Vitamin C and immunity: an assessment of the evidence

Clin Exp Immunol. 1978 May;32(2):370-9.


The high concentration of ascorbate in leucocytes and its rapid expenditure during infection and phagocytosis suggests a role for the vitamin in the immune process. Evidence published to date shows an involvement in the migration and phagocytosis by macrophages and leucocytes, as well as the induction and expression of delayed hypersensitivity. Its effect on antibody production and complement levels is controversial but probably minimal. This study suggests there is room for further investigation into the effect of ascorbate on immunity, particularly with defined populations, but cautions the use of megadose therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibody Formation*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid / physiology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / immunology
  • Complement System Proteins
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate
  • Interferons
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pregnancy


  • Complement System Proteins
  • Interferons
  • Ascorbic Acid