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 Cancer  Holistic-online.com

Alternative Medicine for Immune System Strengthening

Vitamin C

Many nutritionists consider vitamin C to be the single most important supplemental nutrient for maintaining a strong, efficient immune system and recovering from infections.

Vitamin C strengthens the immune system. It is a critical nutrient when you contract an infection. It is important for the proper functioning of white blood cells.

Dr. Linus Pauling's research, as well as that of others, showed that people taking 200 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily had fewer colds than those who were not taking Vitamin C. For the maintenance of good health, scientists recommend an optimum daily intake of 1,000 to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C. (RDA for Vitamin C is 60 milligrams.) In fact, it has been shown that taking too little supplement does not do any good and that there is a critical threshold for this supplement to be effective.

Several types of infections were successfully treated by high-dose vitamin C therapy including viral pneumonia. Vitamin C has been shown to be protective against cancer of the lung, larynx, colorectal tract, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, bladder, cervix, endometrium, and breast, as well as childhood brain tumors.

For serious infections, vitamin C must be administered intravenously by a physician.

How Vitamin C Affects Our Immune System

  1. Vitamin C enhances the body's physical and immune defenses broadly against infection.

  2. Vitamin C is essential for the activity of white blood cells. White blood cells are like soldiers in the body-they fight off invading pathogens. When there are high levels of vitamin C in the body, these white blood cells become much more active. Their ability to defend the body against harmful bacteria is enhanced. In one study, 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of daily supplementation of vitamin C was found to stimulate white blood cells' attacks on bacteria. However, lower doses of the vitamin had no noticeable effect on the action of white blood cells.

  3. Vitamin C is required by the body to synthesize collagen, which strengthens the integrity of tissues. Strong collagen reinforces the physical barriers of our body against disease-causing germs from outside. When collagen is weak or inadequate, our tissues are more permeable (hollow) and allow bacteria and bacterial toxins to infiltrate and spread.

  4. Vitamin C increases the body's production of glutathione, an antioxidant that stimulates the immune system and detoxifies bacterial waste products. Daily intake of 500 milligrams of vitamin C was found to increase the blood levels of glutathione in people by 50 percent.

  5. Several studies have shown that vitamin C increases the levels of interferon, an antiviral substance produced in the body. This increases the level of antibody in the bloodstream and boosts the activity of the thymus gland. Mega vitamin C therapy is used in the treatment of AIDS, cancer, and other diseases in which boosting the immune function is of primary importance.

  6. Vitamin C deficiency impairs the body's defenses against disease-causing microorganisms. The response of white blood cells and T cells are seriously impaired with Vitamin C deficiency. For example, white blood cells of vitamin C-deficient animals killed only 12 percent of Actinomyces, a species of bacteria. However, when vitamin C supplements were given, the numbers of bacteria decreased.

  7. Vitamin C increases the immunity and T-cell activity in elderly people who are usually deficient in Vitamin C. As we get old, our immunity decreases. Surprisingly, the same is also true of our blood and tissue levels of most vitamins. Blood levels of vitamin C are routinely below normal in the elderly, impairing T cells. Regular intravenous supplementation of vitamin C was found to increase the T-cell activity in elderly.

  8. Vitamin C supplements can reverse the effect or glucose in dampening the effectiveness of white blood cells in mopping up bacteria. Glucose interferes with the absorption of vitamin C by white blood cells. Many dietary sugars are found to reduce the ability of white blood cells to capture bacteria. Extra vitamin C counteracts this.

  9. Vitamin C increases the size of the "free radical burst," which white blood cells use to kill bacteria. During an infection, free radicals are produced faster than ordinary numbers of antioxidants can quench them. Vitamin C, in addition to increasing the free radical burst, later mops up many of the leftover free radicals.

  10. Vitamin C has a positive effect on different parts of the immune system, making it easier for the body to deal with infection. Vitamin C in large doses can prevent an infection from developing by boosting the body's immune system. If infection is already present infusion of vitamin C shortens the duration and severity of an infection. Vitamin C is vital for white blood cells to destroy invading viruses or bacteria. When high levels of vitamin C are present, white blood cells fight viruses and bacteria more effectively; when there are low levels of vitamin C in the body, this ability is reduced.

  11. Our body's need for Vitamin C increases substantially when we are under stress or under attack by infections. Infections rapidly deplete vitamin C levels in our blood. For example, within twenty-four hours of the start of a cold, vitamin C levels were found to drop from approximately 20 micrograms per 100 million cells (normal level of vitamin C in white blood cells) to half that level. After 24 hours, vitamin C levels increase gradually and return to normal by the end of the infection. Thus the most serious deficiency in vitamin C occurs at the beginning of the infection and to be effective, the supplementation should be given near the beginning. The more serious the infection is, the more severe is the depletion in vitamin C and hence the need for supplementation. We presume that Cancer infection comes under this category of more severe infection and hence the need and importance for the Vitamin C supplementation.

Dosage

Daily requirements for vitamin C vary considerably, not only among individuals, but also within the same individual from day to day. When you are healthy and feeling well, your daily requirement can be as low as 200 milligrams. Under stress, your daily requirement may rise to 1,000 milligrams.

If you are in the early stages of developing an infection, you may need even higher doses of Vitamin C.

In the treatment of an acute infection, take 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C for two days, then 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily for two days, then 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams as a daily maintenance dose for one week.

Children between the ages of six and twelve should take half of this recommended dose. For children under the age of six consult your health-care practitioner for recommended dosages.

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. The excess is excreted from the body using body's normal mechanism. So, the chance of toxicity with Vitamin C is pretty slim unless you deliberately misuse it.

The daily preventive vitamin C requirement is between 1,000 milligrams and 5,000 milligrams. Many nutritionists recommend 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C for adults as a preventative measure. Children should take doses that are slightly lower based upon their age and weight.

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