The body’s first line of defense, the physical barrier created by the skin, relies on vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, an important type of connective tissue.** Collagen creates the structural framework of the skin to promote skin integrity, helping to effectively keep unwanted substances from entering the body.
Vitamin C’s important role in immune health does not stop at the surface.** During the initial stages of the immune response, white blood cells of the innate immune system start the inflammatory response as one means of dealing with unwelcomed visitors. In a state of inflammation, an abundance of free radicals can be produced.
Free radicals are unstable compounds that can interfere with a normal cell’s ability to function optimally. Free radicals cannot differentiate between your own healthy cells and the target of your immune system so they can end up damaging your own cells. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals.** It also helps to regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E to their active state to maintain antioxidant support.**
In addition to supporting skin integrity and antioxidant health, vitamin C is essential for the optimal functioning of white blood cells.** During an immune response, white blood cells go through a process of rapid division and multiplication. Vitamin C supports the production of the important B and T cells of the adaptive immune response.** It also helps special types of cells of the innate immune system called phagocytes do their job, engulfing unwanted compounds.**