Support your immune system with Keeley Berry, Nutritional Expert and Product Developer at BetterYou Ltd.
As Spring beckons, there is hope that our social calendar may soon be opening up, so it’s crucial to ensure our immune system is strong as we head out of lockdown to protect our health and wellbeing.
Our immune system is the body’s natural defence against harmful viruses and bacteria, it is made up of a network of cells, tissues, organs, and molecules which work together to protect the body from any harmful germs or substances by triggering an immune response. When your immune system is working well, it can prevent germs from entering your body and, if harmful cells do get in, it can limit the harm that they do.
The body needs many vitamins and minerals to function properly.
Vitamin C is one of these nutrients and it is essential to the normal function of our immune system.
Stimulating the production and activation of immune cells, Vitamin C supports cellular functions of the innate and adaptive immune systems and it contributes to three main mechanisms of immune protection, including:
- Helping to strengthen skin and tissues to prevent viral invasion.
- Increasing white blood cell and antibody production to target viruses.
- Helping to clear spent white blood cells to maintain tissue health.
Crucially, vitamin C has the ability to protect our white blood cells from invading pathogens and researchers believe that white blood cells draw in vitamin C to help protect from oxidants, increase oxidant regeneration and to ensure any pathogens are killed.
Who is most at-risk of Vitamin C deficiency?
The most common risk factors for vitamin C deficiency include poor diet, malabsorption disorders (such as Crohn’s, Colitis and Coeliac disease), food allergies and anorexia. The elderly and those taking certain medications such as aspirin, oral contraceptives, and some anti-inflammatories, can also be at higher risk of deficiency and frequent supplementation is advised.
Stress, smoking and alcoholism as well as a fever and viral infections can also negatively impact our levels of vitamin C, so if these lifestyle factors affect you, larger daily intakes be required.
How can I ensure I’m getting enough vitamin C?
Unlike animals, humans cannot naturally produce vitamin C and as it is a water-soluble vitamin, our body does not store it, so supplementation is advised to maintain levels as well as regularly eating foods, such as:
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
- Green and red peppers
- Sweet and white potatoes
It’s important to have a food-first approach, but if you struggle to get enough vitamin C a supplement can be a simple and convenient way to increase and maintain levels.
The phrase ‘little and often’ can be helpfully applied to vitamin C supplementation, with absorption believed to drastically reduce as our intake increases. Consuming high levels of vitamin C (500mg and above) results in a rapid decline in absorption efficiency, meaning that supplementing high doses is not beneficial, as it will simply pass through the body.
Healthy individuals are recommended to supplement 100mg of vitamin C per day, an amount that is associated with a decreased risk of mortality from heart disease and stroke.
Some of us, particularly children and the elderly, can find tablets and capsules difficult to swallow, so traditional supplementation methods do not always suit everyone.
Alternative routes, such as vitamin oral spray products, are readily available online as well as on the high-street and with studies showing that they are just as effective at elevating our vitamin levels as traditional capsules, this could be the pill-free supplementation solution we have all been looking for.
Try out the Better You Vitamin C Spray in our April Lifebox, get your hands on one here
Discover more about the BetterYou range by visiting their website