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We’ve heard it all our lives:
Vitamin C fights colds. That’s partially true.
Some human studies show that taking vitamin C can lessen the severity and duration of the common cold.
What’s irrefutable is the role that vitamin C plays in maintaining immune function.
The ABCs of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in humans. Without it, we die. Humans don’t internally produce vitamin C like most animals. It must be obtained from the diet or other external sources.
Severe vitamin C deficiency causes major health problems, including increased susceptibility to infections. Diets lacking in fruits and vegetables fail to provide enough vitamin C.
Vitamin C is further depleted by smoking, illness, exposure to pollutants, and stress. As a water-soluble nutrient, vitamin C can’t be readily stored in the body.
Impact on Infections
In the process of fighting infection, immune cells rapidly use up vitamin C.
Some studies show that in common infectious illnesses, such as colds, supplemental vitamin C lessens the severity and duration of symptoms.
In people with acute respiratory infections, increasing oral dosages of vitamin C can reduce the severity of respiratory symptoms. Amid pandemic, many are taking Vitamin C more frequently to boost their immune system.
Some studies report rapid clearance on chest x-rays of patients with lung infections, following intravenous vitamin C treatment.
Barrier Against Disease
Before viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents can make us ill, they must invade the body, breaching biological barriers meant to prevent their entry.
Our skin and the linings of our respiratory and digestive tracts are protective barriers. Vitamin C is important for the creation and maintenance of these protective-barrier tissues.
Helping Immune Cells
Vitamin C supports cells of the immune system, including those most directly involved in response to infections. Lymphocytes are the second most common form of immune cells. They include B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells (NK cells). These cells are an integral part of the immune system’s ability to recognize foreign invaders and mount an attack on them. Vitamin C promotes growth, maturation, antibody production, and survival of lymphocytes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Vitamin C Helps Fight Infections
- Daily oral intake of vitamin C restores bodily levels and has been shown to improve the function of immune cells, supporting a healthy response to viral and other infections.
- Health-conscious people supplement with 500 mg and sometimes much higher doses of vitamin C each day.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports healthy immune function.
Inadequate levels of vitamin C in the body impair the ability to ward off infectious disease and respond to an infection.
Increasing the intake of vitamin C corrects some of these impairments. This helps strengthen barrier functions that repel infectious agents and support optimal immune-cell function. Choosing the most appropriate Vitamin C supplements is the key to boost your immune system in your daily lives.