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Vitamin C Supports More Than Immunity

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. Essential vitamins are those the body cannot make on its own, so to take advantage of the potent benefits, we have to get it through our diet.  

While many foods like citrus fruits, sweet potatoes and tomatoes contain vitamin C, it may not always be available in the foods we eat. This is a water-soluble vitamin, so is sensitive to heat and light and may be destroyed during food preparation.  

This nutrient is stored in only small amounts in our body and excreted through urine, so continuous intake is important. On the bright side, these same traits also make it very difficult to have too much in your system, and supplementation can help fill the nutritional gap if you don’t eat enough vitamin C rich foods. 

Benefits of Vitamin C 

Antioxidant Protection – As mentioned, vitamin C is not only an essential nutrient, but also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are molecules that support the body’s natural defenses, as it boosts antioxidant levels in the blood. In fact, at least one study showed that supplementation with vitamin C significantly increased blood antioxidant levels.  

Immune Support – Vitamin C has long been a staple nutrient and dietary supplement to the diet of those who want to ward off colds and flus. Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is known to increase the strength and protection of an organism, which supports immunity. (1) 

Iron Absorption – Lack of iron leads to fatigue and weakness, and possibly anemia, which is low blood iron. Vitamin C happens to be an important nutrient that enhances iron absorption. (2) Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, and hemoglobin helps carry oxygen to your muscles, making it an important nutrient for your overall energy. Therefore, ensuring you get enough vitamin C may be an important factor in preventing iron deficiencies.  

Collagen Synthesis – Collagen is a protein that is part of the structure of our skin, bones, and even ligaments. It gives our joints flexibility and makes our skin plump and youthful. More important, collagen helps reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, keeping metabolism intact. And it turns out that your body needs vitamin C to make collagen. In fact, a recent study showed that vitamin C enriched gelatin was important for tissue repair and injury prevention when added to an exercise program. In addition, vitamin C is a favorite in the aesthetic industry for beautiful skin and hair. 

Protect Your Heart – Heart disease has many risk factors including high blood pressure and an imbalance of good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). At least one study confirmed that vitamin C supplementation of at least 500 mg/d significantly decreased LDL.  Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that high blood concentrations of vitamin C through diet may reduce heart health issues.  

Conclusion 

Vitamin C is an important nutrient that impacts our health, how we age and how we feel. Luckily, it is an easy nutrient to fit into our diet through both food and supplementation. Be sure to get your daily intake so you can reap the benefits this super nutrient has to offer. 

References: 

1 Sorice A, Guerriero E, Capone F, Colonna G, Castello G, Costantini S. Ascorbic acid: its role in immune system and chronic inflammation diseases. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2014 May;14(5):444-52. doi: 10.2174/1389557514666140428112602. PMID: 24766384. 

2 Hallberg L, Brune M, Rossander L. The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1989;30:103-8. PMID: 2507689. 

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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The Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient and antioxidant that is important for tissue repair and enzyme function. It is considered essential because our bodies don’t manufacture it, and it is water soluble, so you need to replenish this vitamin every day. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for women is 75 mg and 90 mg for men, while some studies showed that more benefits are recognized at higher amounts.

Unfortunately, vitamin C can be destroyed by high temperatures and other forms of food processing. Boiling and steaming food can cause up to a 34% loss of C while pressure cooking creates a loss of around 10%. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to take advantage of all nutrients including vitamin C, but if you aren’t able to keep up with the recommended 5 – 9 servings a day, supplementation might be an option.

The functions of vitamin C are extensive, making it a widely researched nutrient with more benefits still being discovered today. It turns out that patients with health issues often have low levels of this nutrient, while those with health concerns have an increased need for antioxidants like ascorbic acid.

Environmental and lifestyle factors like smoking, stress or high amounts of air pollution also increase the need for vitamin C. And because it is an essential nutrient that our bodies rely on, the benefits are numerous including immune support, brain health protection and wrinkle prevention.

Immune Support

Immune support is by far the most common reason why people supplement with vitamin C. That’s because this nutrient is associated with many areas of immunity, helps protect cells and may even shorten wound healing time.

As an antioxidant vitamin C becomes part of the skin’s defense system, which is our outer layer of protection and often our first line of defense. Antioxidants protect us from free radicals that are linked to a host of health issues, and it just so happens that vitamin C is a type of antioxidant called carotenoids. And because it protects the integrity of cells, it is the perfect nutrient to support immune health.

Brain Health

It turns out that vitamin C is an important antioxidant that is vital for healthy brain function. (1) Our brains use a lot of oxygen, which makes them more prone to oxidative stress than other organs; it’s no wonder the brain has higher concentrations of vitamin C. In fact, some studies have found higher levels of C in those with healthy cognitive function but lower levels in those with impaired function. (2) It may be because as an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect the brain from oxidative stress that can impact cognitive performance.

A Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects out entire body, inside and out, from free radical damage. It helps the body manufacture collagen, which keeps our skin, eyes, and blood vessels strong. It helps prevent damage that can lead to a host of health conditions associated with oxidative stress and can even help your body regenerate vitamin E supplies. This may be the reason why it has been associated with lower blood pressure and considered a heart healthy nutrient.

Anti-Aging

Some researchers have gone so far as to call C the anti-aging vitamin. That’s because it is involved with collagen synthesis; the protein that keeps our skin from sagging. Collagen is not only necessary for firm skin, but also plays a role in skin repair and helps maintain the integrity of ligaments and tendons. It also gives our blood vessels flexibility which becomes more important as we age.

Signs of aging include wrinkles and deterioration of our eyes and overall health. Many aging experts claim that free radicals accelerate the aging process, while superior nutrition seems to slow it down. Antioxidants like vitamin C help ward off the signs of aging as it combats free radical damage. Consuming a diet high in foods that are abundant with this nutrient can help you fight the signs of aging, while supplementing with vitamin C can fill in any nutritional gaps.

Stress Management

Nutrition plays a role in not only physical health, but our mental health, as well. Our bodies need a supply of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients to function at full capacity. And our brains rely on nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C to function at its best. But vitamin C is also necessary for the balance of healthy brain chemicals that our bodies naturally produce.

When under stress, our bodies become depleted of nutrients. In fact, stress can impair the digestive system, leading to a lessened ability to break down and extract nutrients from foods we eat. This can create a cycle of stress and malnutrition as each condition worsens the other. To make matters worse, low levels of vitamin C have been linked to negative moods like sadness and anxiety.

This may be why researchers have found that vitamin C should be considered a part of stress management protocols. It seems to suppress stress while some studies showed that those who consume higher amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C report feeling calmer and less anxious.

Conclusion

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are known to be high in vitamin C, but you can also add strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, and red peppers to the list of foods rich in C. Since most foods contain far less than the RDA of this nutrient, aim for 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. And if you believe you need more, supplements are well tolerated and found to be useful when it comes to keeping your blood levels of vitamin C in a healthy range. And with all the benefits, you don’t want to miss your daily dose of this important nutrient.

References:

1 Harrison FE, May JM. Vitamin C function in the brain: vital role of the ascorbate transporter SVCT2. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009;46(6):719‐730. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.12.018

2 Travica N, Ried K, Sali A, Scholey A, Hudson I, Pipingas A. Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):960. Published 2017 Aug 30. doi:10.3390/nu9090960

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Boosting Your Immune System

The immune system is a vast network of cells, proteins, organs and vessels situated throughout your body to protect you from pathogens and organisms compromise the immune system. Each part of this system works with the others to act as barriers, such as specialized cells that can neutralize toxins, cells that activate proteins to kill bacteria or even some that tag a toxin for destruction by a killer cell, or T Cell.

Sometimes the immune system becomes compromised due to autoimmune disorders, genetic abnormalities or even stress. For this reason, it is important to take care of ourselves with a wholesome diet and exercise, both of which naturally support a healthy immune system. During times of stress, we can add more support with extra nutrition like vitamin C, zinc or herbs like elderberry. And the more support we give, the better is can function.

Your Two Immune Systems

The immune system is divided into two main types of immune responses; the innate immune response (or system), and the adaptive immune response (or system). Ideally, both of these systems work together to protect your body and keep you healthy.

  • The innate immune system consists of nonspecific defense mechanisms that jump into play when antigens invade your body. Sometimes known as barriers to disease, certain parts of this immune system include skin, blood chemicals and cells that are specific to the immune system. These are responsible for limiting the spread of bacteria, viruses, parasites and other antigens as they travel through your body. We are born with this natural immunity and it is the first line of defense.
  • The adaptive immune system is another response system that defends you against pathogens. As the name implies, it is adaptive. When certain bacteria or other antigens invade, it can create more immunity to the specific invader and ensure its destruction if infected again.

This immune system consists of specialized cells and processes that can neutralize, eliminate or prevent the growth of antigens that can harm your health. It is also known as the acquired immune system because it adapts to changes in the environment to protect your body from future challenges. This helps defend you against recurrent weakened immune states, leading to long-lasting and stronger defense.

What Inhibits Immunity

Stress can have an impact and weaken our immunity in a couple of ways. It may lead to unhealthy coping strategies, like poor food choices and drinking alcohol, which can leave us more susceptible to sickness. It can also increase stress hormones like cortisol, which also may contribute to suppressing the immune system. Stress can also contribute to internal inflammation and other changes in the body, which also suppress the immune system.

Poor diet can also affect the immune system. Consuming too much processed meat, saturated fats and sugar all play a roll in how well we respond to pathogens that can lead to illness. Too much of the above foods can lead to a state of internal inflammation, which is linked to several health issues. In addition, certain substances in excess, like sugar or unhealthy fats, may also suppress the immune system. At the same time, these types of foods do not contribute nutrients that support health.

Medications like TNF inhibitors and corticosteroids may increase the chance of contracting a fungal infection as they suppress the immune system. These should be used only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

Alcohol has a direct impact on the microbiome of your digestive tract and disrupting it can lead to digestive issues. In fact, alcohol consumption can disrupt the barrier and allow excess bacteria to cross into your bloodstream, leaving you more susceptible to illness. Avoiding excess alcohol is key during times of heightened immune stress to ensure your body is able to protect itself from outside attack.

How to Boost Your Immune System, Naturally

Direct evidence or research about how to naturally boost the immune system is difficult to find. This is because the immune system is just that; a system that includes a lot of parts from many types of cells and organs. To understand how any component would affect the immune system would require a study of how the component works with each cell and organ of the immune system as well as the lymph vessels that are also part of this vast system. Because of this, any approach to strengthening the immune system should be a holistic one to ensure your entire being is healthy.

Sleep

Getting a proper night’s sleep allows your body to rejuvenate and restore all of your bodily systems, including the immune system. Not getting enough sleep may suppress your immunity and leave you more susceptible. A sufficient night’s rest is imperative so your body can make the proteins your body needs to fight invaders, heal and restore full function to any areas that may be weakened.

Daily Hygiene

Protecting your health is just as important as boosting your immunity. Seemingly little things like washing your hands with soap and water throughout the day, or avoiding close contact with those who may be ill play big roles in keeping you healthy. And if you do have to work in close quarters with others, wash your hands more frequently and wipe down keyboards or other workplace machinery you share with others.

Healthy Diet

There are no particular foods that are linked to boosting immunity, but we do know [studies show] that certain vitamins do help by supporting your immune system. Vitamin C, for example, is widely acknowledge as a potent antioxidant that may contribute to immune defense support. We do know that deficiencies are linked to an increased susceptibility immune compromise, so getting your daily dose is important. (2)

Avoid junk foods like the plague, for these can use up your storage of nutrients as your body attempts to digest these highly processed foods. This means your body is left depleted and more susceptible to illness or infections.

The best diet to support your immune system should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce provides an abundance of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that help support your body and maintain a healthy immune system. We know that vitamins and minerals are catalysts that can help our bodies stay strong, but phytonutrients also help as they can aid in the creation of healthy cells to replace sick or damaged ones.

Exercise

Exercise aids in overall health by keeping your body weight in control and ensuring your muscles remain strong. But it also helps by increasing circulation and oxygen supply to the blood stream. This means your body is more able to carry out waste, that can weaken the body. At the same time, better circulation increases the ability to move oxygen and nutrients to all areas of your body, including the organs that are involved with a healthy immune system.

Stress Management

Stress is known to wreak havoc on the body in a number of ways, including curbing immunity. Using techniques like yoga or biofeedback can help get stress under control. Taking care of your body with healthy food, proper rest and exercise also help lower stress levels, so you remain stronger to tackle the daily battle of the germs.

Supplement Your Nutrition

As lifestyles have become increasingly busy, many people don’t find time to eat a healthy diet the way they’d like to. In this case, certain supplements might help fill the nutritional gap. Here are just some that might help.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is found naturally throughout the body. It can also be found in many foods such as oysters, crab, some poultry and red meats and certain dairy products. Some people have a difficult time getting enough zinc, including vegetarians, those with digestive issues and those who consume too much alcohol.

A deficiency of this mineral is known to slow growth in adolescents or can lead to hair loss or wound healing issues. At the same time, there are some studies that show it may reduce symptoms of the common cold if taken in an appropriate amount of time. For this reason, many home remedies include zinc supplementation.

Elderberry

Elderberries are a fruit from the Sambucus tree and have long been used by native people as a remedy for sickness. Believed to fight colds and flus, it has been used in juices and tinctures, along with other herbs or vitamins, and as a home remedy to support one’s health during times of stress.

Some small studies show that lozenges containing elderberry seemed to help improve the bodies responses to cellular attack. (3) Elderberries do contain nutrients like vitamins C, A and even potassium and folate and so contribute to overall health.

Supplements like elderberry contain natural substances called flavonoids. These substances play a role in reducing inflammation and the supporting the immune system. Some people believe they help with other types of immune attacks as well. Most companies boost this herb with zinc and vitamin C to provide all around protection and immune support. And supplementing with herbs and nutrients can fill in the nutrition gap for people on the go or those who have less than adequate diets.

Vitamin C

While easy to consume vitamin C through certain fruits, it is also easy to miss if you are too busy. At the same time, stress can deplete our nutrient preserve, so taking supplements may be a way to support our health during times of heightened immune distress.

For this reason, many people take a vitamin C supplement to ensure they get what they need. Some studies do show that having adequate levels of this vitamin can help optimize cell function and play a role in supporting the immune system. Along with helping you stay healthy, this vitamin can promote healthy skin and protect your cells from oxidative stress.

Conclusion

Boosting your immune system requires a holistic approach that anyone can easily incorporate into their lifestyles. Being proactive in your health can help you avoid the downtime and may even help you avoid the emergency room.

Daily practices like a healthy diet, proper rest, and exercise all work together to ensure you remain healthy and do your best to support your immune system. And when life gets stressed or too busy, using supplementation can provide extra support.

References

1 Medications that Weaken Your Immune System and Fungal Infections. (2017, January 25). Retrieved January 21, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/infections/immune-system.html

2 Maggini S., Wintergerst E.S., Beveridge S., Hornig D.H. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. Br. J. Nutr. 2007;98:S29–S35. doi: 10.1017/S0007114507832971

3 Zakay-Rones, Z., et al. “Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections.” Journal of International Medical Research, Apr. 2004, pp. 132–140, doi:10.1177/147323000403200205.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Power Your Immune System with Elderberry, Zinc and Vitamin C

Nutritional and herbal supplements have been used for centuries to ward off illness and boost the immune system. Elderberry is one such herb, as it contains a high amount vitamins, flavonoids and antioxidants that may provide relief from seasonal challenges. Many believe this to be one of the most powerful plants available for relief at the first sign of immune system weakening. Zinc and vitamin C are popular supplements for overall immune benefits and when taken with elderberry, make a powerful combination for those looking to boost their natural immunity.

Our immune system transports white blood cells throughout the body where they work hard to protect us. The many macrophages, leukocytes and other immune cells destroy and ingest invaders that may lead to weakening of the immune system, if left unchecked. While many of us are aware that the immune system is responsible for fighting invaders, it does a lot more than that. A strong immune system can fight a number of foreign invaders that can wreak havoc on your health.

Unfortunately, our immune systems can become compromised for many reasons. For example, a busy lifestyle can interrupt sleep patterns or create excess stress, leaving you susceptible. While our lifestyles might limit us from taking care of ourselves to the fullest, there are some things that we can do to help strengthen immune function and take more control over our health. The immune benefits of elderberry, zinc and Vitamin C offer a strong, nutritional combination that can help us play a proactive role in our health.

Vitamin C is the most common go-to vitamin for immune building. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which protects the body from free radicals that can damage DNA and skin, making C an effective healthy-aging nutrient. And it’s an essential part of our immune system.

With a weakened immune response or stress, Vitamin C in the blood plasma declines, which can lead to less than optimal immune response or the inability to heal properly. A busy lifestyle can create excess stress and sap energy, which also lowers immunity. But sometimes it’s not easy to consume the amount of fruits and vegetables to maintain healthy levels, especially during winter.

Fortunately, at least one study showed increased activity of natural killer cells when 14 young men supplemented with dietary Vitamin C for four weeks, while other research showed it can increase the body’s ability to clear waste from infections. (1) But Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient; meaning your body doesn’t store it. Therefore, consuming adequate amounts of this important nutrient can ensure your body has what it needs to enjoy healthy immune function, especially when taken with zinc. (2)

Zinc is a mineral found in meat, poultry and shellfish, and in many cells throughout the human body. It aids in immune recovery and helps us heal from injury. At the same time, zinc helps the immune system fight foreign invaders by activating T-cells that attack invaders and regulate immune response. (3)

On the other hand, zinc deficiency can lead to severe immune dysfunctions and have a negative effect on the function of T-cells. Clinically, zinc deficiency is characterized by loss of appetite, skin lesions and impaired immunity. If you lack zinc, you could have a higher risk, as it is crucial for healthy function of cells that regulate your immune system. (4)

So, who’s at risk for zinc deficiency? You might be surprised. Sources of zinc include beef, shellfish, certain types of cheese, poultry, and milk. This means vegetarians and vegans could be at a higher risk of deficiency. Digestive issues, intestinal problems and surgeries can all interfere with absorption of this nutrient, as well as over-consumption of alcohol.

Elderberry is a native American plant that has long been used during times of immune weakening. It is packed with amygdalin, or B17, that protects the body. Flavonoids are abundant in the berries, which makes them a powerful ally to protect the body. It is often paired with Vitamin C in traditional remedies.

Research with elderberry extract has shown it is effective, therefore it is believed that this herb has a positive impact on the immune system. Those who travel will be happy to hear that in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, airline passengers had positive benefits when given elderberry extract before and after traveling. Of those who experienced a weakening of the immune response, the group that took elderberry experienced less severe weakening and for a shorter duration. (5)

Elderberry, Zinc and Vitamin C make a powerful combination with immune benefits that can protect against a wide range of pathogens. The triple protection can pick up where stress or poor diets leave off, adding extra nutrition to help strengthen the body’s natural immunity. Along with protection from the foreign invaders, this combination can help safeguard your body and aid in healthy aging.

The evidence shows that each of these ingredients can strengthen your body with positive immune benefits. In today’s modern stressful and hectic environment, nutritional support is a principle part of any health regimen, and prevention. Added with a healthy diet and exercise, this supplement combination can power up your immune system during the winter season or any time you need support.

References:

1 Sharma, P.; Raghavan, S.A.; Saini, R.; Dikshit, M. Ascorbate-mediated enhancement of reactive oxygen species generation from polymorphonuclear leukocytes: Modulatory effect of nitric oxide. J. Leukoc. Biol. 2004, 75, 1070–1078.

2 Wintergerst, E. S., Maggini, S., & Hornig, D. H. (2005, December 21). Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16373990.

3 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2009, July 31). Got Zinc? New Zinc Research Suggests Novel Therapeutic Targets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730103740.htm

4 Prasad AS. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Mol Med. 2008;14(5-6):353–357. doi:10.2119/2008-00033.Prasad

5 Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4):182. Published 2016 Mar 24. doi:10.3390/nu8040182

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/