Vitamin supplements don't ward off colds in smokers

February 5, 2002 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin supplements don't ward off colds in smokers

According to a new study from University of Helsinki in Finland, older men who smoke shouldn't bother to take common cold fighting vitamin pills in an attempt to prevent a cold.

The researchers found no protective association between vitamin C or E or beta-carotene and the incidence of self-reported colds.

Nonetheless, the study did identify a very small population of men--those over the age of 65--whose intake of vitamin E was associated with a slightly reduced risk of catching colds. The effect was strongest among men who lived in cities and smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes daily.

The researchers evaluated data from a study of nearly 22,000 male smokers that investigated whether supplementing their diets with 50 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E and 20 mg of beta-carotene daily had any effect on whether they developed cancer.

The men, aged 50 to 69, were also asked about the number of colds they had during the study period.

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