Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and an essential micronutrient for the immune system. It acts as a co-factor, which our immune system requires to catalyse enzyme reactions for both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Vitamin C is required for our immune system to work efficiently in several different ways by:
- Supporting the skin (epithelial cell) as a barrier preventing pathogens from entering the body.
- Protecting against environmental oxidative stress by boosting antioxidant activity in the skin
- Boosting neutrophil reactions (white blood cells) for phagocytosis of pathogens and microbes.
- Promoting apoptosis or programmed cell death and clearing of all neutralized pathogens preventing tissue damage.
- Amplifying B and T cell (other white blood cells) proliferation by gene regulation.
From the days of scurvy, we know that deficiency of vitamin C leads to an impaired immune system and increased infections. But having an infections means that you require more vitamin C due to the increase in inflammation and metabolic demand. At Tonic, we know that supplementing with vitamin C can prevent and treat infections, so we include this in our natural winter immunity drink. Even if you are already infected, supplementing with higher amounts of vitamin C can reduce the severity of the cold.
Written by Toral Shah. Toral Shah a Nutritional Scientist (MSc Nutr Med). She specialises in optimising health and disease prevention through improving food, diet and lifestyle. She uses evidence-based science knowledge along with lifestyle medicine and cooking skills to help support others to lead a healthier life by eating delicious and nutritious food.