Vitamin C for Immune Health
The body’s first line of defense, the physical barrier created by the skin, relies on vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, an important type of connective tissue.** Collagen creates the structural framework of the skin to promote skin integrity, helping to effectively keep unwanted substances from entering the body.
Vitamin C’s important role in immune health does not stop at the surface.** During the initial stages of the immune response, white blood cells of the innate immune system start the inflammatory response as one means of dealing with unwelcomed visitors. In a state of inflammation, an abundance of free radicals can be produced.
Free radicals are unstable compounds that can interfere with a normal cell’s ability to function optimally. Free radicals cannot differentiate between your own healthy cells and the target of your immune system so they can end up damaging your own cells. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals.** It also helps to regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E to their active state to maintain antioxidant support.**
WHITE BLOOD CELL SUPPORT
In addition to supporting skin integrity and antioxidant health, vitamin C is essential for the optimal functioning of white blood cells.** During an immune response, white blood cells go through a process of rapid division and multiplication. Vitamin C supports the production of the important B and T cells of the adaptive immune response.** It also helps special types of cells of the innate immune system called phagocytes do their job, engulfing unwanted compounds.**
What is the Immune System?
Every day, your body is bombarded by foreign substances from the outside world. Credit card pin pads, bathroom faucets, cell phones, literally everything you touch is covered in tiny microorganisms. Not all microorganisms are bad, in fact there are trillions of bacteria found in and on the human body which cause no harm, or in some cases are even beneficial to human health.
However, there are also less favorable microorganisms found in the environment. The main function of your immune system is to protect you from external threats and keep you healthy.
Think of your immune system as your body’s security team, trained to recognize and remove any threats while protecting your body’s peaceful residents.
The first line of defense is to restrict the entry of unwanted foreign materials. The skin creates an excellent physical barrier but unwanted guests may still be inhaled or ingested. The acidity of stomach acid, mucosal membranes, and the presence of antibodies in saliva and tears all further help to prevent the entry of these substances into the body.
FAQ: Do all immune support supplements work the same way?
Because the immune system is such a complex system, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to supporting immune health. The various different types of white blood cells, immune proteins, and tissues and organs all have different nutrient requirements. Taking a single nutrient for immune health may assist in supporting one of these aspects of immune health, but if you are lacking other nutrients in your diet, then you may be falling short in getting total immune support.**
FAQ: Is the immune system stronger in the summer?
The immune system works year-round to keep you healthy no matter what the season. Depending on location and lifestyle factors, vitamin D status may be higher in the summer to better support certain aspects of immune health.** Winter weather conditions such as dry air may also affect immune health. It is still important to support your immune health every day throughout the year for optimal functioning.
FAQ: How can you boost your immune system?
The immune system should not be “boosted” beyond normal, optimal functioning. In fact, many autoimmune diseases are characterized by an overactive immune system that starts attacking its own cells. There are however lifestyle changes that you can make to help support normal functioning of the immune system. These include getting adequate sleep, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, eating a balanced diet and getting adequate amounts of immune supporting nutrients.
FAQ: Where is the immune system?
The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, tissues and proteins found throughout the body. It includes the thymus, spleen, bone marrow, skin, tonsils and Peyer’s patches in the intestines. The lymph system allows white blood cells of the immune system to patrol the entire body looking for foreign invaders.