How is Vitamin C Related to a Healthy Immune System?
Remember your Grandma or even your Mom telling you how oranges and lemons can help you fight infections? Well, they were right! It’s because of the Vitamin C present in these fruits.
The critical ingredient of citrus fruits is Vitamin C - the essential nutrient that helps to strengthen your immune system. After the pandemic, people have grown increasingly aware of boosting their immunity to protect themselves from various illnesses.
To be honest, not many people took their immune systems or respiratory health seriously until the COVID-19 hit hard! The pandemic forced us to take care of our health, primarily by increasing our immunity. A great way to do that is by taking foods rich in Vitamin C or including Vitamin C supplements in your daily diet.
Let's talk about the various ways Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is related to a strong and healthy immune system.
4 Ways Vitamin C Intake Can Boost Your Immunity
Here are four scientifically-proven ways Vitamin C can boost your immune health.1.It’s an Excellent Antioxidant
Being an excellent antioxidant, Vitamin C can help fight the free radicals present in the body. These free radicals are formed due to continuous exposure to pollution, and these may cause cellular damage. Therefore, Vitamin C can decrease inflammation, which happens when we are regularly exposed to toxins, such as pollution or harmful industrial chemicals.
Vitamin C’s antioxidant effects are possible due to its ability to donate electrons to pair up the unpaired electrons in the outer shell of a free radical. This is how this micronutrient can protect against our body’s cellular damage caused due to oxidative stress.
2. Acts as Your Body’s Defense System
Vitamin C also improves the cytokine production of white blood cells and helps inhibit the cell death (or apoptosis) of different types of T-lymphocytes. That’s one reason why Vitamin C can support your body’s defense mechanism by strengthening your immunity. Besides, it can also help support multiple cellular functions of the different adaptive immune systems of your body.
These cytokines are essential proteins produced by several cells of our immune system. These immune cells include innate macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, and adaptive B and T lymphocytes.3. Supports Antibody Production
Vitamin C is a vital micronutrient that helps to stimulate the production of antibodies. Additionally, it can stimulate the formation of white blood cells while also managing their function and movement.
Vitamin C can significantly contribute to your body’s immune system as it can support and maintain numerous cellular functions. Besides supporting antibody production, Vitamin C can also boost the process of our body’s natural killer cells to fight against infections or illnesses.
Antibodies are nothing but proteins that our body’s immune system produces whenever it detects harmful foreign substances, known as antigens. These antibodies circulate in our bloodstream and are always ready to defend our bodies against toxic substances like viruses and bacteria.
Not only do these antibodies neutralize the antigens, but they also protect our bodies against future exposures to these harmful substances. Foods rich in Vitamin C would aid in producing antibodies, protecting us from illnesses.
Vitamin C also helps to strengthen our skin’s protective barrier to fight against environmental pollutants and bacteria. Apart from Vitamin C, one effective supplement that helps to boost our skin against oxidative damage is bamboo silica, thus preventing skin irritation.4.Prevents You from Catching a Cold
Studies show that taking high doses of Vitamin C is a vital micronutrient that Vitamin C may prevent you from catching a cold and may even reduce the length of your cold and cough symptoms. For some people, the reduction of the duration of cold symptoms may be up to one and a half days.
Dr. Suzanne Cassel, an immunologist at Cedars-Sinai, says, "the concept of boosting your immune system is inaccurate. There's also widely held confusion about how your immune system functions and how your body is designed to combat diseases and infections. You actually don't want your immune system to be stronger, you want it to be balanced."
However, we would advise you to go for high doses of Vitamin C supplements only after consulting a physician or a registered nutritionist.
Best Sources of Vitamin C
Apart from the well-known sources of Vitamin C, like citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, lime, etc.), there are a handful of other food fruits and vegetables containing high amounts of Vitamin C. They include -
- Acerola Cherries
- Chili Peppers
- Sweet Yellow Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Kakadu Plums
- Rose Hips
- Mustard Spinach
- American Persimmons
When Do You Need Supplements?
As per the recommendations of health experts, we should consume different fruits and vegetables in ample amounts to fulfill our daily Vitamin C requirements. However, many of us fail to include many fruits and veggies in our daily diet due to tight work schedules and lack of time.
In that case, Vitamin C supplements would be a great option to prevent Vitamin C deficiencies. An effective multivitamin supplement may help meet your vitamin and mineral needs daily, thus improving your overall optimal health. Vitamin C supplements help boost your immunity and can also act as powerful antioxidants.Alternatively, you can also take bamboo silica supplements as they may help protect your skin against oxidative stress caused due to free radicals present in your body.