Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is necessary for the formation of bones, muscles, blood vessels and other supporting cells and tissues. Its role in disorders such as asthma, diabetes or cancer is being widely researched.
Vitamin C has also been presented as a treatment modality in cases of common cold and infections of the lung. The role of vitamin C in the immune system has been studied for many years and has been reported to control certain regulatory functions. The administration of vitamin C along with other micro and macronutrients is advised in individuals who are suffering from vitamin C-deficiency and are at high risk of developing infections related to the lungs.
Vitamin C and Immune CellsThe role of vitamin C in the functioning of immune cells is well proven. Vitamin C is especially required for the functioning of the phagocytes and T-lymphocytes. The major role of vitamin C is the protection of the immune cells against free radicals formed during the interaction of the immune cells with harmful microorganisms. The T-cells and other phagocytes engulf the microorganisms and employ oxygen in the form of superoxides to destroy them. These superoxides can be harmful to the phagocytes themselves. Vitamin C protects them against the free radicals and thereby maintains the integrity of these cells. A deficiency of vitamin C hampers the function and results in early destruction of the T-cells and phagocytes. Deficiency of vitamin C is associated with increased duration of the common cold and infections of the lung, signifying its role in protection against these conditions. The effect has been more pronounced in elderly individuals who tend to suffer from multiple deficiencies owing to their altered dietary pattern and the ability of the body to absorb the essential nutrients from the diet being consumed.1, 2
Vitamin C and Flu
Administration of vitamin C was noted to improve the concentration of immune proteins and certain components of the complement system. These proteins and the complement system have a vital role in maintaining the immunity of the body. The effects of vitamin C has been particularly been emphasised against infections such as the common cold and flu. Vitamin C when administered with other medications for flu and common cold significantly reduced the duration of these infections. Vitamin C supplementation is therefore advised along with regular medications in order to reduce the severity and duration of infectious disorders.2, 3