Document Detail

Vitamin C and the common cold: a retrospective analysis of Chalmers' review.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  7790685     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
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.
H Hemilä; Z S Herman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the American College of Nutrition     Volume:  14     ISSN:  0731-5724     ISO Abbreviation:  J Am Coll Nutr     Publication Date:  1995 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1995-07-21     Completed Date:  1995-07-21     Revised Date:  2008-06-23    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8215879     Medline TA:  J Am Coll Nutr     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  116-23     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland.
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MeSH Terms
Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage,  therapeutic use*
Common Cold / drug therapy*,  prevention & control
Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
Meta-Analysis as Topic
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Placebos; 50-81-7/Ascorbic Acid
Comment In:
J Am Coll Nutr. 1995 Apr;14(2):112-3   [PMID:  7790683 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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