Vitamin C is an amazing nutrient that plays a key role in various body processes. From promoting wound healing to supporting your adrenals when under pressure, this vitamin is extremely crucial for the body. And one of the most important functions of this nutrient is boosting the immune system.
Vitamin C is commonly known as an immunity superstar. The star nutrient presents an array of benefits for the immune system and helps to boost overall health. In today’s post, we will look at the different ways in which the vitamin supports the immune mechanism. We will also look at other noteworthy benefits of this vitamin along with its best sources.
How Vitamin C Supports the Immune System?
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is known to facilitate various immune mechanisms in the body. The noteworthy ones are as follows:
- Vitamin C boosts the production of interferons. These increase the ability of body cells to initiate defensive cellular activity. They are produced in the body when pathogens are detected. Vitamin C supports their production and thus helps to boost immunity.
- The vitamin improves the function of phagocytes, i.e. white blood cells that help to eliminate pathogens and other disease-causing microorganisms. The vitamin improves the effectiveness of these phagocytes and ensures they capture all intruders.
- It supports the activity of lymphocytes that can directly attack the abnormal cells, such as cancer cells, and eliminate them.
- Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system by neutralizing oxidative stress. It helps to eliminate free radicals that accumulate to create oxidative stress in the body. And this stress may be a triggering factor for several chronic ailments and heart diseases.
- The vitamin is known to possess powerful antioxidant properties. It protects the white blood cells from poisonous compounds they generate in their fight against disease-causing microorganisms.
Thus, vitamin C is excellent for the immune system. It also supports the production and activity of antibodies that are vital for healthy immunity.
Moving on, it is important to understand that the immune system is a complex network of interconnected body cells, processes, and organs. Consequently, several body functions affect immunity. And vitamin C plays a significant role in many of these functions as well. Let’s understand how.
- Vitamin C promotes collagen production in the body. It is a vital protein in the skin that helps in effective and quick wound healing.
- It helps to shorten the recovery time for people suffering from cold, cough, and pneumonia.
- The vitamin helps to keep the blood pressure in check, which may otherwise increase the risk of heart diseases.
Best Sources of Vitamin C To Boost Immune System
The human body does not store this vitamin. This implies that all the excess is eliminated via the urine. Thus, it is important to consume the nutrient every day to stay on top of your health. You must include vitamin C-rich food items into your diet to avoid any kind of deficiency.
Some of the best sources of this nutrient are as follows:
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges
- Brussels sprouts
- Kiwi and more
Including these food items in your regular diet can help to boost the immune system and maintain overall good health. However, make sure to not consume the nutrient in extremely big quantities. For instance, consuming more than 1,000 mg of vitamin per day can lead to distressing symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach pain, and flatulence.
Can Vitamin C Supplements Help to Boost the Immune System?
Although supplements can help to fill in the gaps in your diet, the best way to fulfill your nutrient requirements for vitamin C is through diet. It is seen that the body absorbs maximum nutrients when they come from a dietary source.
That said, sometimes, taking a supplement along with a good diet is important for people suffering from a deficiency. If you suspect a vitamin C deficiency, you must consult your medical healthcare professional. He will help you understand the possible effects of a supplement as well as identify the right dosage as per your requirements.