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How Vitamin C Helps Immune System

The Long History Of Vitamin C: From Prevention Of The Common Cold To Potential Aid In The Treatment Of Covid

Can Vitamin C help the immune system with COVID-19? Penn State Health Coronavirus
  • 1Department of Movement Sciences and Wellbeing, University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy
  • 2Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale nelle Attività Motorie e Sportive Sport Medicine Centre, University of Pavia, Voghera, Italy
  • 3Department of Pharmacy, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy
  • 4Department of Biology, College of Science, University of Bahrain, Sakhir, Bahrain
  • 5IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy
  • 6Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
  • 7Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Service, Unit of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, ICS Maugeri IRCCS, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Healthy Lifestyle Tips For Immune Support

Living a healthy lifestyle is one of best things you can do to support your immune system. Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet is important, of course, but there are other important habits as well. Getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, and practicing proper handwashing hygiene are a few habits to incorporate into your day-to-day routine to help ward off illness and infection. We cant always avoid getting sick, but we can take certain measures to maintain our health as much as possible. Learn more about lifestyle habits that can help support your immune system.

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A Quick Tip About Vitamin C Foods

With all the emphasis on vitamin C for immune health, theres a key point to note about getting most of your intake through whole foods.

If youre trying to optimize your vitamin C intake from fresh fruits and vegetables, its best to enjoy them raw. Otherwise, you can cook them for a short period of time.

Vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning that boiling foods reduces their vitamin C content more than any other cooking method.

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Vitamin C And Neurodegenerative Disorders

Very few studies have examined the effect of vitamin C with typical antipsychotics in the treatment of schizophrenia. Oral supplementation of vitamin C with antipsychotic reverses AA levels, reduces oxidative stress, and improves BPRS score, hence both the drugs in combination can be used in the treatment of schizophrenia . The findings of another study suggest that antioxidant supplement therapy as an adjuvant therapy is useful in patients with stress-induced psychiatric disorders . There are also reports advocating beneficial effect of vitamin C in neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimers disease. Overall there is large body of evidence supporting that maintaining healthy vitamin C level can have a protective function against age related cognitive decline but avoiding vitamin C deficiency is likely to be more beneficial than taking supplements on top of normal healthy diet .

Foods That Support Immune Health

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Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy veggies like spinach and kale have vitamin C which helps support the immune system.


Eat fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel to increase your vitamin D intake.

Oysters, Red Meat and Poultry

Foods like oysters, red meat and poultry are all good sources of zinc.

Citrus Fruits

Oranges and other citrus fruits contain vitamin C for immune support.

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruits like strawberries and cantaloupe are a great source of vitamin C.

Fortified grains, juices, or dairy

Breakfast cereals, orange juice, and milk products are often fortified with vitamin D and other good-for-you ingredients to help support your immune system.

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Phagocytosis And Microbial Killing

Once neutrophils have migrated to the site of infection, they proceed to engulf the invading pathogens . Various intracellular granules are mobilized and fuse with the phagosome, emptying their arsenal of antimicrobial peptides and proteins into the phagosome . Components of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase assemble in the phagosomal membrane and generate superoxide, the first in a long line of ROS generated by neutrophils to kill pathogens. The enzyme superoxide dismutase converts superoxide to hydrogen peroxide, which can then be utilized to form the oxidant hypochlorous acid via the azurophilic granule enzyme myeloperoxidase . Hypochlorous acid can further react with amines to form secondary oxidants known as chloramines. These various neutrophil-derived oxidants have different reactivities and specificities for biological targets, with protein thiol groups being particularly susceptible.

May Reduce Your Risk Of Chronic Disease

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your bodys natural defenses .

Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system. They do so by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals.

When free radicals accumulate, they can promote a state known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases .

Studies show that consuming more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%. This helps the bodys natural defenses fight inflammation .


Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that can boost your blood antioxidant levels. This may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.

7 ).

Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in both those with and without high blood pressure.

An animal study found that taking a vitamin C supplement helped relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helped reduce blood pressure levels .

Moreover, an analysis of 29 human studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement reduced systolic blood pressure by 3.8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.5 mmHg, on average, in healthy adults.

In adults with high blood pressure, vitamin C supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 mmHg, on average .


Vitamin C supplements have been found to lower blood pressure in both healthy adults and those with high blood pressure.

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13 ).

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Support Your Immune System With Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a known antioxidant, is found in some of the healthiest foods on the planet, and seems to be good for immune health too. Eating vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in normal quantities has no apparent downside. And taking vitamin C supplements may have some positive benefits, though there is more to learn.

Whether or not supplemental vitamin C is beneficial in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 is an open question. But theres little doubt that eating a diet thats abundant in vitamin C-rich foods is good for your health pandemic or no pandemic.

Vitamin C And Heavy Metal Toxicity

OSU researcher: Vitamins help immune system fight COVID-19

Metals including iron, copper, chromium, and vanadium undergo redox cycling, while cadmium, mercury, and nickel, as well as lead deplete glutathione and protein-bound sulfhydryl groups, resulting in the production of ROS as superoxide ion, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radical. As a consequence, enhanced lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, and altered calcium and sulfhydryl homeostasis occur . Various experimental studies report the beneficial effect of vitamin C against heavy metal toxicity. Lead is considered as one of the common environmental poison in which protective role of vitamin C is extensively studied. A recent experimental study based on histopathological examination revealed the diminution of detrimental effects of chronic lead intoxication on liver, kidneys, brain and testes . In another study lead induced electrophysiological changes were inhibited in rat colon by AA administration . The beneficial effect of AA on lead concentrations in human studies is however inconclusive. A large survey comprising of 19,578 participants without prior history of lead poisoning reported that blood levels of AA are inversely related to plasma AA and recent dietary intake had no influence on blood levels. This study surmises that there may be a protective relationship between AA and lead .

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Vitamins For The Immune System

A healthy immune system requires a variety of vitamins and nutrients in order to do its job properly. Vitamins that play a role in immune function include vitamins C, D, and A,v in addition to others. The food you eat can help you get these vital contributors for immune system health. However, if you are unable to get all the vitamins you need from your everyday diet, you might want to consider taking a daily multivitamin. Centrum multivitamins contain vitamins and nutrients to help support the immune systemand your health as a whole.

There Is Such Thing As Too Much Vitamin C

“Intake of large doses of vitamin C has been associated with diarrhea and abdominal bloating,” said Dr. Mary Onwuka, a physician at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. In addition, she noted that routine supplemental intake of large doses has been associated with the formation of oxalates kidney stones, especially in men.

You should always talk to your doctor before taking supplements to avoid these side effects. Like many vitamins, optimal vitamin C dosage can be obtained with a healthy diet.

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Vitamin C Reduces Incidence Of Colds

While the evidence demonstrating the ability of vitamin C to reduce the duration and the severity of colds is clear, the question of whether vitamin Csupplementation could also reduce the incidence of colds has been fiercely debated.16 Newerstudies using higher doses of vitamin C show that vitamin C can, in fact, reduce the incidence of colds.

Studies using 1,000 mg or more have shown that vitamin C reduces cold incidence by a remarkable 50% among peopleundergoing heavy stress, such as soldiers and athletes.4,15,17 These studies found that the people who had the lowest dietary intake of vitaminC had the greatest benefit.

In 2014, a study of vitamin C published in the journal Nutrients provided definitive evidence that vitamin C supplementation canreduce the incidence of the common cold in otherwise healthy people with chronic stress or obesity.6 The study included 18- to 35-year-old menwho had vitamin C levels of less than 45 micromol/L . The study lastedeight weeks, and scientists recorded scores on a physical activity scale and tracked the occurrence of cold episodes.

During the study, 85% of placebo recipients experienced a cold compared with just 47% of supplemented subjects, astatistically significant difference and a risk reduction of 45%.6

Vitamin C: Why You Need It And How To Get Enough Of It

Immunity Boost Supplement with Elderberry, Vitamin A ...

The surprising benefits it has for immunity, stress, heart health and more.

Vitamin C can help support your immune system and has many other benefits.

Whether you’re looking to improve your overall health or boost your immune system, vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients you need to stay healthy and it’s a go-to for many people when they think they are getting sick. People have sworn by it for ages and for good reason. Health experts, nutritionists and science all agree that not only is it a vital nutrient but it can help prevent infections and help you get better when you are already sick.

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for immune health. It works by helping your body heal from and fight off infections, and can help keep you from getting sick and support you when you are sick. But did you know your body needs vitamin C for a ton of other things?

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The Nutrient Appears To Have Modest Prevention Power

Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock

Vitamin C is often touted as a natural cold remedy. The nutrient is featured in supplements promising to boost the immune system. Nobel laureate Dr. Linus Pauling famously claimed that taking large doses of vitamin C helps thwart a cold. Is there something to these claims? “The data show that vitamin C is only marginally beneficial when it comes to the common cold,” says Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

/5here Is How You Should Have Vitamin C

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been recommended to add more Vitamin C rich foods to the diet to boost the immune health. According to a study, this water-soluble vitamin can help to cut down the risk of contagion and even fight viral infection. But loading on this nutrient can also lead to some unwanted side effects. To reap maximum benefits, everything including healthy and nutritious food should be consumed in moderation. Here is how much vitamin C you need to consume in a day.

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Vitamin C Might Help Your Immune System

“There is some limited evidence that extra-high doses of vitamin C boost the immune system and help fight off the common cold and other types of infections,” says Ben Tanner, a physician assistant and nutrition expert. “The evidence is pretty weak, but the benefits of taking some extra vitamin C when you are sick probably outweigh any risks, for almost everyone.”

Note: An extra-high dose of vitamin C is somewhere around 200 mg.

A 2017 paper notes that some cells in the immune system require vitamin C to do their jobs, meaning a high supply about 100 to 200 mg a day of vitamin C can enhance immune system functioning.

Additionally, vitamin C deficiency can increase your risk of becoming susceptible to some bacteria and viruses. That said, the Mayo Clinic stresses there is no evidence that vitamin C prevents the common cold.

Oral Supplementation Of Vitamin C For The Prevention Of Covid

The Truth About Vitamin C | WebMD

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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Do You Need To Supplement

Currently, no evidence supports the use of oral vitamin C supplements to prevent COVID-19.

Vitamin C may help shorten the duration and severity of colds caused by other viruses, but this is no guarantee that it will have the same effect on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Additionally, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It dissolves in water, meaning that excess amounts arent stored in your body but instead eliminated through your urine. Taking more vitamin C does not mean that your body is absorbing more .

High dose vitamin C supplements may even cause diarrhea, as they can signal your body to pull water out of the cells and into your digestive tract .

Moreover, although high dose vitamin C appears promising for COVID-19 treatment, these doses were exceptionally high and given via IV not taken orally. Additionally, it was only given in cases severe enough to require hospitalization.

Your best bet is to eat a diet thats full of a variety of fruits and vegetables, which naturally provide all the vitamin C a healthy person needs along with many other nutrients and antioxidants.

Vitamin C And Immunity: Details From Laboratory Studies

The aging of the immune system can leave older individuals vulnerable to infection and disease that wouldnt be an issue foryounger people.20 Laboratory studies indicate that vitamin C can restore an aging immune system to that of younger individuals.

An abundance of laboratory studies show that vitamin C can boost immune function, particularly in older people. One particular study demonstrates thisperfectly. White blood cells from elderly people typically perform poorly in response to stimulation by foreign material . However, a studypublished in the International Journal of Immunopharmacology showed that incubating these white blood cells overnight in a solution enriched withvitamin C restored the performance levels of these cells to that of normal cells from younger people.8

In fact, vitamin C produces beneficial effects on virtually all of the immune systems cells.

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Howto Grocery Shop To Boost Your Immunity

A simple rule can help youwhen choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmersmarket: The more colorful the fruits and vegetables are, the better.

Try to eat a wide variety of foods, and aim to eat fruit and vegetables from every color of the rainbow, Zumpano says. Your plate will be more enticing to look at, and you will ensure that youre getting as many health-boosting vitamins and nutrients as possible.

Its also important to knowthat you build a strong immune system by maintaining healthy eating habitsover time. You cant eat four oranges at breakfast and expect to be protectedthat day against catching a cold.

Vitamin C And Cancer Therapy

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Vitamin C may help treat cancer, though experts have not confirmed this.

As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects the body from oxidative stress, which can occur when ROS levels are high. Oxidative stress can lead to cell damage and may play a role in some cancers.

A found that taking high doses of vitamin C may slow the growth of some types of cancerous tissue. The paper suggests that vitamin C could, one day, become a new treatment for colorectal cancer.

Also, the authors of a suggest that vitamin C might work well alongside other treatments to benefit people with cancer.

The note that some alternative therapists already use intravenous vitamin C when treating cancer, fatigue, and infections. However, they note that more research is necessary.

Intravenous vitamin C

2,000 mg per day .

Taking too much vitamin C is unlikely to cause any significant problems, but if a person consumes more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day, they will not absorb it all. This may lead to diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort.

People are unlikely to consume too much through their diet, and their bodies cannot store it. However, having a high intake through supplements may result in kidney stones.

This may also increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in females after menopause, but there is not enough evidence to confirm this.

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