Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is a vital nutrient for health. It helps form and maintain bones, skin, and blood vessels. It is also an antioxidant.
Vitamin C plays essential roles in joint health and immune function that may benefit people with autoimmune disorders. A growing body of research suggests the vitamin may ease pain, reduce inflammation, and protect against cellular damage.
Inflammation, a primary feature in autoimmunity, may be mediated through adequate vitamin C intake, according to research published in 2019. This antioxidant helps get rid of free radicals that can damage cells and tissue, which means fewer triggers for inflammation.
You can't make a banana split without bananas. And you can't generate stable regulatory T cells without Vitamin C or enzymes called TET proteins, it appears.
Vitamin C appears to play a role in halting disease progression by short-circuiting the damaging autoimmune response. Research suggests that with some autoimmune diseases, particularly lupus, that ascorbate in massive doses is very helpful.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) help control inflammation and autoimmunity in the body. Tregs are so important, in fact, that scientists are working to generate stable induced Tregs (iTregs) in vitro for use as treatments for autoimmune diseases as well as rejection to transplanted organs.
Any disease that has symptoms of inflammation, which are mediated by free radicals, cannot help but be benefited by eliminating those free radicals as much as possible.
Vitamin C may also help to reduce joint pain associated with arthritis. The antioxidant's role of vitamin C in pain reduction was explored in a 2017 study.
According to researchers, vitamin C possesses analgesic properties that appear to work along similar pathways as opioids. The micronutrient was found to ease pain under a wide range of conditions that include trauma, cancer, and neuralgia.
In addition, the study authors noted that patients taking vitamin C alongside opioids for post-surgical pain required less medication for relief than those not taking the vitamin. They suggest it could be used to reduce medication intake for other conditions as well.
Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen and is present in skin, muscle, and other tissues.
People with a low intake of vitamin C may experience slower wound healing, as their bodies will be less able to produce collagen. During times of recovery, healthcare professionals may recommend supplements for people with low vitamin C levels.
Psoriasis is a skin disease marked by inflammation across the body and dense, scaly patches. Some practitioners suggest that dietary choices can improve or worsen the severity of the condition.
While the immune system has a key role to play in causing its characteristic scaly patches, researchers have often linked psoriasis to diseases that increase the risk of heart problems, known as metabolic diseases.
Oxidative stress occurs when the body has an imbalance between free radical activity and antioxidant activity. It’s been found that oxidative stress increases in the body while fighting psoriasis. Increased occurrences of vitamin C in the body have been found to help control oxidation in the body.
A case study of one participant with severe psoriasis found that increased vitamin C eradicated the person’s psoriasis within 6 months.
Vitamin C is sold as a dietary supplement at most pharmacies and health food stores. However, the current research into the benefits of vitamin C on patients with autoimmune disorders is based on dietary intake.
Meeting the recommended daily allowance (RDA)—90 milligrams (mg) a day for men and 75 mg a day for women, but to note that this is for people not suffering from disorders. Some experts believe that people should consume much more than the recommended daily allowance for good health. One scientific editorial suggests that 200 mg per day is an optimal amount for most adults.
The best source of Vitamin C would be organic whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. You shouldn’t box yourself into only consuming the obvious.
Many superfoods contain a much higher amount of vitamins than the typical citrus. For example, moringa contains 4 times more vitamin C than an orange. Turmeric, guavas, and certain species of plum and cherries, as well, have at least 3 times more vitamin C than citrus fruits. These are relatively easy to incorporate into your diet.
Aside from being rich in vitamin C, these superfoods have antioxidants, anti inflammatory, and antifungal properties that help the body achieve its optimal health. Doctors recommend autoimmune patients taking organic superfood supplements to manage autoimmunity easier.