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June 11, 1973

Possible Problems of Large Intakes of Ascorbic Acid

Author Affiliations

University of Guelph Guelph, Ontario

JAMA. 1973;224(11):1529-1530. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220250051020

To the Editor.—  In recent years the suggestion has come forth that large doses (1 to 5 gm) of ascorbic acid may be effective in reducing the incidence or severity of the common cold. This claim was disputed,1 but in recent months results of clinical experiments have been published that suggest that ascorbic acid may be reasonably prophylactic for the common cold.2The use of large doses of water-soluble vitamins has not come into criticism in the same way as has the use of heroic doses of fat-soluble vitamins since the body has the capacity to excrete the water-soluble vitamins readily. It is a general interpretation that large doses of water soluble vitamins are relatively harmless. This note points to evidence from the literature that would suggest that this may not be so in the case of ascorbic acid.The function of ascorbic acids in the metabolism of