Sugar, Vitamin C and Immunity

Vitamin C plays a key role in supporting your immune system to fend off viruses and bacteria. Also known as ascorbate or ascorbic acid, this vitamin cannot be made in the body and must therefore be regularly eaten as part of your diet.

But did you know that sugar can stop vitamin C from getting into your cells?

For either glucose (sugar) or vitamin C to enter the cells, they dock onto receptors on the cell surface, which then opens a gateway, allowing them into the cell. And because sugar and vitamin C are similar in chemical structure, they use the same receptors and compete with one another.

Now, for the receptors to work, the body needs glucose to act as a trigger. But because glucose engages with the receptor more readily than vitamin C, the higher your blood sugar, the less vitamin C is able to get into your cells. And the less vitamin C that’s available in your cells, the less quickly your immune cells can respond when needed, which can potentially mean an increased likelihood of catching a pesky cold or virus.

Boost your immunity by reducing the amount of sugar you’re consuming and amp up on your intake of vitamin C. Eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods such as broccoli, cantaloupe, parsley, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries and tomatoes, and take it easy on refined foods like crisps, cookies, chocolate and doughnuts.

Finding it hard to give up sugar? Discover some strategies to help you reduce your sugar load without having to give up all your favourite foods. Email LimeSt.FitnessCentre@willistowerswatson.com to book a consultation with Veronica Lim who is partnered with PTF as our nutritionist.

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