Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is renowned for its crucial role in supporting immune health. It is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals. Vitamin C also plays a vital role in supporting the function of various immune cells, such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, and phagocytes, which are all types of cells responsible for defending the body against infections. Vitamin C enhances the production and function of antibodies, proteins that recognize and neutralize harmful pathogens. It also supports the activity of natural killer cells (a type of immune cells!), which are crucial for targeting and destroying infected or abnormal cells. Vitamin C's immune-enhancing properties contribute to a stronger and more effective immune response, helping to reduce the severity and duration of common infections such as the common cold.
Additionally, vitamin C supports the function of the respiratory system. It helps protect the respiratory tract against infections and inflammation, especially in individuals exposed to environmental pollutants or allergens. The vitamin has also been shown to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms associated with respiratory infections, such as the common cold. It can help alleviate symptoms like congestion, coughing, and sore throat, while also supporting the recovery process.