BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1158 (Published 03 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1158

Minerva is often asked whether taking extra vitamins helps stave off a cold, or shorten it, and her stock response is “not necessary, as long as you’re eating well.” A review in Nutrition Bulletin agrees (2010;35:26-9, doi:10.1111/j.1467-3010.2009.01796.x). Supplements are expensive, and high doses of some nutrients should be avoided—high zinc intake can impair iron absorption, for example. The evidence is insufficient to conclude that supplementation can significantly reduce the risk of catching the common cold, especially in people who have a healthy and varied diet.

The idea that autism might be affected by prenatal exposure to high testosterone was explored in a Danish study. Among the siblings of 326 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders from 1960 to 1985, 300 were male and 213 were female. The resulting sex ratio of 0.585 was higher than that for overall live births in …

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