School’s back in session, and with all the unknowns this year, the tension is high. Typically, this time of year marks an increase in stress levels, and given the worldly situation- back to school 2020 has a few additional stressors.
When we think of going back to school, any given year, the immune system is something that needs to be mentioned. September quickly segways into cold and flu season, and the close quarters allow for the easy spread of bacteria and viruses. Therefore, thinking of ways such as vitamin C to prep the immune system is vital.
An often-overlooked concept in regards to immune function is the impact that stress has on immunity. The relationship between stress and colds, flus, bacterial and viral infections and vitamin C gives us insight into how we can prime out immune systems this season- protecting us, others and those we love.
Simply put, stress negatively impacts immune function and vitamin C levels. Ensuring adequate baseline levels of vitamin C, while working to manage stress has a profound impact on the immune system and susceptibility to pathogenic infections. Each Lypo-Spheric® sachet contains 1000mg of bioavailable vitamin C to help you sustain health and peace of mind!
Stress and the Immune System
Intuitively we probably know that chronic stress isn’t a friend to the body, but just how negatively does stress impact us?
When the body is under stress, a message is sent to the adrenals to release stress hormones, the most common being cortisol. Cortisol is a chemical messenger that signals the immune system to power down. Because of this, when stress levels are high, immune function is suppressed.
The stress response is meant to be short lived. Its main goal is to keep us alive in the short term and it does this at the extend of functions needed for long term survival such as digestion and immunity. We can see how being stressed for days, weeks or months can leave us more susceptible to infections and illness.
In addition to communicating to the immune system to take a back seat, stress also reduces vitamin C levels- a vitamin critical to immune function.
Vitamin C and the Immune System
Vitamin C is used to both prevent occurrence and reduce the duration of bacterial and viral infections. It has several implications in the immune system that involve supporting various immune cells, producing antigens and directly attacking viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin C has clinically been shown to have over 20 functions in the immune system alone and plays a large role in the ability for the body to fight off pathogens. The caveat to this, is that vitamin is C is also used in the stress response- and as we’ve learned, fight or flight takes precedence over immune function.
Vitamin C and Stress
When the stress response is activated, levels of vitamin C in the body plummet. This is because vitamin c is used by the adrenals to make the stress hormone, cortisol.
Humans are one of the only mammals that don’t produce their own vitamin c. In fact, mammals that are able to synthesize vitamin c produce up to 13x more when they are in stressful situations. This suggests that during stressful periods we have an increased need for vitamin C.
Vitamin C influences the way we perceive stress. Research shows that those who have high baseline levels of vitamin C don’t exhibit the mental and physiological effects of stress to the extent that individuals with lower blood concentrations do- which reduces the negative effects stress has on the immune system.
Adequate levels of vitamin C decrease the amount of cortisol secreted when we are stressed, having an immune protective effect.
In addition, higher intakes of vitamin C are associated with an increased ability to biologically “bounce back” after a stressful episode. Meaning, cortisol is able to leave the body faster, reducing the time the immune system is suppressed.
Vitamin C plays a role in the physiology of stress, but according to the research also serves as protection against the negative effects of stress.
Ways to Reduce Stress, Preserve Vitamin C and Increase Immunity
– Breath work such as alternate nostril breathing helps the body to get out of the fight or flight state
– Talking with a close friend or family member can help us release hormones and chemicals that promote relaxation
– Exercising has been shown to reduce stress levels and has a positive effect on regulating the stress response
– Journaling can help us process emotions and stress
Stock up on Lypo-Spheric® Vitamin C and breath, together we can make this back to school season a breeze!
Author: Lisa Kowalyk, B.Kin, CNP