Vitamin C: A Boost for the Immune System


Understanding vitamin C
Vitamin C and the immune system
The benefits of vitamin C for the immune system
Vitamin C and your respiratory health
Daily intake and supplementation
Foods rich in vitamin C
Vitamin C and stress
Precautions and considerations
How to boost your vitamin C intake
Healthy diet, healthy you

Are you looking for a way to boost your immune system? Vitamin C could be the solution.

This antioxidant plays a crucial role in your everyday health. It also has various benefits. Ensuring you consume the right amount daily is essential to your immunity and maintaining your body’s natural defenses.

Continue reading to discover more about vitamin C. We unpack the importance of healthy immunity and the role of this vitamin in your body.

Understanding vitamin C

Vitamin C has always been around, but it was only discovered in the early 1900s. It’s a water-soluble vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid. Unlike vitamin D, your body can’t produce it by itself.

You need to consume vitamin C daily to ensure optimal levels. It has a lifespan of approximately 10–20 days, so regular consumption is important. You can find this vitamin in your daily diet. Unless your levels are low, there’s no real need to take any supplements.

As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps balance the free radicals in your body. Without it, you can become susceptible to various diseases.

Besides repairing and healing your body, vitamin C also aids in your development. One of the many things it does is help form collagen, a protein that assists with your skin formation.

It also supports your bones and muscles. Vitamin C helps create connective tissue by forming scar tissue to heal a wound.

Iron is an important mineral that helps your body in its growth and development. It assists in the manufacturing of hemoglobin and myoglobin. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of this mineral.

It’s clear that vitamin C is vital to your overall health. Let’s take a closer look at why many regard it as a boost for the immune system.

Vitamin C and the immune system

People are always referring to the importance of a good immune system. They even offer advice on how to take care of it.

What exactly is the immune system? It’s a complex network that helps the body fight infection. This system comprises proteins, cells, and organs.

The immune system has an innate and an adaptive part. The former is a first responder. It prevents any pathogens that have entered the body from spreading. The latter builds immunity against diseases you’re exposed to. It does the same with vaccinations.

Your immune system recognizes any “intruders” and then fights off the attack. These intruders are known as antigens and include bacteria, abnormal cells, and viruses.

The foreign bodies trigger your immune system on contact. Your immune system produces white blood cells once it identifies any germs. These cells then create antibodies to fight off harmful bugs.

Your blood cells have a good memory and remember the intrusion. In the future, they’ll know how to fight off these germs instantly.

Without this natural defense system, you would have no way of combating attacks on your body.
A study shows that vitamin C plays an important role in the immune system by enhancing certain immune cell functions.

So, how does vitamin C act as a boost for the immune system? Let’s discuss its benefits below.

The benefits of vitamin C for your immune system

Vitamin C supports the functions of your adaptive immune system. As an antioxidant, it fights off free radicals, which contribute to and cause health issues.

It reduces inflammation while boosting your immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells. They flow through your bloodstream, protecting your body against illnesses and diseases.

White blood cells are also known as immunity cells. The increase in vitamin C elevates your blood oxygen antioxidant levels. These molecules help reduce the risk of contracting chronic health conditions.

Here are a few more benefits of vitamin C.

  • Lowers high blood pressure: Vitamin C can reduce high blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. Studies also indicate it lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, but it’s not clear whether the effects are long term.
  • Absorbs iron: Vitamin C benefits those with iron deficiency, as it improves the absorption of this nutrient.
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease: Studies show that consuming vitamin C daily can lower the chances of a heart condition. It reduces your cholesterol levels, which can cause heart disease.

Vitamin C and your respiratory health

Your respiratory organs provide your body with oxygen and expel unwanted carbon dioxide. Various factors can influence the health of your lungs.

Smoking and air pollution can harm your lungs. Diseases such as asthma and COVID-19 can also affect your respiratory system. A poor diet may also negatively impact lung function.

Studies show that vitamin C can improve your pulmonary health. It may prevent a decline in respiratory function in asthma patients. This compound also provides anti-inflammatory effects. Research shows it even reduces lung fibrosis and cancer.

Daily intake and supplementation

Vitamin C is best consumed through your diet. You can get the daily allowance from various foods.

The suggested amount for women is 75 mg per day and 90 mg for men. Pregnant people should consume 120 mg daily. The maximum recommended allowance per day is 2,000 mg.

Your body doesn’t store this antioxidant, so the only way to get it is through oral consumption. When you need your levels increased, you can ingest supplements. You can also increase your vitamin C intake by taking it intravenously.

Deficiency of ascorbic acid is very rare. In extreme cases, low levels can lead to scurvy. Decreased levels of vitamin C can also lead to anemia, bleeding, and loose teeth. You typically also experience poor wound healing.

Foods rich in vitamin C

There are a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. Here are some good sources.

  • Potatoes
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kakadu plums, which have the highest vitamin C content of all

Including these items in your daily recipes is the best way to consume this antioxidant. Keep in mind that high heat can destroy vitamin C. When cooking with it, avoid prolonging the process over elevated temperature.

It can also infuse with the liquid you cook with. Not consuming this fluid can result in you missing out on your vitamin C intake. To preserve this ascorbic acid, cook with less liquid.

Vitamin C and stress

One of the many benefits of vitamin C is that it controls cortisol levels. This hormone is usually triggered when you experience tension.

Low levels of cortisol decrease stress. You feel less fatigue, experience fewer headaches, and a stable blood pressure.

A study indicates that vitamin C reduces anxiety in stressful situations. The higher the cortisol levels, the more stressed and tired you may feel. As you increase your vitamin C intake, the symptoms ease.

Precautions and considerations

Vitamin C is reasonably safe to consume. It’s not stored in your body, making it hard to overdose. To maintain healthy levels, you need to include it daily in your diet.

You can’t overdose on vitamin C, but you can develop side effects when the levels are very high. These symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps. Other indications are sleep related, like insomnia, sleepiness, and fatigue.

Vitamin C in high doses can create kidney stones. This condition is more prevalent in those with a history of this illness. When your dosage exceeds 2,000 mg over an extended period, you can develop other side effects, too.

It’s not all bad news. High doses of vitamin C administered directly into your bloodstream can benefit you. It’s useful to those who suffer from fatigue, infections, and cancer.

Inform your doctor that you’re taking a vitamin C supplement before having any tests. Elevated levels of this vitamin can negatively affect the outcomes of certain tests. When you apply vitamin C creams to your skin, you may experience some tingling.

While vitamin C may act as a boost for the immune system, it could have the opposite effect for some things.

  • Warfarin: Elevated levels of vitamin C can reduce the effects of anticoagulants. These medications help prevent blood clots in patients who’ve had a stroke or heart attack.
  • Estrogen: Your estrogen levels can increase when taking vitamin C with hormone replacement therapy. The same applies when consuming it with oral contraceptives.
  • Chemotherapy: Vitamin C, or any antioxidant, can reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy. This treatment is given to cancer patients.
  • Protease inhibitors: Consuming vitamin C orally can reduce the effects of these antiviral drugs.
  • Aluminum: Vitamin C enables your body to absorb aluminum present in certain medications. This is an important precaution for those with poor kidney function.

Advise your doctor if you’re using vitamin C and any of the above treatments. Also, keep your practitioner informed of any drastic changes to your diet. Altering your meal plan can impact your vitamin C intake.

How to boost your vitamin C intake

A diet that has a wide variety of plant foods typically meets the required daily vitamin C dosage. Those who consume very low levels should increase their intake.

Here are some tips from our licensed naturopathic doctors to boost your vitamin C intake.

  • A rainbow of fruit and vegetables: Ensure you consume various colors of this group of food. You will definitely increase your nutrients and vitamin C consumption this way.
  • Drink vitamin C: When your diet lacks vitamin C, try drinking juice. These liquids include orange, tomato, or mixed fruits.
  • Limit heat exposure: The reason your vitamin C levels are low could be that you’re destroying the compound when cooking. Limit the heat when preparing meals on the stove. Where possible, consume some vegetables in their raw form.
  • Seasonal fruit and vegetables: When purchasing produce, pick the ones that are currently in season. Vitamin C content is higher in seasonal fruit and vegetables.

When cooking, choose recipes that are fun and exciting. You can make your food more appealing if its taste is not pleasing to your palate.

Make snacks rich in vitamin C part of your daily intake. Add some fruit to your meal. Include strawberries in your cereal or oranges in a dessert.

Healthy diet, healthy you

Vitamin C offers a significant boost for your immune system. It can also benefit your health in various other ways.

This micronutrient is safe to consume and present in a variety of foods. Following a balanced diet that includes a range of fruits and vegetables is vital.

While there’s no need to consume vitamin C supplements, they can help with insufficiencies. You can also have it administered intravenously. Injecting it directly into your bloodstream ensures maximum absorption.

Are you ready to discover the benefits of vitamin C? Book a consultation with one of our medical professionals to discuss the perfect treatment plan for your needs.

Author: Dr. Jason Phan NMD – Founder of LIVV Natural – Anti-aging – regenerative medicine – peptide therapy