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Limiting inclusion to trials that called for at least 1000 mg/day made no difference.
However, taking vitamin C on a regular basis did reduce average duration by 8% in adults and 14% in children, and also reduced severity of colds.
Scurvy was known to Hippocrates in the classical era.
The disease was shown to be prevented by citrus fruit in an early controlled trial by a Royal Navy surgeon, James Lind, in 1747, and from 1796 lemon juice was issued to all Royal Navy crewmen.
Second, for people diagnosed with cancer, will large amounts of ascorbic acid administered intravenously treat the cancer, reduce the adverse effects of other treatments, and so prolong survival and improve quality of life?
A 2013 Cochrane review found no evidence that vitamin C supplementation reduces the risk of lung cancer in healthy or high risk (smokers and asbestos-exposed) people.
One found a weak association between vitamin C consumption and reduced risk, and the other found no effect of supplementation.
In advanced scurvy there are open, suppurating wounds and loss of teeth and, eventually, death.
The human body can store only a certain amount of vitamin C, and so the body stores are depleted if fresh supplies are not consumed.
Another subset of trials looked at therapeutic use, meaning that vitamin C was not started unless the people started to feel the beginnings of a cold.
In these, vitamin C did not impact duration or severity.
The authors of the Cochrane review concluded that "...given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration and severity of colds in the regular supplementation studies, and the low cost and safety, it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial for them." Vitamin C distributes readily in high concentrations into immune cells, has antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities, promotes lymphocyte proliferation, and is consumed quickly during infections, effects indicating a prominent role in immune system regulation.