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HomeExclusiveDoes Vitamin C Strengthen Your Immune System

Does Vitamin C Strengthen Your Immune System

What This Means For You

How to boost your immune system, amid coronavirus pandemic

If you’re looking to support your immune system, make sure that you are choosing 100% orange juice and not a blend or drink made with added sugars. 100% orange juice contains zero added sugars. Enjoy a glass with your morning breakfast, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or even make ice pops for a refreshing treat.

Vitamin C Glutathione And Whey Protein

Glutathione is the bodys most important antioxidant. Depletion of glutathione levels through stress and aging has been found to increase the risk of chronic diseases and exacerbate poor immune function. In order to support optimal immunity, the body needs adequate glutathione. This can be accomplished by increasing vitamin C and whey protein in the diet.

Vitamin C is critical for helping the body maintain glutathione levels, protecting the body from illness. Taking vitamin C supplements has been found to increase levels of glutathione in the blood. One study found that 500 mg of vitamin C supplements increased glutathione by 47% in red blood cells.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. It is believed that neutralizes free radicals before glutathione, protecting levels of the bodys most important antioxidants. Vitamin C may also help regenerate glutathione, by helping it return to its active form once it has fought off a free radical.

What does this have to do with whey? Whey protein contains the amino acids cysteine and glutamine, precursors to glutathione. Glutathione supplements have not been found to be particularly efficient, so instead taking whey in combination with vitamin C may be the best way to increase glutathione and support immune health.

This Is How You Strengthen Your Bodys Defense With Vitamin C

Contrary to other mammals, human beings cannot produce vitamin C themselves and need to get it through their diet. Citrus fruits contain a lot of vitamin C, but onions, bell peppers or broccoli also have quite a bit of it. Therefore, when you are filling your children’s Christmas stockings, apart from the delicious chocolate, think of vitamin C-rich tangerines and oranges!

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for healthy adult men is 110 mg and 95 mg for women. A 40% higher dose is recommended for smokers because of higher metabolic losses of vitamin C. Smoking liberates more free radicals into the blood, which must be neutralized before they can inflict damage to the vascular walls.

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Oral Supplementation And Side Effects

Vitamin C has an excellent safety profile, primarily due to its high water solubility and rapid clearance of excess levels by the kidneys . Although it is not possible to establish a UL for vitamin C, values of 1,0002,000 mg/day have been suggested as prudent limits by some countries, based on a potential risk of osmotic diarrhea and related gastrointestinal distress in some individuals at higher doses .

Since vitamin C is partially converted to oxalate and excreted in the urine, high doses of vitamin C could be associated with calcium oxalate stone formation . Ferraro et al. studied 156,735 women and 40,536 men, who reported episodes of kidney stones during an average follow-up of 11.311.7 years. The authors signicantly correlated the total vitamin C intake with a higher risk of incident kidney stones in men, but not in women. However, it is important to outline that this study had limitations to be considered. The presence of confounding factors were not taken into account during the follow-up, and the authors assessed vitamin C intake only through a questionnaire and with very long time intervals .

Recommended Daily Intake Of Vitamin C

8 foods and vitamins to boost your immune system  The Citizen

The Food and Nutrition Board established the Dietary Reference Intakes, which provides you with the recommended daily values for all the nutrients, including vitamin C. The Recommended Dietary Allowances should meet the daily requirements of most healthy people. RDAs for vitamin C are different depending on age and sex.

No matter whether you are taking vitamin C pills or not, RDAs for this nutrient are as follows:

  • from birth to 6 months 40 mg
  • from 7 to 12 months 50 mg
  • from 1 to 3 years 15 mg
  • from 4 to 8 years 25 mg
  • from 9 to 13 years 45 mg
  • from 14 to 18 years 75 mg and 65 mg
  • 19+ years 90 mg and 75 mg

Pregnant teens aged 14-18 should increase their ascorbic acid dosage to 80 mg, while pregnant women aged 19 and older are recommended to have 85 mg/day of this vitamin. Also, breastfeeding women need more vitamin C. Those aged 14-18 need 115 mg per day, while women who are 19 and older require 120 mg per day. Its also important to note that smokers should take 35 mg/day more vitamin C than people who dont smoke.

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Improve Immunity With Herbs And Supplements

Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to “support immunity” or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease. Demonstrating whether an herb or any substance, for that matter can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don’t know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity.

Increase Immunity The Healthy Way

Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body immune cells or others is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who engage in “blood doping” pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance run the risk of strokes.

Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. Which cells should you boost, and to what number? So far, scientists do not know the answer. What is known is that the body is continually generating immune cells. Certainly, it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis some before they see any action, some after the battle is won. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.

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Be Wary Of Hype And Headlines

While vitamin C supplements pose little risk to consumers, other so-called “immune-boosting” products could be harmful.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have already issued warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent products that promise to cure, treat or prevent the viral infection. “These warning letters are just the first step,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a news release. “We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”

Note that no evidence suggests that other so-called immune-boosting supplements such as zinc, green tea or echinacea help to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections, Dr. Mark Mulligan, division director of the infectious diseases and vaccine center at NYU Langone Medical Center, told New York Times Parenting. “I do not recommend spending money on supplements for this purpose,” Mulligan said.

“The medical profession still doesn’t know exactly how to influence the immune system, despite what supplement products may claim,” Julie Stefanski, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, told The Washington Post.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Mar. 10 to include information about the Vitamin C infusion trial being conducted in China.

Why Daily Vitamin C Is Good For Your Immune System

How to improve your immune system with vitamins amid COVID-19 pandemic
Summary

Vitamin C may be most commonly associated with oranges, but there is much more to the vitamin C story. Heres what you need to know about vitamin C and what it does for your immune system.

Worried about getting a cold or the flu? For many of us, the knee-jerk action is to take a big dose of daily vitamin C. For many years, C has been the vitamin with the biggest marketing budget . Now with many of us trying to figure out how to eat to best support our immune systems, lets separate fact from speculation. Can vitamin C really help to prevent colds, flus, and other viral infections? How does vitamin C work in the immune system, and is it worth considering taking a daily vitamin C supplement? And if so, which ones are best?

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Vitamin C And Immune System Regulation

Besides an extensive range of biochemical pathways in which vitamin C is involved, it also participates in the response of the innate and adaptive immune system . The intracellular content of vitamin C in immune cells depends on the plasma availability. In healthy adults the content of vitamin C in leukocytes can be saturated with an intake of at least 100 mg of vitamin C per day, through foods, obtaining a concentration of about 3.5, 3, and 1.5 mmol/L, respectively, in lymphocytes, monocytes and neutrophils . Leukocytes absorption of vitamin C from the blood is very efficient, through SVCT proteins , resulting in an intracellular content which is 50 to 100 times greater than the plasma concentration . As an effective antioxidant, vitamin C contributes to protecting neutrophils from oxidative stress during the early stages of an immune response, when neutrophils activate phagocytosis and produce reactive oxygen species to destroy antigens . Once the phagocytic capacity is exhausted and neutrophils start to die, vitamin C seems to regulate the process in favor of apoptosis, through the activation of a caspase-dependent cascade, inhibiting the transition to necrosis, and resulting in a more efficient resolution of inflammation .

These Are The Tasks That Vitamin D Performs In Your Immune System

Vitamin D is indispensable not only for healthy bones, but also for having a strong immune system. In various processes, it activates our immune system, and performs key functions in controlling it. Through its modulating effect, vitamin D protects the body from misguided attacks perpetrated by its own immune system, thereby contributing to lower the risk for autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation. If you suffer from vitamin D deficiency, your T cells and other antibodies are not sufficiently activated the germs in our blood and tissues are not detected very well and cannot be eliminated. When our vitamin D reservoir is slowly depleted at the end of the year, this weakens our immune system and we become more prone to get sick and catch the flu.

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How Does Citrus Support Immune Health

In order to stay healthy, a functioning immune system is key. While some factors of our immune health are out of our control, there are some steps we can take to support it, like drinking citrus fruit juice.

One 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice contains more than twice the daily recommended value of vitamin C.

Vitamin C deficiency can impair immunity and make a person more susceptible to infections. However, vitamin C is not the only shining star nutrient in 100% orange juicethe beverage also contains folate, which plays a role in the function of many types of immune cells.

In addition to micronutrients, 100% citrus fruit juices contain polyphenolic flavonoid compounds natural compounds that are believed to support the immune system.

The main polyphenol in orange juice is hesperidin but others, such as narirutin and naringin, are noteworthy as well. Research shows that all three compounds are anti-inflammatory. Since uncontrolled inflammation can cause damage to tissues and lead to illness, including anti-inflammatory components in your diet may offer some benefit.

Melissa Azzaro, RD, a registered dietitian and the author of “A Balanced Approach to PCOS,” tells Verywell that the results of the new study reiterate why including certain foods in our diets is important for supporting our immune health.

While many people take vitamin C supplements to support their immune system, there are certain components in food that just cannot be reproduced in a pill.

How Can I Support My Immune System

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Your immune system is more complex than just packing in some extra vitamin C into your diet, explains UT Health Austin registered dietitian Krystle Zuniga, PhD, RD, LD. You need to focus on the foundation that supports your immune system every day, and that foundation is made up of good nutrition, moderate exercise, stress management, and getting enough sleep. By maintaining this foundation, you can support your immune system functioning optimally, and a strong immune system is your best defense against infection and illness. Your immune system can become weakened through poor diet quality, lack of exercise, stress, and inadequate sleep.

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Boosts Production Of White Blood Cells

Bone marrow helps create white blood cells, which fight off disease and infection. The most important kinds of white blood cells are phagocytes and lymphocytes. Phagocytes kill foreign bodies such as viruses, while lymphocytes help produce antibodies.

Vitamin C boosts the production of these white blood cells and helps them function more effectively. It also protects the white blood cells as they flow through the body, fighting off free radicals and protecting your body from infection.

Where To Go For Help If You’re Feeling Anxious

Fortunately, if you are feeling stressed or worried about COVID-19, help is available. Speak to your GP or contact any of these organisations:

  • Beyond Blue offers mental-health counselling 24 hours a day on 1300 22 4636. You can also speak to someone via online chat .
  • Children and young adults can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 to speak with a counsellor, 24 hours a day. Online chat is also available 24/7.
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 to speak with a trained mental health supporter, 24 hours a day. Online chat is available between 7pm and midnight , 7 days a week. You can also text 0477 13 11 14 between 6pm and midnight , 7 days a week.

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Neutrophil Apoptosis And Clearance

Following microbial phagocytosis and killing, neutrophils undergo a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis . This process facilitates subsequent phagocytosis and clearance of the spent neutrophils from sites of inflammation by macrophages, thus supporting resolution of inflammation and preventing excessive tissue damage . Caspases are key effector enzymes in the apoptotic process, culminating in phosphatidyl serine exposure, thus marking the cells for uptake and clearance by macrophages . Interestingly, caspases are thiol-dependent enzymes, making them very sensitive to inactivation by ROS generated by activated neutrophils . Thus, vitamin C may be expected to protect the oxidant-sensitive caspase-dependent apoptotic process following activation of neutrophils. In support of this premise, in vitro studies have shown that loading human neutrophils with vitamin C can enhance Escherichia coli-mediated apoptosis of the neutrophils . Peritoneal neutrophils isolated from vitamin C-deficient Gulo mice exhibited attenuated apoptosis , and instead underwent necrotic cell death . These vitamin C-deficient neutrophils were not phagocytosed by macrophages in vitro, and persisted at inflammatory loci in vivo . Furthermore, administration of vitamin C to septic animals decreased the numbers of neutrophils in the lungs of these animals .

Oral Supplementation Of Vitamin C For The Prevention Of Covid

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COVID-19 is a new, worldwide recognized form of viral pneumonia, caused by SARS-CoV2 infection . The symptomatology often begins within 2 weeks from contagion and mainly includes fever, fatigue, cough, and shortness of breath . Current knowledge suggests that while the majority of infected subjects exhibit mild symptoms or can be asymptomatic, about 5% may develop pneumonia, ARDS and multi-organ dysfunction leading to death .

It is unquestionable that an optimal nutritional status effectively reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, improving the immune system regulation . However, no data are currently available on the regular use of high doses of oral vitamin C to reduce the risk of infection by SARS-CoV2 in a healthy general population and further studies are needed to explore the role of vitamin C in prevention of COVID-19 . For heavily stressed subjects , specific data are not currently reported regarding the incidence, prevalence, or natural history of disease related to COVID-19 , despite these subjects potentially high risk of exposure to this virus . Furthermore, scientific opinions have not been expressed regarding the use of oral vitamin C to prevent SARS-CoV2 infection in extreme exercisers. However, a vitamin C supplementation may be effective for improving the health status of patients considered at high risk of viral infections .

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Vitamin C And Infection

A major symptom of the vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy is the marked susceptibility to infections, particularly of the respiratory tract, with pneumonia being one of the most frequent complications of scurvy and a major cause of death . Patients with acute respiratory infections, such as pulmonary tuberculosis and pneumonia, have decreased plasma vitamin C concentrations relative to control subjects . Administration of vitamin C to patients with acute respiratory infections returns their plasma vitamin C levels to normal and ameliorates the severity of the respiratory symptoms . Cases of acute lung infections have shown rapid clearance of chest X-rays following administration of intravenous vitamin C . This vitamin C-dependent clearance of neutrophils from infected lungs could conceivably be due to enhanced apoptosis and subsequent phagocytosis and clearance of the spent neutrophils by macrophages . Pre-clinical studies of animals with sepsis-induced lung injury have indicated that vitamin C administration can increase alveolar fluid clearance, enhance bronchoalveolar epithelial barrier function, and attenuate sequestration of neutrophils , all essential factors for normal lung function.

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