Science of Vitamin C: Benefits Beyond the Common Cold

All major immune system cell lines function at their peak with ample vitamin C supplies. Social activities like hiking in the woods, going for a swim, walking your dog, or playing sports can also provide the added benefits of elevating your mood and forming close bonds. When supplemented in vitro, vitamin C has been shown to increase the number, proliferation, and function of T lymphocytes. The good news is that vitamin C is in so many foods that most people don’t need to take a vitamin C supplement unless a doctor advises it.

Free radicals are charged particles that can damage cells, tissues and genetic material if left unchecked, and thus trigger harmful inflammation. Vitamins and supplements can certainly give your immunity a boost, but they can’t make up for an unhealthy lifestyle. A key component of the immediate immune response is inflammation, which can cause damage to host tissues, although the damage is usually not significant (2). Staying hydrated can boost your immune health too, Zumpano says. Prospective studies look forward at correlations between higher levels of vitamin C as measured in plasma and certain diseases or high risk factors.

It was later discovered the route of administration of high dose vitamin C is the key factor.

In the classical pathway, RAR must first heterodimerize with RXR and then bind to small sequences of DNA called retinoic acid response elements (RAREs) to initiate a cascade of molecular interactions that modulate the transcription of specific genes (57). A lack of immunologic memory means that the same response is mounted regardless of how often a specific antigen is encountered (6). As a result, nutrient absorption is greatly increased, and there is less intestinal discomfort than with using standard oral melatonin supplements.

Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble antioxidant that protects the integrity of cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals (155). New studies confirm that vitamin C supplementation at 1,000 mg per day shortens the duration and mitigates the severity of colds, while also preventing colds from developing, especially in those with low vitamin C levels. Did you know that if you removed water from the equation, protein would make up 75 percent of our bodies? Although vitamin C doesn’t have miraculous disease-curing properties, some research has also shown it can help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. There are no studies that show these boosters will help treat or prevent a cold. Although it helps us maintain good immune function, however, there’s little evidence that it can prevent or substantially reduce either of these diseases. ” Common sense can help out, while we’re waiting. The tablets, developed by a second-grade teacher, contained herbs and a high dose of vitamin C.

The researchers of the study tracked the number of reports of common cold and flu symptoms among the 1990 control group of 463 students from the technical training facility, and compared them with the reports of the 1991 test group of 252 students from the same facility.

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Thus, when treating PEM in connection with chronic disease, it is necessary to address the underlying cause of malnutrition, as well as correct the associated nutrient deficits (25, 26). These changes lead to greater monocyte/macrophage tumour invasion [ 87 ] and tumour cytotoxic T-cell suppression [ 92 , 93 ]. Foods to boost the immune system, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E—that can boost immune function. More encouraging: They report to the cleverer, adaptive white blood cells known as lymphocytes.

Neutrophils engulf invading organisms, then destroy them with powerful blasts of short-lived oxygen free radicals. Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. Though I have said vitamin C is unlikely to be a dramatic cure for COVID-19, the fact that it can promote good immune function means it would be going too far to say there will be no effect. Top 10 immune system boosters, see which of these you subscribe to and tally up your own score—our experts say if you hit 35 or more, you’re pretty well protected; if less, it’s time to stock up on oranges. 23]; notably, a substudy within the main Pemba trial determined that the detrimental effect was confined to children who were iron-replete at baseline (226). In an unrelated study that was published in the Nutrients journal, researchers examined the effects of Vitamin C supplements on physical activity and respiratory tract infections during the peak of the common cold season. Here are five foods to be sure to incorporate in your diet so that you have the strongest immune system this flu season.

(50 mixture of the two main CLA isomers) was associated with an increase in plasma concentrations of IgA and IgM (46), two classes of antibodies.


Like other immune cells, NK cells’ function declines with aging. For a stronger immunity: natural ways to boost the immune system, keep up with your kids’ vaccines. Editor's Note: Several studies in animal models, as well as humans, indicate that vitamin E deficiency impairs both humoral and cell-mediated aspects of adaptive immunity, including B and T cell function (reviewed in 156). If you are beginning a new workout routine, be sure to ease yourself into it to avoid injury and any unnecessary stress. One study found that vitamin C helped prevent pneumonia and supported tetanus treatment. You can also speak to someone via online chat (3pm to 12am, 7 days a week). Evidence for this is accumulating, with recent reports of ascorbate-mediated regulation of epigenetic programming and differentiation in bone marrow stem cells and particularly in myeloid leukaemia cells containing mutations in TET2 or IDH1 [ 54 , 55 ].

To ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D, make sure you’re getting regular exposure to sunlight or eating foods rich in vitamin D like fish, eggs, dairy, or fortified foods. Boost your immune system & support immunity naturally, it takes calories (energy) to form antibodies and dispatch them to the front lines when germs invade. A different meta-analysis observed that higher vitamin C intake was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer. While some studies suggest the biological plausibility of vitamin C as an immune enhancer, human studies published to date are conflicting. Uric acid is a waste product produced by the body. Vitamin C favors the formation of prostaglandins. Studies have also shown that taking vitamin C may shorten wound healing time. Among these individuals, those who took vitamin C were about half as likely to catch a cold as those who did not take such supplements.

It’s been a long, wet winter.

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Regulatory T cells, sometimes called suppressor T cells, suppress immune responses (4). Immune system (for teens), the immune system defends the body from developing potentially harmful diseases and conditions caused by bacterial, parasitic, fungal and viral infections. This improved physical activity score may be due to Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties in fighting oxidative stress that comes from fatigue, as well as its neuroprotective properties, which influence the oxidative fuel supply in the brain for a sense of well-being. 4,15,17 These studies found that the people who had the lowest dietary intake of vitamin C had the greatest benefit. Rizzo likes LifeExtension Zinc Caps. The high ascorbate concentrations in monocytes [ 31 ] may be related to their dependency on HIF for many essential functions.

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α-Linolenic acid (ALA) is a nutritionally essential n-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid (LA) is a nutritionally essential n-6 fatty acid; dietary intake recommendations for essential fatty acids are for ALA and LA. Food network uk, increased vitamin C requirements are observed in periods of stress for immune system support. Experts recommend that adults sleep 7-9 hours per night to maintain optimum health. “Toxin” has become a buzzword in the world of natural health, but there are some habits that are clearly unhealthy. Water-soluble vitamin C is quickly excreted. There is so much vitamin C can do for the whole body, from giving your immune system a boost to lowering the risk of stroke and diabetes. This commentary first appeared in The Conversation. I practice what I preach.

So what does all this mean? IV vitamin C supplementation has effects similar to standard chemotherapy, but with very few side effects. Although vitamin C is commonly-known as a cold remedy, the results of clinical trials are mixed. Older people, and those with diseases that are characterised by inflammation, such as allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, tend to have less varied gut microbiomes. It also helps bring on the process of phagocytosis, in which certain living cells called phagocytes ingest harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dying or dead cells, as well as kill microbes. Despite the well-documented relationship between low vitamin D status and autoimmune disease, few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been conducted, and the clinical efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in autoimmune prevention and treatment remains uncertain (108). Zinc deficiency causes thymic atrophy, which leads to low numbers of T cells, and creates an imbalance in T helper cell subsets, with a shift towards Th2. The B vitamin, folate, is required as a coenzyme to mediate the transfer of one-carbon units.

There’s a reason many people call Vitamin C “the immunity vitamin”

This means it can directly donate electrons to function as an antioxidant. Aging lowers your immunity, whereas the results don’t show whether these changes produce an overall stronger or weaker immune response, they do indicate “cytomegalovirus has a really profound effect,” Davis says. At most, taking 1,000 mg of Vitamin C regularly could reduce your cold by a meager 8 percent. Vitamin C is actually helping us even during unconscious body functions. Take a 1,000 mg per day supplement to optimize your immunity and potentially lengthen your life. Vitamin A is also important to the normal function of several types of immune cells important in the innate response, including natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, and neutrophils. Studies show that low levels of vitamin C lead to problems with the immune system and other illnesses. In humans, severe vitamin C deficiency has been associated with impairments in immunity and increased susceptibility to more infections, while vitamin C supplementation seems helpful to prevent and treat infections. Oxygen radicals are unstable molecules containing oxygen that easily react with other molecules in a cell.

"If there's going to be an advantage, it's going to be very modest," Schaffner said.
If vitamin C is completely removed from the diet, a condition called scurvy develops.

May Keep Your Ticker Going Strong

When vitamin C was tested for treatment of colds in 7 separate studies, it was found to be no more effective than placebo at shortening the duration of cold symptoms. Now, let’s take a look at how Vitamin C benefits the flu. Effects shown in black font represent a reported role of HIF, TET or Jumonji demethylases, text in red indicates a reported effect of HIF, TET or Jumonji in the context of cancer and orange text indicates an effect of ascorbate on immune cells. New drugs aim to disarm the immune system’s ‘atomic bomb’ cells. While it's commonly advised to get your vitamin C intake from foods, many people turn to supplements to meet their needs. Our diets are certainly the first and best “go to” modifications we can make to increase our vitamin C levels, especially during times of stress, infections, or physical trauma such as wounds, surgery, or UV overexposure. Practically, that means that supplementing vitamin C can shorten the duration of a cold by about one day.

This oxidative effect from IV vitamin C fights cancer cells, much like chemotherapy but without serious reactions, and can even diminish traditional cancer treatment’s side effects of fatigue. However, this was in contrast with a previous report showing higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, stronger antibacterial effects and much better survival of septic mice with T-cell targeted deletion of HIF-1α [ 118 ]. What is Zinc and why do I need it? Vitamin C is mainly found in white blood cells.

It’s hugely important to support the body’s collagen production in order to to keep bones, blood vessels, and the whole body strong. Stress produces a lot of effects in the body that decreases its immune system response. Sufficient iron is critical to several immune functions, including the differentiation and proliferation of T lymphocytes and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill pathogens. It has been linked to many impressive health benefits, such as boosting antioxidant levels, lowering blood pressure, protecting against gout attacks, improving iron absorption, boosting immunity, and reducing heart disease and dementia risk. How this works. Further, a 2020 animal study found a specific gut microbe, triggered by the consumption of flavonoids found in tea, berries, and chocolate could help reduce the incidence of flu. Acute-phase proteins are a class of plasma proteins that are important in inflammation. And with a couple of exceptions — folic acid for pregnant women, for example — most healthy people do not need to use expensive supplements.

But the evidence shows taking vitamin C isn't going to much your cold very much.

Unfortunately, ever since Pauling’s claim in the 1970s, there has been little evidence to back it up. Vitamin C tablets contain anywhere between 2 and 20 times the amount of Vitamin C in an orange. But what is this vitamin, and why is it so important? Such nutrient deficiencies can result in immunosuppression and dysregulation of immune responses. Pooled data from 16 clinical trials involving 7,400 people show that taking vitamin D supplements reduces the risk of experiencing at least one respiratory infection including influenza and pneumonia by a third with positive benefits seen within 3 weeks.

One study found doing so could reduce cravings for nicotine and the amount of cigarettes smoked daily. Although people with lead toxicity appear to have low vitamin C levels, there is no strong evidence from human studies that show vitamin C can treat lead toxicity. Because these latter cell types are important regulators in autoimmune disease and graft rejections, vitamin D is suggested to have utility in preventing and treating such conditions (105). You and your child can do quite a lot to avoid catching the common cold.

It could be something as simple as a run away script or learning how to better use E-utilities, http: HIF-1 has been shown to be activated in monocytes following activation with phorbol esters [ 82 ] and pathogenic stimuli [ 83 – 86 ], even under non-hypoxic conditions. What is Vitamin C and how does it impact your immune system? This molecule is the first step in de-methylation sequence and a recognized epigenetic marker of cancer. How to boost your immune system to avoid colds and coronavirus, sleep is an excellent means of letting your body recuperate so it can perform its numerous functions. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube. Amazingly, vitamin C appeared to have the highest benefit in those with higher cardiovascular risk.

The natural age-related decline of the immune function is accompanied by an increased susceptibility to infections, a poorer response to immunization, and higher risks of developing cancers and autoimmune diseases.