Much data has come out in recent years about the effectiveness of vitamin C against cancer. The main driver of this is the important role of vitamin C in creating optimal immune system health.Vitamin C has been studied intensely for almost a century, beginning with Albert Szent-Gyorgyi whose research won him the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1937. The ability of vitamin C to greatly enhance immune functioning has been studied in more detail ever since.
Vitamin C provides multi-layered immune system support
Vitamin C energizes and supports the immune system through assisting cells’ inner workings. This is why during times when the body is fighting illness, vitamin C levels can become depleted. The result is a vicious cycle as just when the most vitamin C is required, the body’s reserves become drained. This is why supplementing with vitamin C is so important when healing from a wound as well as when fighting illnesses from the common cold to cancer.
A healthy immune system is comprised of multiple cell types and signaling molecules functioning optimally. Vitamin C is effective against cancer cells through its support of immune system components like NK cells, or natural killer cells. Vitamin C also benefits the functioning of neutrophils, lymphocytes and antibodies, which are all instrumental in the immune system’s ability to fight cancer cells and illness.
NK Cell Support
Natural killer cells (or NK cells) function as the “hit men” of the immune system, tracking and destroying tumor cells and other invaders. They also help to shield the effect of the blood clotting cell fragments known as platelets that would otherwise prevent the NK cells from doing their work. This assists in preventing cancers from metastasizing.
Neutrophil Energy and Cleanup
Neutrophils in the immune system fight bacterial infections by engulfing the bacteria and blasting it with oxygen free radicals. Vitamin C supports their functioning through helping them locate bacteria and destroy it and cleaning up their oxidizing molecules.
Enhancing Lymphocyte Production
Lymphocytes produce antibodies in the immune system and assist in guiding other immune cells toward threats. They then rapidly reproduce to do their job; this reproduction is greatly enhanced by vitamin C.
Raising Antibody Immunoglobulin Levels
Antibodies in the immune system assist in identifying and destroying invaders such as cancerous cells. The presence of vitamin C helps to raise antibody immunoglobulin levels to protect against infections.
Besides combating inflammation, the common cold and cancer, other illnesses fought by the presence of vitamin C include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, anemia, scurvy, periodontal disease and osteoporosis.
Nutrition and supplementation key in maintaining healthy C levels
Natural health experts generally recommend taking about 1,000 – 3,000 mg of vitamin C per day (Linus Pauling suggested 6,000 – 10,000 mg per day for healthy people) and, in many cases, well over 10,000 mg per day – if dealing with a serious health issue like cancer.
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Of course, there are many fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. But, it’s important to keep in mind that relying on food sources (alone) for vitamin C are rarely sufficient to eliminate serious health problems. With that in mind, some of the best vitamin C-rich foods include: citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, raspberries, papaya, pineapple, cantaloupe, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.