When Linus Pauling first started talking about vitamin C, he was a big proponent of the idea that vitamin C helped boost the immune system and everyone should take a vitamin C supplement. The Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling himself added vitamin C supplements to his diet, often more than 8 grams a day! He believed in it that much.
Over the years, hundreds of scientific studies started proving the importance of vitamin C for immunity.
- T cells don’t work without vitamin C. They also die early without it.
- Vitamin C interferes with free radicals formed when a microbe meets an immune system cell.
- Phagocytic cells are more active with vitamin C.
- The natural killer cells depend on vitamin C for their functioning.
- Vitamin C also plays a role in the inflammatory response, decreasing inflammation.
With all these functions of immunity, it’s amazing that some people still question whether or not vitamin C con prevent the common cold or should be used for the common cold. After reading all the evidence of its functions, is there really any room for doubt?
Obviously, if a person is low in vitamin C or in a vitamin C deficiency, the vitamin will help! However, if their levels are good, the extra won’t change them into Superman with Super Immunity! The answer seems tied to the level of vitamin C in one’s body.
Yet, some scientists are determined to prove that vitamin C won’t help you when you have a cold. Instead they say that vitamin C may slightly reduce the duration of the illness in healthy people but it doesn’t affect its incidence and severity (Med Monatsschr Pharm Feb 2009, Vol. 32). To question the vitamin C benefits that have been real for decades seems like a waste of time and research dollars.
These naysayers go on to report that you can just forget any clinical effects if you take vitamin C when you have the common cold. Did they know YOUR individual status of vitamin C when they spoke? One has to wonder how someone could make blanket statements about YOUR health when they never met you.
There’s one more thing you should know – after stress and infections, vitamin C levels in the white blood cell and plasma drop to very low levels. If this doesn’t support the reason why people should take vitamin C supplements, what possibly can?
Let’s see – if your levels are low after you get an infection, and vitamin C works to boost your immunity, then might you become more susceptible to the next infectious agent circulating the neighborhood?
What is your perspective on vitamin C? Are you cautious about taking it? If so, examine what the basis of your caution is. If it’s the media reporting that vitamin C offers no benefits when you have a cold or flu, think again.