Health supplements promise to help, but it's not always clear if they can deliver. Emergen-C is a shot of vitamins and minerals, mostly vitamin C, that give your body a quick boost. It can help you recover from a cold and replenish your body after a workout. It may not be a miracle supplement, but it certainly has benefits.
Emergen-C provides a powerful shot of water-soluble vitamins and minerals that can shorten your cold and replenish your body after a tough workout.
The Vitamin C Movement
Linus Pauling is the scientist who famously experimented on vitamin C. His experiments, which were controversial during his career and remain controversial, centered around the health benefits of vitamin C.
Pauling published the bulk of his research on the subject in 1971. His research was questioned by scientists at the time because he was recommending large doses of vitamins to improve health. Pauling himself took large amounts of vitamin C and noted that he generally felt healthier and had fewer colds.
Since then, studies have gone back and forth about the benefits of vitamin C on your immune system. Some show that vitamin C prevents colds while others show it doesn't. With each study that's published, though, the results become clearer. An article from Medline Plus synthesizes the research and says that vitamin C won't prevent a cold, but can shorten the duration.
One of Emergen-C's benefits is that it contains 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, which is within the recommended dose to shorten the common cold. It's a high amount to consume but generally safe. If you have kidney problems, you shouldn't take that much vitamin C because the vitamin may be difficult for your kidneys to flush out.
Vitamin C Benefits
Emergen-C is perfect if you need an emergency shot of vitamin C. The health benefits of vitamin C go beyond shortening the duration of the common cold. A study published in the European Journal of Cancer found that vitamin C supplementation lowers the risk of mortality in women with breast cancer.
According to an article published in Yale Scientific, vitamin C is important in the formation of collagen, which is a connective tissue that your body produces. Ligaments, for example, are made primarily of collagen. Vitamin C helps your body make other tissues as well, like skin, blood vessels and bone.
Benefits for Athletes
Athletes who are low in vitamin C enjoy increased performance if they take a supplement like Emergen-C, according to a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition. They'll also decrease the oxidative stress to the body because vitamin C is an antioxidant.
Benefits of Zinc
It's estimated that 2 billion people on earth are deficient in the mineral zinc, according to a 2014 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition. Supplementing with zinc is very useful for older people, especially those who suffer from chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Similar to vitamin C, zinc supplements can help shorten the duration of your cold. The only caveat is that you have to take zinc within 24 hours after you first notice cold symptoms, according to an article from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Drawbacks of Emergen-C
Seven B vitamins are included in a dose of Emergen-C. There are claims that B vitamins boost your energy levels, but apparently only if you're already deficient in one or all of the B-vitamins. No direct evidence supports the claim otherwise.
The high dose of vitamin C and zinc may cause some stomach discomfort, so avoid trying your first dose of the supplement before physical activity.
If you follow a balanced diet, you probably don't need this extra boost of vitamins. According to a 2014 study published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, the best source of antioxidants is our diet, not powders or pills.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: The Linus Pauling Papers
- European Journal of Nutrition: Low Vitamin C Values Are Linked With Decreased Physical Performance and Increased Oxidative Stress: Reversal by Vitamin C Supplementation
- European Journal of Cancer: Vitamin C and Survival Among Women With Breast Cancer: A Meta-Analysis
- Yale Scientific: Mythbusters: Does Vitamin C Really Help?
- Frontiers in Nutrition: Zinc Is an Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Agent: Its Role in Human Health
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: 5 Tips: Natural Products for the Flu and Colds: What Does the Science Say?
- Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: Antioxidant Supplements and Mortality
- Medline Plus: Vitamin C