Vitamin C and the Common Cold

Since I've been getting a lot of questions on the topic recently, I wanted to clarify a few things using the evidence...  Does taking Vitamin C in fact help prevent a cold or decrease the impact of a cold?

Vitamin C does bolster the immune system by enabling the body to make white blood cells.  These are immune-modulating cells that help fight off infection.  So while Vitamin C is important to the immune system and total health, studies have consistently shown that additional supplementation of Vitamin C in the diet does not prevent a cold or reduce the duration of a cold. 

This myth started in the 1970s when scientist Linus Pauling theorized that taking 1000 mg of Vitamin C daily would prevent the common cold.  He was starting to learn more and more about the role of vitamins and minerals in the diet, and wanted to take the knowledge base and study it.  The 1000 mg dosage level was developed for his hypothesis but has since stuck with the public.  

Dietary sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, broccoli, and cantaloupe.