Vitamin C has a reputation for being able to fight infections, which is why many people take supplements or try to eat foods rich in this vitamin when they feel like they are coming down with a cold.
In fact, just how effective it is in treating colds is still a popular subject for debate. Some experts, like researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US, say vitamin C doesn’t appear to prevent colds, although it may be able to reduce its duration.
But it seems it may have benefits when it comes to a variety of health conditions. Taken in high enough doses, vitamin C may be able to help treat a range of viral infections, from hepatitis to pneumonia, and may stop children from picking up illnesses such as chickenpox and mumps, says Dr Thomas Levy, a US cardiologist turned vitamin C researcher.
He believes it can also be used to combat major degenerative diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, coronary heart disease and cancer.
“People who take regular doses of vitamin C live on average six years longer than people who don’t and have less chance of dying from a degenerative disease,” he says.
Here are 15 fascinating facts about this common vitamin: