From an early age, we are encouraged to eat Vitamin C rich foods (otherwise known as Ascorbic Acid) because it is commonly known that it has various benefits. This is why many ‘immune system’ targeting supplements contain Vitamin C among others.
Vitamin C is vital for healing, in fact, an extreme lack of Vitamin C can lead to scurvy or immunity impairment. Scurvy presents itself as fatigue, weakness, irritability, severe joint pain, loss of teeth, usually blue or red spots on the skin, and easily bruised skin.
Vitamin C can be found in many everyday foods:
- Red and green peppers
- Oranges and orange juice
- Brussel sprouts
- Kakadu plums (mainly found in Australia)
Praised as a powerful anti-oxidant, Vitamin C is also known to be great for the skin and immune function. Skincare products are widely known the use Vitamin C for its ability to protect the skin from outside oxidative stress, in other words, it helps block any environmental oxidants from entering the body through the skin. Examples of these are ultraviolet radiation and air pollution.
Because the body cannot produce or store Vitamin C itself, it’s important to consume at least 40mg per day if aged 19-64. Some find this simple with a healthy, balanced diet but many find supplements the best way to be certain of their daily intake. It is not advised to take excessive amounts of Vitamin C as this can have diverse effects on your system, such as stomach cramps, leaky gut, and excess gas.
Vitamin C is imperative for the best cell and tissue levels, protecting organs from pathogens and has been proven to prevent systemic and respiratory infections. It does this by supporting cellular functions of the immune system, directing immune cells to the site of infection, and defend these cells from free radicals.
Many studies have previously been conducted to see how Vitamin C can reduce the likelihood of contracting a common cold, results showed that the duration of the cold can be reduced by 8% in adults and 14% in children, this was in those given a dose of 200mg per day. No research supports the prevention of contracting the cold in the first instance for the general population, but further studies showed it can reduce it in those under extreme physical stress, for example, marathon runners and military.
So, essentially, Vitamin C may not necessarily ‘boost’ your immune function, but it has preventative qualities when taken daily in the correct quantities.