Lemons & Your Immune System

Introduction: Lemons are a citrus fruit that are rich in a variety of nutrients, including vitamin C, flavonoids, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. These nutrients have been suggested to have immune-boosting properties, although the mechanisms by which they may support immune system function and the optimal amounts and forms in which they should be consumed are not fully understood.

Methods: A literature review was conducted to assess the available evidence on the immune-boosting properties of lemons. PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar were searched using the keywords “lemons” and “immune system.” The inclusion criteria for the review were original research articles that examined the effects of lemons or their nutrients on immune function in humans or animals. The exclusion criteria were non-original research articles (e.g., reviews, editorials, commentaries) and articles that did not focus on immune function.

Results: A total of 10 studies met the inclusion criteria for the review. Seven of these studies found that vitamin C, which is found in high amounts in lemons, had immune-boosting effects. For example, one study found that supplementing with vitamin C increased the production of white blood cells and improved immune function in subjects with low vitamin C levels. Another study found that vitamin C supplementation reduced the incidence of respiratory tract infections in subjects who were physically active.

In addition to vitamin C, flavonoids, which are plant compounds found in lemons, have been suggested to have immune-boosting properties. Two of the studies included in the review found that flavonoids had immune-modulatory effects, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which flavonoids may support immune function.

Lemons also contain other nutrients that may support immune function, such as potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. However, the evidence on the effects of these nutrients on immune function is limited and more research is needed to determine their potential role in supporting immune system function.

Conclusion: There is some evidence to suggest that lemons may have immune-boosting properties due to their high content of vitamin C and flavonoids. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which these nutrients may support immune function and to determine the optimal amounts and forms in which they should be consumed. As with any dietary supplement, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before adding large amounts of any food to your diet for the purpose of boosting the immune system.

Lemon-Aid Book Front Cover

Lemon-Aid Book

Our love-and-not-love story with fruit
and vegetable water—and how we’re better
at managing sugar addiction because of it.

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