Many people are concerned with how to boost and protect their immune systems in various ways, and Vitamin C is sometimes named in those discussions. Here’s a look at what medical science has to say on the subject.
Diet And Your Immune System
Diet affects your immune system overall, since many nutrients are required for it to function. The ways that our immune functions diet, and health interact are complex. However, some concepts are already understood.
- Vitamin C deficiency can affect your immune response;
- Vitamin C can reduce inflammation in the body, which is a known cause of disease;
- Some studies show that optimizing Vitamin C intake helps to reduce the risk of infection by boosting immune function;
- It supports cellular functions, including protection against oxidative stress;
- It helps the body’s cells kill bacteria and microbes;
- It aids the white blood cells which fight against infections.
Along with Vitamin C, the body needs Vitamins A, D, E, B6, and B12, along with folate, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium. These micronutrients often work together to produce the body’s immune responses.
Some studies have found that when people live in situations or environments where there is stress, infection, or pollution, the body’s stores of micronutrients become depleted. That means when your immune system is working overtime, your body needs them even more.
One review notes, “Although contradictory data exist, available evidence indicates that supplementation with multiple micronutrients with immune-supporting roles may modulate immune function and reduce the risk of infection. Micronutrients with the strongest evidence for immune support are vitamins C and D and zinc. Better design of human clinical studies addressing dosage and combinations of micronutrients in different populations are required to substantiate the benefits of micronutrient supplementation against infection.”
Other studies indicate that eating whole foods such as Vitamin-C rich citrus fruits is preferable to supplements. Whole foods contain other nutrients, and fibre, which also benefit the body.
The immune system is complicated, and a number of factors other than diet go into its support and maintenance. Knowing the importance of Vitamin C and other nutrients is just another way to help make better choices every day that support immune health.