protects against degradation as the contents pass through the harsh digestive system and into the blood.

study shows improved concentrations of vitamin C in the body through liposomal delivery while research shows its advantages include high bioavailability and absorption compared to other oral supplementation. It has also shown to be non-invasive, to increase intracellular delivery and to be more cost-effective as lower doses can be taken.

7 Immune-boosting tips

Nutritional expert Vanessa Ascencao says Liposomal vitamin C has shown to be significantly more bioactive than ordinary vitamin C supplements and may be taken throughout the year, but especially in winter.

She shares the following immune-boosting tips for the winter season:

  1. Increase intake of vitamin C, B, D, zinc and Echinacea to help boost the immune system and fight illness.
  2. During a cold, drink plenty of hot water with lemon and honey, green tea or chicken soup to help relieve congestion and dehydration.
  3. Increase intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.
  4. Increase intake of good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, seeds and nuts.
  5. Take a good probiotic to help keep your gut healthy; try sauerkraut, kefir and plain yoghurt.
  6. Drink lots of water, exercise daily, manage stress and aim for at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  7. Avoid sugary food and drinks and heavily processed or oily food.

Liposomal vitamin C is available nationally at leading health stores, pharmacies and Dis-Chem.

Sources: University of Helsinki, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and ods.od.nih.gov

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.