Supplementing with vitamin C rejuvenates the immune system of the elderly

They identify “an immunity typical of thirty” by administering 500 mg daily for three months

Supplementing with vitamin C for three continuous months rejuvenates the immune system of the elderly, as shown by a team of Spanish researchers.

Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the La Paz University Hospital (Madrid) have found that an amount of 500 milligrams a day is very beneficial for the immune system of people over 75 years of age, and they have described for the first time that the ideal duration of this supplement should be three months so that the beneficial effects last for at least half a year.

The results of the research have been published in the journal ‘Experimental Gerontology’, the Complutense University reported this Tuesday, which explained that although the differences in the effects of this vitamin supplement between men and women were not very significant, they were appreciated. some distinctions according to gender.

“The values ​​of the functional capacities of the immune system in older people manage to resemble those of young adults; the supplement makes septuagenarians present an immunity typical of their thirties”, said Mónica de la Fuente, director of the research group Aging, Neuroimmunology and Nutrition from this University.

When differentiating the results by gender, the researchers have verified that vitamins seem to have greater positive effects in women, although it is in men who are observed to have greater maintenance of these effects after completing the supplementation.

Mónica de la Fuente has highlighted the importance of this research, since immune functions are markers of health and life expectancy, and they provide a good strategy to increase the healthy longevity of the elderly.

Improving immunity in old age is also important, the researcher stressed, to help the elderly population to face situations such as the current ones, “in which it is essential to be better prepared to defend themselves against an infection.”
Researchers have also verified the effects of supplementation with vitamin E (about 200 milligrams per day), and have shown that the joint use of the two (C and E) yields similar results to those obtained only when supplementing the elderly with vitamin C.

This would mean, according to De la Fuente, that 500 milligrams a day of vitamin C are enough to achieve this immune improvement and that a higher intake of antioxidants would not be necessary.

Even so, “the data support that the use of these two vitamins also generates positive effects, and does not imply an excess of antioxidants,” he clarified.

Although there are foods, typical of the Mediterranean diet, that contain these vitamins (citrus fruits, nuts, vegetables, or olive oil), researchers have explained that some supplementation is recommended among the elderly to be able to have the amounts of antioxidants that allow combating oxidative stress and inflammation typical of the age.

This “stress” occurs due to excess oxidants in the body, and as we age there are an increase and a decrease in the activity of antioxidants, which is why the ingestion of antioxidant compounds is convenient, the researchers have pointed out.

” Both vitamin C and E are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize excess oxidants and thus achieve what is called ‘redox balance’, which allows the proper functioning of our physiological systems”, and especially that of the immune system has concluded the expert from the University.