Much like how Echinacea is one of the most commonly recognised and used herbs, Vitamin C would most likely be the nutrient equivalent as most people have at some stage in their life taken or known someone who has taken a Vitamin C supplement in times of compromised immune function.
Vitamin C enhances the activity of some of our immune cells and as one of the body's most potent antioxidants, Vitamin C scavenges free radicals or toxins and removes them from circulation which reduces the chances of our body cells being damaged. When we are sick we have an increased need for Vitamin C as our immune cells, which are busy fighting off pathogens, are using it up much quicker than when we are healthy.
Vitamin C can inhibit the rapid growth of influenza virus cells, however, ensuring you have the right dose is important. Dr Elizabeth Steels in her recent MediHerb presentation reported that viruses in our body will replicate or ‘reproduce’ every 3 hours, making it necessary to ensure frequent dosing of Vitamin C during these initial stages of viral infections.
The adrenal glands - our stress centres located on top of our kidneys - have the highest stores of Vitamin C anywhere in our body and when we are stressed, such as in times of injury, busy schedules or illness, our needs for Vitamin C increase. Vitamin C is also a cofactor in collagen production which means that it helps to form connective tissues like our skin and so when we have wounds, cuts or even pimples, Vitamin C aids in the repair work.
Vitamin C, luckily for us, is found in some of the yummiest fresh foods like strawberries, kiwifruits, oranges, capsicums, broccoli and brussel sprouts, which means it is easy to incorporate into our diet to help prevent getting sick and to counter the impact of lurking winter invaders.