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Vitamin C for Flu? Does It Work?

Does using vitamin C for flu really prevent you for catching it?

Even today, the use of high doses of vitamin C for curing or treating flu is still highly controversial.

World renowned experts such as Linus Pauling and Robert F. Cathcart strongly advocate using megadose of vitamin C to cure many diseases including cancer, the common cold, the flu and other types of viral infections.

It is hard to reject using megadose of vitamin C as snake oil. There are quite a bit of clinical studies done on the effects of vitamin C on the immuine system. Let's see what the experts have to say about this...

Research Studies on the Health Benefits of Vitamin C for Flu

There are many clinical studies done on using vitamin C for enhancing the immune system. Here is just one of the many published studies that support using high dose of vitamin C for flu prevention and treatment.

The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections.
Gorton HC, Jarvis K.
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 Oct;22(8):530-3.

In this study involving 463 volunteers, the results clearly showed that taking high doses of vitamin C just before or after the appearance of cold and flu relieved and prevented the symptoms by 85%!

That is a very significant benefit! (The control group only took non-prescription decongestants and pain relievers.)

In another study, it was discovered that taking vitamin C prevented the incidence of pneumonia by 80 to 100%.  Pneumonia, a bacterial infection of the lungs, is a common complication of the flu, especially in the elderly and those who health is compromised.

Enhancing the immune system and reducing the severity of the flu symptoms allowed the body to make a quicker recovery so as to avoid pneumonia.

Dr. Robert Cathcart, MD - Vitamin C Expert

Dr. Cathcart is the leading experts on megadose vitamin C. He believes that massive doses of vitamin C help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Unlike antibiotics, where the bacteria can become resistant to the drug, this does not happen with vitamin C.

He advocates taking the "saturation" dose of vitamin C. This is the highest amount of vitamin C that a person can take before he or she suffers from loose bowel movements or intestinal gas.

Depending on the type of disease, the saturation amount of vitamin C varies significantly. For example, the saturation level of vitamin C is very much higher with flu than with the common cold.

The doses proposed by Dr. Cathcart are 60 grams (60,000 mg) for the common cold to 150 grams (150,000 mg) daily for the flu.

For the Bird (Avian) flu, the dose goes up to 300 grams (300,000 mg) daily.

These ultra-high therapeutic doses are always given by intravenous (i.v.) infusions.

How to use megadose of vitamin C for flu - For You and Me

Going for intravenous vitamin C therapy for treating the flu or the common cold is not practical. So what can a person do as a home remedy with vitamin C?

Suggested Dose #1

In the study mentioned above, the volunteers took 1,000 mg every hour for the first 6 hours and then they took 1,000 mg three times daily. This is a good starting point for most people.

Suggested Dose #2

Other studies have used much higher doses under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

At the first sign of flu or cold, use 8,000 mg (8 grams) every 20 minutes for 3 or 4 hours until you get loose bowel movement or stomach gas.

Then lower the dose to 2 to 4 grams every 4 to 6 hours for 10 days to prevent the flu.

If you are planning to take megadoses of vitamin C, first see the full review Benefits of Vitamin C for suggested dose and side effects to watch out for.

The safety margin for vitamin C is extremely large and high doses does not present any health risks for most people.

Nevertheless, it is a wise idea to seek a healthcare professional who specializes in using these high doses of vitamin C to supervise your treatment.

What other herbs are as good as vitamin C for flu prevention and treatment?

There are quite a few herbs and supplements that can be very helpful for flu prevention and treatment. Our article Natural Remedies for Flu provides extensive details and recommended doses to use.

This is a must read for anyone looking for a complete guide to natural cures for the flu.

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You may be interested in...

Natural Remedies for Flu - The Complete Guide

Review - Natural Remedies for Boosting the Immune System


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References for Vitamin C for Flu
Created: December 2, 2010

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