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Bullshit or truth: does vitamin C help against a cold?

What is the truth behind this old claim of vitamin C beating colds and the flu? Is it placebo or does it really work? Vitamin C is cheap and Doctor Anna's cold severe; it would be wonderful if she could treat her illness in such an easy manner: I immediately received good advice from various people and well-wishers (thank you). What most people told me was: sleep, drink water, and take vitamin C. Sleep and water - sure, I buy those arguments any day, but what about vitamin C (ascorbic acid in science-lingo)?