Living with Lupus

High-Dose Vitamin C, the Immune System, & Lupus

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Can high-dose vitamin C or a daily low-dose of vitamin C help manage lupus? Going beyond the common cold…

There is an ongoing debate whether or not vitamin c is a prophylaxis against the flu and the common cold. This essential nutrient, though, is vital in essential bodily functions as well as regeneration.

Vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid, is a nutrient that plays many important roles in the proper function and maintenance of your body. Vitamin C prevents disorders such as scurvy, but beyond that it is essential in the building and repair of the body’s connective tissues. Connective tissues, specifically collagen, are proteins that help to form skin, ligaments, cartilage, bones, and teeth, as well as helping to maintain blood vessels and organs.

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The possible benefits of adequate vitamin C intake range from a reduced duration of the common cold to prevention of cardiovascular disease to possible cancer prevention. Many dermatologists also instruct their patients to apply topical vitamin C onto their skin to prevent free radical damage.

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Vitamin C and Immune Systems

For #LupusWarriors, taking care of the immune system is crucial. As mentioned earlier, a lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a serious immune deficiency.

Several cells of the immune system accumulate vitamin C and need the vitamin to perform their task, especially phagocytes and t-cells. Therefore, vitamin c is not a preventive remedy, but rather a necessary one to ensure the immune system’s proper function. In the end, the immune system is what protects the body against illnesses.


Repairing Tissues

Topical vitamin C is the new essential skincare ingredient to keeping skin looking young and refreshed. This is because vitamin c has immense capabilities of building and rebuilding the body’s tissues, like how it encourages the growth of collagen. Supplemental vitamin c might assist the body in repairing damaged tissue from flares.

High-Dose Vitamin C

The debate is on whether or not daily low-dose vitamin c is better for the body than a sporadic one time high-dose of vitamin c. Some studies of IV high-dose vitamin C in patients with cancer have shown improved quality of life, as well as fewer side effects.

High-dose vitamin C may be taken by mouth or given by an intravenous (IV) infusion (through a vein into the bloodstream). When taken by IV infusion, vitamin C can reach higher levels in the blood than when the same amount is taken orally.

There’s a school of thought that high-dose vitamin c can help combat lupus flares from the onset or aid in recovery. Given what the medical community knows about vitamin c’s important role and regenerative capabilities, high-dose vitamin c might improve the quality of life for #LupusWarriors.


A Variety of Forms

To ensure you are getting enough vitamin C, make sure you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and dark green vegetables. If you think you may not be getting enough vitamin C there are supplements available over the counter.

Generally speaking, even high doses of vitamin C are easily tolerated, but with any supplement be sure to watch for adverse reactions and speak with your lupus treatment team about adding any supplements to your treatment plan. If taken orally, some possible side effects of too much vitamin C are gastrointestinal upset (most common) and headache.

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