In our last post, we briefly discussed the measures our team is taking to help our patients address the coronavirus, COVID-19. In that post, we mentioned that we highly recommend every person be taking Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc, and that we would discuss these in more detail in later posts.
Well, as promised, today we are going to discuss…
Our Immune Systems and Vitamin C
In order to understand how vitamin C helps our bodies, you have to first have a little bit of understanding about the immune system in general.
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The immune system:
- is the system that protects the body against infection and disease.
- is composed of many different types of cells, tissues and organs, each of which have a specialized role in defending the body.
- is broken into two types of immunity: innate and adaptive
- innate immunity is the body’s first line of defense. Its reaction is immediate and non-specific (meaning it reacts the same no matter the illness), and it includes barriers – like our skin and mucous membranes – and the activation of cells involved in our preexisting protection mechanisms.
- adaptive or acquired immunity is the body’s second line of defense and its reaction takes time to fully develop. It is more specific, and it’s the type of immunity that the body learns throughout life as it is exposed to pathogens. This is the type of immunity that involves the antigens and antibodies that we all hear about.
Nutritional status can directly affect the actions and abilities of the immune system. Poor nutritional status can increase the risk of infection and illness. In fact, many experts say that malnutrition is actually the number one cause of immunodeficiency in the world. While malnutrition involves many different vitamins, minerals, and other essential substances our bodies need to perform at their best, today, we are going to specifically discuss Vitamin C. Others will most likely be discussed in future posts.
- is a water – soluble vitamin that the body needs to perform its functions.
- is one of the safest and most effective nutrients.
- can only be provided to the body through food and supplementation. The body cannot make vitamin C on its own.
- supports immune function.
- deficiency can increase the risk of becoming ill.
How does Vitamin C help the immune system, and why is it important for you to be taking it?
- It increases the production of white blood cells – the cells the body uses to fight off illness. It also protects those white blood cells from free radicals.
- It can help increase the strength of the skin barriers which is one of the body’s first lines of defense in the innate immune system.
- It is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants can prevent or slow damage to healthy cells (including those white blood cells in #1) caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules the body produces in response to environmental pressures or illness. This could be a whole topic on its own!
- It can help decrease inflammation.
Here at Heart and Soul, we recommend all patients take 2,000 mg of Vitamin C twice a day. If you are feeling ill, we recommend increasing that as much as possible without causing loose stool.
Vitamin C supplements are available for purchase from our front desk staff, from Fullscripts through our website or at your local pharmacy. We do recommend that you purchase high quality supplements. We carry two different powder options (which we prefer because absorption is better than if taken in pill form).
We also offer nutritional IV therapies with high doses of Vitamin C. These are great for preventative options either weekly or monthly, or they are great for a boost when feeling ill.
Please contact our office for more information or to schedule an IV appointment.