How Does Vitamin C Boost Your Immune System? with Dr. Parris Kidd

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

You may have heard that taking vitamin C can help you feel better if you take it when you start getting sick. But did you know how vitamin C works in your body? In the second episode of a series with nutrition scientist Dr. Parris Kidd, supplement class is in session. Dr. Kidd, along with Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen, describe the role vitamin C plays in our immune system, and why it’s so important for us to ensure our body has the proper levels of vitamin C to fight off illness and infection.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcasts we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years. Using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We are in immunity week. Never a more pressing time to do this. We're here with our friend and colleague, Dr. Parris Kidd, who is the Chief Science Officer at BrainMD. He just finished talking about vitamin A and the lining of your lungs, the lining of your gut, and how important vitamin A is for that. Parris, what else should people be thinking about?
Dr Parris Kidd: Well, you brought up in the last segment, how do we arm the immune cells, right? Well, not only do we have to arm them, but we have to make sure they can be mobile. And for them to be able to move alone requires that they have very high levels inside of vitamin C and certain other water-phase antioxidants, but mostly vitamin C. If they have enough vitamin C, that can actually back up antioxidants that they may not have sufficient amounts of. So they need vitamin C to be mobile. So if you set up a model, an experiment in which an immune cell is deprived of vitamin C. First it's rolling along in the Petri dish and then you take away the vitamin C and it comes to a grinding halt.
Tana Amen: Oh interesting.
Dr Parris Kidd: It's like removing the treads from a tack. You give the vitamin C back, it can move again. And that's very, very important because you can actually witness immune cells trailing. They can pick up messages from viruses and bacteria in the bloodstream or in the tissues and they actually chase them down and hopefully catch them and then kill them. Now, there are two ways they can kill them. One is to just simply gobble them up. They're bigger than the particle and they go after the particle and they take it in and then they digest it. The other way is to release ammunition and that ammunition is actually, you may be interested to hear this, a type of bleach. They generate free radical substances and they combine those substances with chlorine or bromine to make a highly damaging, highly reactive substance. Which is basically hypochlorite or hypobromides, a kind of bleach. So they make their own bleach and that can knock out the particle and then they go ahead and finish off the particles.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And just to clarify, Dr. Kidd was talking about how your immune cells create bleach to kill-
Tana Amen: It's like a by-product right?
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... the invaders, but we don't want anybody drinking bleach, or injecting bleach, just to clarify that.
Tana Amen: Yes, it needs to be a natural process.
Dr Parris Kidd: But in the process of doing that, there is a field of fire. So this is actually close-quarters confrontation and if they don't have sufficient protection inside, they themselves can also be destroyed. And that's where antioxidants come in. Now from the time that I wrote my book on antioxidants way before some of our watchers were even born, I realized that it's so very important that immune cells be well supplied with antioxidants. So here again you have vitamin C, but you also have vitamin E and you have an array of minerals that are essential for antioxidant enzymes that provide antioxidant protection. Things like zinc, copper, iron, selenium, manganese. So these are all minerals that are essential for life. They have other functions, but they're also critical for the immune cells to have sufficient antioxidant protection that they don't become inadvertent victims of their own confrontation with viruses or bacteria or fungi or whatever else is coming in and giving them trouble.
Dr Parris Kidd: So very important that they be well supplied with vitamin C and with antioxidants both for motility and to help protect them against their own attacks against foreign particles or substances or agents. And then-
Dr. Daniel Amen: How much vitamin C Parris?
Dr Parris Kidd: Well 2000 milligrams a day, if you're really under pressure and by the way, we have to think about the human body. We have to understand that the human body is a highly dynamic organism. And so all of the daily stresses that we're under, all of life really, all of living life, whether or not we're under isolation brings stresses. And those stresses tend to turn over nutrients. So the more stress we're under, the more life challenges we're under whether it's emotional, chemical, lifestyle, infection. All of those tend to deplete nutrients from the body. So this is how different people can have very, very different nutritional requirements. And it's very important to study your own body and to have a feeling for when you may be running low on something. And also to do the nutritional insurance and the nutritional insurance is fundamentally based on a really, really good multiple.
Tana Amen: Yeah, because you started to mention a whole bunch of different nutrients and unless you're like me and you don't mind taking a whole bunch of pills every day, a lot of those can be found in a really good multiple.
Dr Parris Kidd: Yeah, exactly. That's important to hear.
Tana Amen: I mean, some of them I add to my multiple, a lot of them. But you've got to have that really good basic.
Dr Parris Kidd: Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And that's why we created NeuroVite Plus. And we also have a brand new vitamin C coming out called Neuro-C. Which is a liposomal vitamin C where vitamin C is actually packed in these little fat molecules that increases the absorption-
Tana Amen: And it tastes real good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It tastes really good. So vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, all essential. You also mentioned zinc, and-
Dr Parris Kidd: Before you leave the new vitamin C product, let me just clarify a couple of things. It's a thousand milligrams of vitamin C per dose, so you can do it twice and you have as much vitamin C as you need unless you're under a really aggressive attack by an infectious agent. The other thing is that the little structures that are carrying along the vitamin C and improving the absorption are actually made of phospholipids. So these are substances that make up the outer layers of our cells, what we call the membranes. And so I've been working on cell membranes since I did my PhD thesis. And these phospholipids actually are instrumental in bringing the vitamin C into the immediate vicinity of the cell membrane and helping it to be better absorbed. So there are no fats in the liposomal vitamin C. It's these biologically active substances called phospholipids, which have their own benefits besides delivering vitamin C as well.
Tana Amen: Thank you for clarifying that. You mentioned something really important. You said, "Unless you are under attack." So let's just say we are in a position where we're really worried about being exposed to something or we are sick. How much should listeners increase their vitamin C if they are exposed to something or they're sick?
Dr Parris Kidd: Well, the turnover of vitamin C increases dramatically when a person is under any kind of infectious attack. And so a good regimen would be a gram every hour, one dose of the Neuro-C every hour. And then when you get up to about six or seven or eight grams, your bowels will begin to get a little bit loose and that tells you... That's the purely physical phenomenon, there's no chemical toxicity going on. But that tells you that there's so much vitamin C in your intestine that it's drawing water into the intestine. So at that point you pull back and wait a few hours and then do some more. And if you do it that way you're delivering a very generous dose of vitamin C to keep your immune system functioning optimally. And also vitamin C has direct antiviral effects that will actually directly kill certain viruses.
Tana Amen: Yeah. No, I love that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. We're giving them so much good information. When we come back, I want to talk about zinc. And why the president actually in one of his press conferences talked about zinc potentially helping some of the medications for COVID-19.
Tana Amen: I've been seeing that with a lot of physicians. I've actually been seeing videos go viral about physicians saying, "You need to be taking zinc and Schweppes even if you're taking medication."
Dr. Daniel Amen: Schweppes, tonic water?
Tana Amen: Yeah. So it's like-
Dr. Daniel Amen: We'll talk about that.
Tana Amen: ... this crazy thing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. Stay with us.
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