It’s nearly here…falling leaves, cooler weather, and cold and flu season. There are two things that can prevent you from getting sick and they are 1. wash hand regularly, and 2. boost your immune system. Washing hands has been shown through numerous studies to be the leading prevention of germ transmission. But, boosting your immune system is not as straight forward. Since the immune system is very intricate there are lots of layers that need to be addressed in the immune system. One of the things that can aid in boosting the immune system is good ol’ vitamin C. A moderate deficiency in vitamin C can result in a depressed immune system, even if there are no clinical signs present.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has a plethora of uses in the body. Because it is water soluble the body is unable to store it, and it must be replace regularly to receive the benefits. Some benefits of vitamin C include:
- strong antioxidant and free-radical scavenger, particularly of the blood, intracellular fluid, interstitial fluid; it also prevents oxidative stress at the cellular level
- helps to open detoxification pathways throughout the body
- has anti-viral properties; playing the role of bouncer, escorting viruses and toxins out of the body
- important for bone and cartilage formation and is essential for prevention or maintenance of arthritis
- needed for collagen formation, which helps to support and protect joints, spinal discs, teeth, tendons, and skin (can we say wrinkle prevention!)
- prevents the formation of gall stones, as vitamin C is required to convert cholesterol to bile salts
- can be used to help soften stool
- useful in strengthening blood vessels and capillaries preventing them from easy rupture (such as bruising and varicose veins)
- reduces pain, inflammation, and swelling by inhibiting prostaglandins
- boosts the body’s ability to fight candidiasis
Sources of Vitamin C
Humans are one of the only animals that are unable to make vitamin C, thus they have to rely on it through either foods or supplements. The amount of vitamin C needed varies from person to person; depending on age, stress, toxic load, lifestyle (smokers and ladies taking oral contraceptives need more), disease processes (such as heart failure, liver or kidney disease, cancers) and medications. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits (lemon, orange, grapefruit, kumquat), tomatoes, green peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cantaloupe, strawberries, and cabbage.
If your needs are higher than what you are getting through foods, supplementation is the next best option. When taking a vitamin C supplement it is best to use a buffered, ascorbate form (this is one I use and recommend). Buffered means it is has other minerals attached to provide balance of minerals and ascorbate provides a higher rate of absorption, all while keeping pH balanced. The amount daily you need can be determined by doing a vitamin C flush.
Vitamin C Flush
A vitamin C flush can be useful to boost the immune system, detoxify toxins (from bacteria, medications, environment), move heavy metals throughout the body, and balance gut bacteria. This flush has been researched extensively with good results. This vitamin C flush saturates your tissues with vitamin C so it is readily available.
Here are the steps to doing a vitamin C flush:
- Purchase powdered, buffered ascorbate vitamin C.
- Start on an empty stomach and dissolve 1/2 tsp of vitamin C powder mixed with water or juice. Allow the effervescence to subside, then drink.
- Keep a log of the time and amount consumed.
- Repeat every 15 minutes until you have watery diarrhea (don’t stop with gas or loose stools, they should be watery) stop taking the vitamin C. If after 4 doses you do not feel a rumble in the tummy, double the dose.
- Keep track of the amount it took to saturate your tissues. Your regular, daily dose will be 1/2-3/4 of this amount and it should be taken daily, in divided dose.
Your daily dose is a place to start, however your needs will change. For best results do the flush weekly for 1 month, then monthly. This is a great way to boost the immune system and stay away from the doc this cold and flu season.