Medicine: Downgrading Vitamin C

Ever since Linus Pauling proposed in 1970 that large doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) would prevent or cure the common cold, sales of the vitamin have soared, despite the widely expressed doubts of other researchers. Three reports now cast a further shadow on Pauling's theory. In one of two studies published in the A.M.A. Journal, 311 volunteers at the National Institutes of Health took part in an experiment in which about half were given one gram of vitamin C three times daily for a nine-month period; the remainder took a placebo under the same circumstances. If a volunteer showed signs...

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