No doubt many of you already know that vitamin C is essential when it comes to supporting the immune system. Despite it’s essential role in immunity, it is important so the body can form:
+Collagen, blood vessels, cartilage and muscle. This helps to maintain many body tissues, including the skin. It also aids with connective tissue repair and wound healing according to one study.
+Neurotransmitters, the chemicals that are important for signalling in the nervous system.
+Carnitine, a chemical that supports the transport and breakdown of fatty acids to generate energy.
+Healthy bones and teeth, which are super important during your child’s formative years.
So when it comes to the immune system, why exactly is there such a strong connection and why is it so important to make sure our children are getting enough of it?
Vitamin C contributes to immune defence by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. It supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and promotes the oxidant scavenging activity of the skin, thereby potentially protecting against environmental oxidative stress. Vitamin C accumulates in phagocytic cells, such as neutrophils, and can enhance chemotaxis, phagocytosis, generation of reactive oxygen species, and ultimately microbial killing. It is also needed for apoptosis and clearance of the spent neutrophils from sites of infection by macrophages, thereby decreasing potential tissue damage. The role of vitamin C in lymphocytes is less clear, but it has been shown to enhance differentiation and proliferation of B- and T-cells, likely due to its gene regulating effects.
Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and a higher susceptibility to infections. In turn, infections significantly impact on vitamin C levels due to enhanced inflammation and metabolic requirements.
How can I make sure my child is getting enough?
Depending on your Childs age, the recommended dietary allowances can vary. Examples of foods high in vitamin C are kiwi, broccoli, bell peppers, red cabbage and citrus fruits so you can try to ensure these are incorporated into their diet.
When it comes to the immune system, although vitamin C is important-the immune system is extremely complex and it is not just about the vitamin and mineral status. There are many other nutrients essential for supporting the immune function. It is also essential to assess and address if those nutrients are in the right balance for the individual and if they being absorbed effectively. When there is immune imbalance, there is a lot that Nutritional Therapy can offer to help support your child through personalised and targeted supplemental support, dietary adaptions and lifestyle guidance.
I am a registered Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and specialist in Clinical Paediatric Nutrition. If you are interested in starting Nutritional Therapy for yourself, your family or your child then please contact me for more information/FREE discovery call or you can check out my services on my website.