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Vitamin C and it's Impact on Health

People who take daily doses of Vitamin C can boost their immune system, potentially protecting themselves from viruses and colds, according to a study presented at the 60th Anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

Vitamin C is a nutrient that has been demonstrated to have a substantial impact on human health. Researchers originally proposed that large doses of Vitamin C could decrease the incidence and the severity of the common cold.

To determine whether vitamin C can alter the function of the immune system and provide increased protection from viral infection, Susan Ritter, MD, PhD candidate, and Gailen D. Marshall, Jr., MD, PhD, both from the University of Texas Health Science Center, studied the white blood cells of 12 patients before and after each patient took one gram of vitamin C daily for two weeks. Researchers then analyzed the immune cell types present in the blood as well as the ability of these cells to make antiviral compounds.

The number of NK cells (a cell that protects against viruses) in the peripheral blood increased after two weeks of supplementation with Vitamin C. While the number of T cells (also active in antiviral immunity) remained the same, they were more activated following vitamin C supplementation. The T cells also produced significantly more interferon-gama (an antiviral compound) and less interleukin-4 and interleukin-10 (both of which are associated with allergic disease) after two weeks of supplementation with vitamin C.

Researchers concluded that this data suggests an increase in antiviral immunity after two weeks of 1g/day vitamin C supplementation and the possible use of vitamin C to modulate the immune system in people.

For a history on Vitamin C - click here.