7 Ways Vitamin C Boosts The Immune System
A healthy immune system is the best defense we have against microbes, bacteria, and viruses that would otherwise invade the body and destroy our health. The immune system functions much like the hull of a submarine: while it is strong, the water stays out, and the air pressure inside remains conducive to life. When it is weak – and ruptures – the water comes rushing in, sinking the ship and all aboard.
On a daily basis, our body uses antioxidant vitamins to boost the immune system, warding off such unwelcome visitors. One of the most important antioxidants for this is vitamin C.
But how is it that vitamins actually boost immune system functioning? How exactly do antioxidants such as vitamin C create a healthy immune system? This is a question that many moms and dads ask before considering whether or not it would be smart to supplement their child’s diet.
1. Killing Foreign Invaders Boosts Immune System
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, stimulates the production of interferon and inactivates viruses such as polio, the common cold, measles, mumps and herpes. The healthy immune system vitamin found in citrus fruits, kiwi, acerola and camu camu, accomplishes this by attacking the nucleic acid of the virus. Vitamin C also has the ability to enter cells that have dormant viruses and kill them.
This antioxidant vitamin fights with bacteria until they’re dead, including bacteria that can cause some pretty menacing diseases such as tetanus, staphylococcus (Staph infections), diphtheria, and tuberculosis.
2. Mopping Up Inflammation Always Helps Immunity
By producing anti-histamines, vitamin C can clear up inflammation and reduce the effects of allergy reactions. Vitamin C stimulates a compound called cyclic AMP, which raises production of steroids that decrease inflammation. The result is a healthy immune system – naturally.
3. Strengthening Mucosal Membranes to Resist Foreign Invaders
Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of new collagen tissues such as the connective tissue in skin, muscles, ligaments and bones. The stronger these tissues are, the more they can resist attack from microbes.
Cancer cells release an enzyme called collagenase, which destroys collagen and allows the fast spread of cancer to other areas. However, with healthy collagen tissue around, this becomes close to impossible.
4. White Blood Cell Count Increases Equal Healthy Immune System
White blood cells are the troops of your immune system’s army. Vitamin C increases the production of these very important cells – and the production of interferon from these cells as well. With more white blood cells, your immune system is better equipped to combat any invading bacteria, microbe, or virus.
5. Increasing the Body’s Ability to Make Antibodies
Vitamin E has been known for its role in improving humoral immunity, which is the ability of the body to make antibodies after being exposed to bacteria. Vitamin C protects Vitamin E by helping regenerate it, thus helping boost immune system function in yet another, if indirect, way.
6. Detoxifying Heavy Metals Means Less Stress on Immunity
In one study, guinea pigs were given a lethal dose of mercury, and vitamin C saved the day. Although the animals experienced a little weight loss for the first two days, they lived and became healthy with no side effects.
7. Aiding the Absorption of Iron
Optimal Iron levels are also necessary for a strong immune system. The body requires Iron for the differentiation and proliferation of T lymphocytes, a form of white blood cells sometimes referred to as T cells. T cells play an important role in the functioning of the immune system. Unfortunately, iron can be difficult for the body to absorb, as there are many substances in our diets that inhibit iron absorption – foods like eggs and legumes; drinks like coffee and tea; nutrients like fiber and calcium all inhibit iron absorption. Since these foods contain so many other health benefits, particularly fiber, it isn’t recommended to cut them from your diet. That’s where vitamin C comes in. Vitamin C aids iron absorption in two key ways: one, it prevents the formation of insoluble and unabsorbable iron compounds, and two, it reduces ferric to ferrous iron, which appears to be a requirement for the uptake of iron into the cells.
With all these great benefits to boost immune system functioning and restore a healthy immune system, why think twice about Vitamin C supplements for yourself and your children?