Vitamin C Immune System Benefits: How Does It Help Support Your Immune System? †

Vitamin C Immune System Benefits

Quick Health Scoop

  • As an essential nutrient, vitamin C cannot be produced in the body
  • Vitamin C plays a role in supporting a healthy immune system
  • Vitamin C delivers powerful antioxidant properties

Since a well-functioning immune system plays a critical role in your well-being, you need to provide your body with the right nutrients to stay healthy. If you’re looking to support your immune system all year, then you might think about vitamin C as well. But what is vitamin C and where can you find it? More importantly, how does vitamin C help support your immune system? Read on to discover how you can put “the immune support  vitamin” to help you.

What is Vitamin C and How Can I Get It?

As a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C (a.k.a. L-ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient, which means your body can’t produce it. Fortunately, you can obtain what you need through your diet and, if needed, supplementation. While citrus foods like oranges and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, you can also find it in a variety of other fruits and vegetables1, such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green and red bell peppers
  • Kiwifruit
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

New research of US population data shows that over 45% of Americans are not meeting their vitamin C needs through food alone.2  Those who smoke have higher vitamin C requirements to help counteract the oxidative stress of smoking and smokers generally have lower concentrations of vitamin C. If you don’t regularly eat the foods above, you may not be getting the Vitamin C your body needs to stay healthy. Consider adding a Vitamin C supplement to meet your daily nutrient needs.

Learn More: How Much Vitamin C Should I Take?

How Does Vitamin C Help Support the Immune System?

Vitamin C plays several key roles in the body, both as an antioxidant and as an enzyme co-factor, assisting in reactions such as making collagen and carnitine. Vitamin C also helps in iron absorption in the GI tract.While this key nutrient plays a variety of roles in the body,  vitamin C is best known for its role in helping to support your immune system.

For starters, vitamin C helps support function of immune cells.As an antioxidant, vitamin C delivers antioxidant activity and helps to support immune cells by neutralizing free radicals.3

Learn More: Can You Take Vitamin C During Pregnancy?

How Does Vitamin C Compare to Other Immune-Supporting Nutrients?

While vitamin C is important when it comes to helping to support your immune system, other nutrients also play valuable roles in supporting a healthy immune system. Take a look at how these other nutrients help support your immune system.

  • Vitamin A: This fat-soluble vitamin comes from animal sources in the form of retinol and fruits and vegetables in the form of carotenoids, like beta-carotene. Carotenoids are converted to active vitamin A in the body. Recognized for its role in the immune system, vitamin A helps support the immune system.
  • Vitamin D: Nearly all immune system cells have vitamin D receptors that allow this key nutrient to support a healthy immune response. 
  • Zinc: This mighty mineral helps with many processes in the body, including the immune system. Zinc helps support a healthy immune system.

The Bottom Line

To sum it all up, vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in supporting your healthy immune system. If you’re not sure whether you’re getting enough vitamin C, consider taking a vitamin C supplement to fill the nutrient gap.

Learn More: Vitamin D Immune System Benefits

 

This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References:

1 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System.” 2018. Accessed on: August 27, 2020. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/how-vitamin-c-supports-a-healthy-immune-system 

2 Blumberg, J. B., et al. "Impact of Frequency of Multi-Vitamin/Multi-Mineral Supplement Intake on Nutritional Adequacy and Nutrient Deficiencies in U.S. Adults." Nutrients 9.8 (2017)

3 National Institutes of health. “Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” 2019. Accessed on: August 27, 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/