Touted as a way to support your immune system and potentially ward off illness, Emergen-C is a powdered drink mix that contains large doses of certain vitamins and minerals. The manufacturer's health claims, however, aren't supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and this is stated on the Emergen-C website. If you're interested in using Emergen-C, ask your doctor to be sure it's right for you, but know that large doses of vitamin C aren't likely to prevent you from catching a cold, according to a 2013 article published in "Cochrane Database System Reviews."
Vitamin C Is the Star
Emergen-C offers several flavors, such as orange, raspberry, acai berry, mangosteen, pink lemonade and tangerine, and each one supplies 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C per serving. This is far more than the 75 milligrams women need and the 90 milligrams men require daily. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these amounts are all you need to support your health, so more isn't necessarily better. People who take vitamin C regularly, however, might experience shorter duration of colds with less severe symptoms.
B Vitamins Are a Close Second
One serving of Emergen-C, in any flavor, contains 12.5 micrograms of vitamin B-12, which is significantly more than the 2.4 micrograms that healthy adults need each day. The same serving of Emergen-C also supplies 10 milligrams of vitamin B-6. That's also significantly more than the 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B-6 that adults need every day. Vitamins B-6 and B-12 are essential for metabolism. You'll also get a good dose of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin from a serving of Emergen-C.
Smaller Doses of Nutrients
A serving of Emergen-C supplies small doses of bone-building calcium, as well as potassium and magnesium, two minerals that support the health and function of your heart and muscles. You'll also get about a quarter of the manganese you need each day. Manganese plays several roles, including helping form connective tissue, supporting bone health, aiding in blood clotting and secreting sex hormones, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. There are also 60 milligrams of sodium in a serving of Emergen-C.
Is Emergen-C Right For You?
Despite the valuable nutrients, a serving of Emergen-C also contains added sugars. Most of the flavors contain 5 grams of added sugar, which is a little more than a teaspoon of added sugar. Some flavors, such as the pink lemonade, contain 6 grams of sugar. The only exceptions are Emergen-C Five flavors, each of which contain just 1 gram of sugar. The flavors, including mandarin orange, peach-passionfruit and strawberry kiwi, offer only 5 calories per serving, compared with the 20 or 25 calories in the other flavors.
- Emergen-C: Little Packets of Kapow
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-6
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-12
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Manganese
- American Heart Association: Sugars and Carbohydrates
- Cochrane Database System Reviews: Vitamin C For Preventing and Treating the Common Cold