Vitamin C: Immune System Support
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in humans.
The human body cannot produce it’s own vitamin C. Vitamin C is water-soluble which means it is quickly excreted. Aging individuals tend to have even lower levels of vitamin C. During times of inflammation or infection the immune system’s demand for vitamin C increases 100-fold.
That is why it is necessary to supplement daily with vitamin C to ensure the proper function of vital bodily functions including the immune system.
Without regular supplementation of vitamin C levels can quickly drop. With inadequate vitamin C, cells are less able to detect and destroy invading organisms or harmful cells, leaving one vulnerable to dangerous infections.
Vitamin C may help fight colds.
Studies have shown that 1000 mg of vitamin C daily can reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, and even reduce the chance of developing a cold. In two separate studies “absence from school and work was reduced by 14-21% per episode.” Additional studies found “common cold incidence decreased by on average 50%, and in four trials of British males common cold incidence decreased by on average 30% in the vitamin C groups.”
Vitamin C supports the immune system.
Vitamin C is the fuel that drive the activity of immune cells. This is why it is especially important to increase vitamin C intake during illness. Vitamin C deficiency has been associated with an increased frequency and duration of colds. A deficiency of vitamin C broadly affects the various key aspects of immune function, including the production of antibodies that fight known infections.
Neutrophils are the most plentiful type of white blood cell found in the human body. These cells are a vital part of the immune system response, and they rely on vitamin C to function properly.
Neutrophils are among the first cellular responders when there is an infection. Their primary function is to destroy invading microorganisms to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Vitamin C deficiency has been associated with decreased neutrophil activity.
- Human studies in individuals with genetic defects in neutrophil function have shown decreases in infectious episodes following vitamin C supplementation.
- Vitamin C deficiency prevents the apoptosis and clearance of neutrophils, resulting instead in necrotic cell death.
Hemila, H., & Douglas, RM., Vitamin C and acute respiratory infections. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 1999 Sep;3(9):756-61.
Bozonet, S. M., Carr, A. C., Pullar, J. M., & Vissers, M. C. (2015). Enhanced human neutrophil vitamin C status, chemotaxis and oxidant generation following dietary supplementation with vitamin C-rich SunGold kiwifruit. Nutrients, 7(4), 2574–2588. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7042574