Boost your vitamin C intake to strengthen your immune system and lower cancer risk

For the past few years, research has determined that vitamin C can help fight cancer, mainly because this vitamin can boost the immune system.

Vitamin C strengthens your immune system

Researchers have been studying the properties of vitamin C for almost a century. In 1937, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s research won him the Nobel Prize in Physiology. Since then, vitamin C’s powerful ability to boost immune function has been closely studied.

Vitamin C energizes and supports the immune system by assisting the inner workings of cells. To illustrate, when you’re sick and your body is fighting illness, your vitamin C levels may become depleted.

During this crucial time, you need to replenish your vitamin C levels so you can heal faster. Supplementing with vitamin C is essential, especially when you’re healing from a wound, or fighting illnesses that can range from the common cold to severe conditions like cancer.

To have a healthy immune system, various cell types and signaling molecules must function optimally. Vitamin C can fight off cancer cells via important immune system components like natural killer cells (NK cells). Vitamin C is also necessary for the proper functioning of neutrophils, lymphocytes, and antibodies, all three of which are needed so the immune system can fight cancer cells and sickness.

Vitamin C supports NK cells

NK cells act as the “hit men” of the immune system because they can track and destroy tumor cells and other invaders. These cells also offer protection from the effect of platelets, the blood clotting cell fragments that could otherwise prevent the NK cells from functioning effectively. This way, NK cells help prevent cancers from metastasizing. (Related: Groundbreaking study looks at the regenerative potential of vitamin C for hormone health and cancer prevention.)

Vitamin C boosts neutrophil energy

Neutrophils in the immune system prevent bacterial infections by “engulfing the bacteria and blasting it with oxygen free radicals.” Vitamin C helps neutrophils do their job by helping the latter find bacteria and destroy it. NK cells also help neutrophils clean up their oxidizing molecules.

Vitamin C enhances lymphocyte production

Lymphocytes create antibodies in the immune system. They also guide other immune cells toward threats. Vitamin C helps lymphocytes reproduce rapidly so the latter can function optimally.

Vitamin C boosts antibody immunoglobulin levels

Antibodies in your immune system identify and destroy invaders like cancerous cells. Vitamin C helps raise antibody immunoglobulin levels to prevent infections.

Aside from cancer, the common cold, and inflammation, vitamin C also prevents other conditions such as:

  • Anemia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Scurvy
  • Stroke

The human body is unable to create vitamin C on its own, which is why you need to obtain it externally. Proper diet and supplementation are crucial so you can get optimal amounts of vitamin C regularly.

Vitamin C-rich fruits include:

  • Berries (e.g., blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Citrus fruits (e.g., oranges and grapefruits)
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon

Vegetables that contain vitamin C include:

  • Bell peppers (green and red peppers)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Leafy greens (e.g., spinach and turnip greens)
  • Tomatoes/tomato juice
  • Winter squash

Natural health experts often recommend taking at least 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C per day. If you are diagnosed with cancer, consult a healthcare professional to see if you can safely take as much as 10,000 mg per day to help your condition.

Follow a healthy diet full of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, and take supplements to boost your vitamin C levels. Doing so can help strengthen your immune system and significantly lower your chance of developing cancer.

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