Vitamin C offers the body a myriad of benefits that help promote a well-functioning immune system. While this is not uncommon knowledge; what is lesser known is the how behind the supplement’s benefits. Let us break down the ways in which Vitamin C supports the immune system.
Vitamin C supports cellular immune response
The body responds to pathogens in two ways: antibody immune response and cellular immune response. The cellular response includes the activation of macrophages, a type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills microorganisms, removes dead cells, and stimulates the action of other immune system cells, as well as antigen-specific T-lymphocytes (or T-cells) that attack anything that is perceived as a foreign agent. Vitamin C boosts the strength of these defensive cells, helping them better fight threats.
Vitamin C enhances cytokine production by white blood cells
Cytokines are communication proteins that transmit information to other cells. By influencing the production and expression of these cells, Vitamin C helps them better respond to and communicate threats to their environment (the immune system).
Vitamin C helps the body produce Interferons
Interferons are signaling proteins that are created and released by cells when the presence of pathogens is detected. Their release causes nearby cells to heighten their anti-viral defenses.
Vitamin C enhances the function of phagocytes
Phagocytes are cells that can engulf and absorb bacteria and other small cells or particles. Once these white blood cells engulf an “intruder,” the unwelcome cells are digested and neutralized enzymatically.
Vitamin C boosts the production of B lymphocytes
B lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that play a critical role in pathogen-specific immune responses through their production of antibodies.
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