Chances are that parents will pour a thick glass of orange juice at the first sign of cold growing poetic about Vitamin C. With the conviction that charging Vitamin C is a surefire way to defeat every mistake, all today's Millennials devour their current derivative: Emergen-C.
But what exactly is Emergen-C? And can it actually help you not get sick or overcome your cold faster? Here, experts give up everything you need to know.
What is Emergen-C anyway?
For the uninitiated, Emergen-C is a brand of powdered vitamin supplements that you stir in water to drink. In recent years, they have launched a Probiotic Plus Blend, an Energy Formula and a Sleep Supplement ̵
As the name implies, the hero component of Emergen-C Immune Support is Vitamin C; Each serving contains a whopping 1,000 mg, equivalent to 1.667 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA). In addition, "the ingredients of Emergen-C are actually quite simple: a mix of vitamins, some electrolytes along with some sugar, artificial sweetener and dyes," says Elroy Vojdani, MD, founder of Regenera Medical and a certified practitioner of functional medicine  The additional vitamin mixture in a dose of Emergen-C contains 10 mg vitamin B 6 25 mg Vitamin B 12 100 mg Vitamin B 9 0.5 mcg Manganese ( 25 percent of your RDA) and 2 mg of zinc. In addition, lower levels of phosphorus, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, sodium, potassium and other B vitamins.
Does Emergen-C work?
There are no product-specific studies on Emergen-C or its effectiveness in preventing or curing the common cold. However, experts say that an examination of the specific components of emergen-C (mainly vitamin C and zinc) can help answer that question. (P.S., there are 10 simple ways to boost your immunity.)
There has been a great deal of research into the role of vitamin C in immuno-health – and unfortunately, the results are not very conclusive. For example, a 2013 study found that taking vitamin C supplements on a regular basis did not affect whether or not the general population had a cold, but the nutrient might be beneficial for extreme athletes and those with physically demanding jobs , (For information, your high-intensity workouts may affect your immune system.) Another study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking vitamin C daily can reduce the frequency of colds, and have not lessened the duration and severity of this cold.
So while can help prevent you from getting sick, the widespread belief that your intake of vitamin C will increase the temperature of your cold can quickly lead to a cold is a myth.
Vojdani says it is still important to adhere to the recommended daily vitamin C intake. "Vitamin C has been proven to protect the body, and some cells in the immune system need vitamin C to do their job and defend against the disease." Translation: It's important to get enough vitamin C, but that's 10 times the RDA Do not magically make your immune system unstoppable.
What about the other ingredients in Emergen-C? A review in 2017 linked zinc to a faster recovery from cold symptoms when taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. In addition, the electrolytes are beneficial in reducing the symptoms of dehydration common in disease, says Jonathan Valdez, R.D. N., owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesman for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The remaining ingredients, however, play no role in immunity: "In addition to zinc and vitamin C, there are no components in Emergen-C that could affect the disease," he says.
Are there any disadvantages to taking C?
The short answer is: It depends. It is possible to have too much Vitamin C. The most common symptoms of overdose are cramping and GI suffering. Valdez says some people may already have these symptoms at 500 mg (remember that Emergen-C contains 1,000 mg).
The only people who have to worry about more serious side effects are those who are affected by sickle cell disease and G6PD deficiency. "Large doses of vitamin C can actually be life-threatening for these people," says Dr. Vojdani.
However, since Emergen-C contains far lower levels of all other vitamins and minerals, there is no overdose. One package or even a few packages while you're ill, says Stephanie Long, MD, FAAFD, a healthcare provider. Since Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, simply piss out what your body can not absorb – which gives your urine a funny smell, but which is generally considered NBD.
"If you follow the dosage and only use Emergen-C for a short time, there is little risk of overdose," Valdez agrees.
The verdict: Can it really help * not * get sick?
All three experts agree: If you want to boost your immunity, there are far better options than taking Emergen-C. (See: 5 Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System Without Medicine) But they agree that the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C and Zinc is a smart preventive measure.
"I recommend taking the dietary vitamin C recommendation," says Valdez. "If you get vitamin C balanced in your diet, it's even better because it contains antioxidants that you would not otherwise get from dietary supplements alone." ICYDK: Citruses, peppers, peppers, brussels sprouts, kiwis, cantaloupe, broccoli and cauliflower are all good sources of vitamin C. Seafood, yogurt and cooked spinach are good sources of zinc.
If you decide Do not take more than the upper limit of 2,000 mg per day for a vitamin C supplement, says Valdez. Dr. Vojdani recommends a vitamin C supplement in a form called Liposomal, which allows for easier uptake into the bloodstream. Remember: The FDA does not regulate supplements. Therefore, third-party seal products from USP, NSF, or Consumer Labs are the most appropriate. (See: Are dietary supplements really safe?)
And hey, you can always drink some OJ for old reasons.