Many Americans live with a weakened or compromised immune system due to age, stress levels and even external environmental factors like bacteria, sun exposure and air pollution. While the immune system benefits of Vitamin C have been long celebrated, Vitamin E also plays a big part in your body’s immune system response.
Read on to get acquainted with some of the surprising benefits of this lesser known but incredibly important nutrient. Plus, you’ll learn why Vitamin E and Vitamin C make an effective combo that boosts your body’s immunity.
Prevailing antioxidant properties
In recent years, there’s been a major buzz surrounding Vitamin E’s role as a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radicals that can wreak havoc on cells throughout the body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that seek out other atoms or molecules to bond to so that they can become stable.
While it’s actually healthy to have some free radicals in your body, an overabundance of them can cause oxidative stress which occurs when there’s an imbalance between free radical and antioxidant activity.
Since oxidative stress is believed to contribute to the development of degenerative diseases including arthritis, asthma, cancer, dementia and diabetes, keeping free radicals in check is extremely important. Vitamin E helps the body do just that by limiting free radical production. It’s stored in tissues throughout the body and is released on an as-needed basis to fight free radicals and contribute to the overall health of your cells.
Assistance with T cell production
Vitamin E also plays an important role in the growth of t cells. It supports healthy T cells by improving membrane integrity, signal transduction and cell division.
Why are T cells important? They directly fight infection, fending off infected cells and signaling your immune system to meet the threat with an effective response. Studies show that Vitamin E is a necessary nutrient for helping your body fight infection and prevent infections from occurring in the first place. Healthy T cell counts are a measure of good immunity.
Vitamin E and Vitamin C are a powerhouse combo
Vitamin C is perhaps the most effective immune system booster, and it’s essential for the growth and repair of tissue throughout the body. It works to encourage the production of white blood cells that fend off infection.
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C fights free radicals just like Vitamin E does. Meeting your recommended daily intake of both vitamins is like a one-two punch that not only keeps infection away, it may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease, as well as support healthy aging.
Vitamin C isn’t stored by the body, unlike Vitamin E, which is fat-soluble and stored in tissues. For this reason, it’s important to be mindful of your daily intake of Vitamin C for promoting good health. Since this nutrient is readily available in so many foods, it’s usually not hard for people to meet their recommended daily value with diet alone. Eat plenty of citrus and leafy green vegetables, and follow a balanced diet that includes berries, potatoes and dairy. Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of Vitamin C a day.
Feel a cold coming on? Fortify your immune system!
Whether you’re in the midst of cold and flu season or you’re just feeling a bit under the weather, increasing your daily Vitamin E intake may give your immune system a much-needed boost.
While the recommended daily value of Vitamin E is 15mg per day for the average adult, many people don’t come close to hitting that number on a daily basis. You can increase your daily intake of this nutrient by changing your diet and eating more leafy green vegetables; fish; and pressed oils like sunflower, safflower, hazelnut and almond. That said, it can be tough to get enough Vitamin E from food sources alone—especially if you have allergies to nuts or certain oils.
Many people benefit from taking a regular Vitamin E supplement—it’s simple to incorporate into your daily diet, whether you take it as a gel capsule, powder or oil. If you feel that you could benefit from a Vitamin E supplement, always check in with your doctor to make sure that it’s right for you. While all-natural Vitamin E supplements are generally very safe, it’s always smart to check with your doctor when adding a supplement to your routine. Reach out to your physician and give your immune system a boost with this immune-boosting nutrient.