Vitamin C is the 'muscle' of the immune systemFebruary 21, 2014 by Dr. Thomas Levy
A very large body of work, much of it taking place over a half-century ago, has clearly established that the vigorous dosing and administration of vitamin C can cure most acute infections, viral or otherwise, and promptly neutralize most toxin exposures - including many life-threatening health issues.
Behind the scenes, vitamin C is more than 'just' an antioxidant. Why mainstream medicine refuses to embrace the life-saving abilities of vitamin C remains unclear. But, the validity of the scientific data is absolutely inescapable.
The inescapable truth about avoiding disease
One fact that all doctors and all lay persons agree on is that a strong immune system is key to recovering from an infection, neutralizing and eliminating a toxin, and bringing diseased cells back to a state of good health. There also is no dispute that a competent immune system is the best way to keep a disease from developing and taking hold in the first place.
Therefore, anything that clearly strengthens the immune system and improves its ability to achieve these goals should logically be embraced as well by both the caregiver and the patient.
Vitamin C and the immune system
In addition to its role as the premier antioxidant circulating throughout the body, the scientific literature has clearly established vitamin C to directly promote and stimulate a number of very important functions of the immune system. These functions include the following:
1. Enhanced antibody production (B-lymphocytes, humoral immunity)
2. Enhanced interferon production
3. Enhanced phagocytic (scavenger cell) function
4. Enhanced T-lymphocyte function (cell-mediated immunity)
5. Enhanced B-lymphocyte and T-lymphocyte proliferation6. Enhanced natural killer cell activity (very important anti-cancer function)
6. Enhanced prostaglandin formation
7. Enhanced nitric oxide production by phagocytes
Why is vitamin C the key to powerful immunity?
Red blood cells have roughly the same concentration of vitamin C as the surrounding plasma. Heart cells and kidney cells, which are very metabolically active cells, have about 13-fold more vitamin C than the plasma, an impressive concentration difference. This is certainly consistent with the continual need for electrons in such active cells.
Phagocytic white blood cells (granulocytes) have 25-fold more vitamin C than the plasma. Since these cells need an abundance of energy to consume and digest pathogens and cellular "debris," this concentration of vitamin C makes a lot of sense as well.
The king of the vitamin C concentrators, however, is the circulating monocyte, which becomes known as a macrophage, another cell with phagocytic functions, when it settles into the tissues. This cell has more than an 80-fold increased concentration of vitamin C inside it relative to the plasma. Few, if any, other examples of a circulating nutrient/vitamin being so selectively concentrated in a given cell type exist.
How vitamin C acts as a 'lifesaver'
Whenever inflammation develops, oxidative stress is increased, and vitamin C stores of the inflamed areas are acutely depleted to absent. The first cells that the immune system mobilizes to areas of acute inflammation are the monocytes.
As a hypothetical possibility, then, it would appear that this early, initial function of the immune system is to compensate for the inflamed area depleted of vitamin C with a vitamin C 'delivery system': the monocyte. This concept also meshes quite well with the fact that many other immune cells have significantly increased concentrations of vitamin C as well.
Always include vitamin C in whatever "wellness program" you choose to follow.
There are many things you can do and/or consume to help you achieve the health and wellness you seek. However, you should never be completely comfortable that your health program cannot be improved upon.
Donation of electrons at the molecular level, which is the ultimate positive impact of any therapeutic protocol, is the antioxidant effect. You always want more electron donation and less electron depletion (oxidation). Vitamin C, while not the only good antioxidant you can supplement, performs this electron donation/flow better than anything else available, and it still remains very affordable, in spite of repeated attempts to make it more expensive and market it as a "vitamin C complex" or "natural" vitamin C.
Vitamin C is truly 'designed by nature' – as most animals synthesize this essential nutrient as needed. Humans, unfortunately, lost this ability, but we still need to cope as best we can for our daily antioxidant needs.
Levy, T. (2001) Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing
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Dr. Levy regularly contributes brief articles of interest to the NaturalHealth365 website, which can accessed here: www.naturalhealth365.com.