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Some things simply go hand-in-hand, like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, a needle and thread.
And according to scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and the Emory University School of Medicine, another pair where you can’t have one without the other is vitamin C and strong, stable immune cells.
In fact, their research has revealed a powerful connection between the vitamin we all take when we get a cold and cells called Tregs that could be the key to defeating autoimmune diseases for good.
Vitamin C plus TET proteins equal healthy Tregs
Tregs (also known as regulatory T cells) are vitally important to your health. They help control inflammation and they balance your immune system to ward off the autoimmunity that forces your body to attack itself.
This is what leads to diseases like multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and lupus.
Tregs are so important that scientists have been working to find a way to use the cells to not only treat these diseases but even prevent rejection in organ transplant patients.
However, the only way that Tregs work is if they are stable.
But while researchers have known this, they haven’t found a way to actually accomplish the goal since they have been unsure just what molecular ingredients were needed.
Well, not anymore.
Those La Jolla and Emory researchers have now proven that the missing ingredient they were searching for is vitamin C.
They discovered that the way it works is this…
When vitamin C combines with enzymes in your body known as TET enzymes, the combo can actually alter the DNA structure of Tregs to generate stable immune regulatory cells. They also change how cells “read” the DNA code.
In other words, vitamin C plus TET enzymes can work together to give Tregs their life-saving power.
“This research gives us a new way to think about treating autoimmune diseases,” says study co-first author Daniela Samaniego-Castruita, a graduate student at LJI.
Harnessing the power of vitamin C
This means that the same vitamin C we use when we get the sniffles could be what we’ve been missing to prevent or possibly even reverse autoimmune disease.
Some supplements that are especially high in vitamin C are acerola cherry and rosehip supplements. But before you reach for that bottle, make sure the supplements you’re taking are not made with sugar since glucose blocks the entry of vitamin C into your system.
And if you’re looking for another vitamin with autoimmune fighting superpowers, you may want to check out vitamin D too.
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