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Boost your Immunity with Vitamin C and Zinc

Published : Jun 15, 2020
  • 0 mins read
  • Updated On : Jul 26, 2022

    How do Vitamin C and Zinc help Boost Immunity?

    With the current unprecedented Coronavirus outbreak, there is an upsurge in people buying Vitamin supplements, With Vitamin C and Zinc combination emerging as top supplements in demand.

    What happens when virus enters body?

    When a person (Host) is infected by virus, it invades the cells in order to survive and replicate. Outside the cell virus is dormant as it requires food to replicate and become active. Once virus invades cell our immune system cannot see virus and hence it becomes difficult to know which cell is infected.

    To overcome this, cells employ a unique system that allows them to show other cells that it is infected. They use something called MHC Class 1 (Class 1 major histocompatibility complex proteins) that displays fragments of proteins made by virus.

    Immune cell called T Cells circulates to find infected cell. Cytotoxic T Cell named because it kills virus infected cell with toxic mediators. They have special proteins called T Cell Receptors (TCRs) that help them to recognize the infected cell. Once the T cell receptors detects a peptide from virus, it directly warns T cell of an infection. The T cell release cytotoxic factors that enables it to kill infected cell and thereby preventing virus survival.

    While virus are highly adaptable and have found ways to avoid detection by T cells. They block the MHC molecules to reach cell surface, thereby T cells do not know that there is virus infected cell.

    However, other immune cells called Natural Killer cells or NK Cells helps to kill cells which display lesser number of MHC class 1 molecules. Also our immune cells response against viral infections by producing White Blood Cells (WBCs).

    Research on Vitamin C and Zinc

    With the recent spotlight on Vitamin C and Zinc as constituents that help boost immunity, cut down infection rate as war against current situation.

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is water soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits and green vegetables. It acts as potent antioxidant critical for skin health and immune function. Vitamin C has pleiotropic functions related to its ability to donate electron. Vitamin C contributes to immune functions by supporting various cellular functions of innate and adaptive immune functions. Vitamin C acts as a barrier against harmful pathogens and promotes antioxidant properties of the skin, Thereby helping against protection from environmental toxins and pathogens.

    Vitamin C also accumulates in phagocytic cells such as neutrophils and can enhance chemo taxis, phagocytosis and ultimately microbial killing. It has also shown to play important role in differentiation and proliferation of B and T cells. Also Vitamin C deficiency results in dysfunctional immunity and higher susceptibility to infections

    Vitamin C rich foods

    • Green Chilli
    • Guava
    • Blackcurrant
    • Red Pepper
    • Brococlli
    • Amla

    Zinc

    Zinc is a mineral required to fuel more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body that helps to maintain immune system and repairs body tissues. Zinc is an general stimulant of antiviral immunity, Scientific studies have shown that Zinc has broad spectrum antiviral activity.

    In cellular functions, such as intracellular killing of harmful pathogens, cytokine production as well as ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) production are completely dependent on Zinc and are impaired when Zinc deficiency occurs.

    Zinc rich foods

    • Meat
    • Legumes
    • Shellfish
    • Seeds
    • Nuts
    • Dairy products
    • Eggs

    Bottom Line

    In a nut shell, along with following all standard recommendation from washing your hands at regular intervals to maintaining social distancing, it is important that we maintain our immunity. 

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