How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) lists eating a healthy diet as the first step to supporting a healthy immune system. With the current global health crisis affecting the way all of us go about our daily lives, supporting a healthy immune system has arguably never been more important.
If you’ve looked into ways to boost your immune system, you’ve probably seen one nutrient mentioned over and over — vitamin C.
While many vitamins are essential to your body’s functions, vitamin C, found in abundance in Texas red grapefruits, is one of the most powerful nutrients you can incorporate into your diet to help keep yourself healthy and your immune system strong.
Vitamin C: One Part of a Complex Immune System
According to HSPH, there are a handful of nutrients that are essential to the proper functioning of your immune system: vitamin C, vitamin D, protein, iron, selenium, and zinc.
While none of these nutrients can fight off illnesses on their own, a diet that includes the recommended amounts of each can help keep your immune system strong. Taking multivitamins and eating nutrient-rich foods like Texas Rio Red grapefruit can help ensure that you receive your daily required levels of these essential components.
How Vitamin C Supports Immune Functions
While vitamin C alone can’t be used to treat most illnesses, it does support some key functions of the immune system, making it an essential component for your body to function properly. Because your body doesn’t produce vitamin C, you need to consume outside sources to obtain the recommended amount of this vital nutrient.
First, vitamin C helps boost the production and function of certain types of white blood cells. White blood cells are a key part of the body’s defenses against bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses. Vitamin C also assists in the production of important antibodies that neutralize invasive microbes. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C also help protect white blood cells from some toxic byproducts of your body’s immune response.
However, the immune support offered by vitamin C extends far beyond your white blood cells alone. Vitamin C also plays a key role in the production of collagen, which is central to the proper healing of a wound.
Vitamin C is also expended as a part of your body’s stress response, a key function of life — especially during a global pandemic.
Vitamin C and Cold Defense
There have been some promising studies into the possible use of vitamin C to prevent colds. According to HSPH, one study showed that taking a little over twice the adult recommended daily amount of vitamin C reduced the likelihood of catching a cold amongst highly active people by 50%.
While that result might not seem like much for less active individuals, another study showed that the same intake levels of vitamin C, 200 mg, reduced the length of colds for some by a day. One day may not seem like much, but that one day can add up when you consider how many people catch a cold every year.
Plus, with COVID-19 racking the country, catching the common cold this year could have a much more serious impact on your life.