Perhaps the most well-known of all the immune-boosting supplements, vitamin C is often associated with helping to keep us fighting fit during cold and flu season. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is not produced in the body but can be abundant in many foods. However, the body is known to use more when fighting to keep you healthy.
One of the ways that vitamin C helps to protect your body and boost your immune system is by acting as an antioxidant. Oxidative stress in the body damages the cells and leads to widespread health problems and premature ageing. Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals in the body by lending these unstable atoms a spare electron. This helps to prevent them from becoming highly chemically reactive and damaging surrounding cells.
This isn’t the only way vitamin C helps support the body and the immune system. It also encourages the body to produce lymphocytes and phagocytes, essential for removing bacteria, viruses and dead cells from the body. However, when carrying out their role in the body, phagocytes are subject to considerable oxidative stress, and vitamin C helps to protect against this.
And finally, vitamin C is also essential for wound healing. It is required to make collagen, a building block for skin, cartilage, bones and tendons. Without sufficient vitamin C, cuts, scrapes, and wounds will heal very slowly, which puts you at a higher risk of secondary infection.