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March 1, 1971

Vitamin C and the Common Cold

Author Affiliations

Evanston, Ill

JAMA. 1971;215(9):1506. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180220086028

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The many admirers of Linus Pauling will wish that he had not written this book. Here are found, not the guarded statements of a philosopher or scientist seeking truth, but the clear, incisive sentences of an advertiser with something to sell. Unfortunately, many laymen are going to believe the ideas that the author is selling—that ascorbic acid is a completely harmless chemical which will prevent or mollify infectious diseases such as the common cold, if taken in doses of from 1 to 10 gm daily throughout life, and possibly extend that lifetime from two to six years. Actually, when used as recommended by Professor Pauling, neither the safety of all dosage forms, nor the efficacy of ascorbic acid in any dosage form, has been proved.

Pauling hopes that there will be a thorough, large-scale study on vitamin C and the common cold. Because he has already convinced himself that vitamin

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