Immune system and Vitamin c

vitamin c drink

The immune system protects the body against infection and disease. It is a complex and integrated system of cells, tissues, and organs that has specialized roles in defending against foreign substances and pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteriaviruses, and fungi. 

The immune system is broadly divided into two major components: innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity involves immediate, nonspecific responses to foreign invaders, while adaptive immunity requires more time to develop its complex, specific responses

Humans have three types of immunity — innate, adaptive, and passive:

  • Innate immunity: Everyone is born with innate (or natural) immunity, a type of general protection. For example, the skin acts as a barrier to block germs from entering the body. And the immune system recognizes when certain invaders are foreign and could be dangerous.
  • Adaptive immunity:Adaptive (or active) immunity develops throughout our lives. We develop adaptive immunity when we're exposed to diseases or when we're immunized against them with vaccines.
  • Passive immunity: Passive immunity is "borrowed" from another source and it lasts for a short time. For example, antibodies in a mother's breast milk give a baby temporary immunity to diseases the mother has been exposed to.


The immune response in a nutshell

 The normal immune response can be broken down into four main components:

  1. pathogen recognition by cells of the innate immune system, with cytokine release, complement activation and phagocytosis of antigens.
  2. the innate immune system triggers an acute inflammatory response to contain the infection.
  3. meanwhile, antigen presentation takes place with activation of specific T helper cells.
  4. CD4 helper T cells then co-ordinate a targeted antigen-specific immune response involving two adaptive cell systems: humoral immunity from B cells and antibodies, and cell-mediated immunity from cytotoxic CD8 T cells.

Nutritional status can modulate the actions of the immune system; therefore, the sciences of nutrition and immunology are tightly linked

Vitamin C is useful in immunity function in following ways


A highly effective antioxidant that protects the body’s cells against reactive oxygen species that are generated by immune cells to kill pathogens. Primarily through this role, the vitamin affects several components of innate and adaptive immunity; for example, vitamin C has been shown to stimulate both the production and functions of leukocytes (white blood cells), especially neutrophils, lymphocytes, and phagocytes.


Vitamin C increases serum levels of antibodies and C1q complement proteins in guinea pigs, which — like humans — cannot synthesize vitamin C and hence depend on dietary vitamin C.

  • Vitamin C may also protect the integrity of immune cells. viral infections intracellular and therefore handled by cell-mediated immunity.
  • interferons a family of cytokines which act as the equivalent of complement in viral immunity, and also have additional unique functions. For example, cytotoxic T cells release interferon-gamma, which inhibits viral replication within infected cells without damaging the cells themselves.

Phagocytic leukocytes also produce and release cytokines, including interferons that have antiviral activity. Vitamin C has been shown to increase interferon levels in vitro

No supplement will cure or prevent disease.

With the 2019 coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than social distancing and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19.

Currently, no research supports the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19 specifically.

We understand that vitamin cannot help in treating or preventing coronavirus however the role of vitamin c is not small to boost immunity.

The following are the ways to add Vitamin c in our daily diets.

  • The requirement – for adults it's 40mg/day
  • Sources – Include in diet amla, guava, oranges, capsicum, raw mangoes

           And Lime juice

 Stay healthy stay safe stay at home





Author- Ms.Tripti Khanna

M.Sc. - Food and Nutrition, Post Graduate In Food Science And Nutrition

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