While a healthy diet and regular exercise are critical for maintaining immune health, it’s also helpful to boost your immune system with vitamins and supplements.
The best way to get immune-boosting nutrients is from a nutrient-dense diet that includes plenty of whole foods. That’s because your body absorbs and uses them better from food than a supplement.
If you want to boost your immune system, vitamin C is a great place to start. This water-soluble vitamin is found naturally in foods like kiwi fruit, strawberries, bell peppers and broccoli.
Vitamin C supplements can be purchased in powder, tablet and capsule forms. They are commonly used to increase immunity, improve skin health and reduce the risk of deficiency.
However, it’s best to get your vitamin C from nutrient-dense foods rather than supplementation. These food sources have the added benefit of providing an array of other vitamins and minerals.
Because humans cannot produce vitamin C endogenously, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting enough in your diet. Studies have linked low levels of vitamin C with certain conditions, including high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke and some cancers.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin,” and it can help strengthen your immune system. You can get it naturally by spending time in the sun, but for people who are unable to do this, or if they live in a climate that restricts exposure to sunlight, supplements can be an excellent way to boost your levels.
Vitamin D helps activate T cells, which detect and destroy foreign pathogens. It also stimulates the production of peptides, called cathelicidins and defensins, which help defend your body from infection.
Several studies have found that a deficiency in Vitamin D can increase your risk of infections and diseases like tuberculosis, influenza, and viral upper respiratory tract infections.
Vitamin D is produced endogenously by your skin when ultraviolet light from the sun hits it. However, the amount of vitamin D that your body makes naturally decreases as you age and if you spend less time outdoors. Taking a daily supplement can be an easy and safe way to ensure you’re getting the recommended dose of Vitamin D for healthy immune function.
Your immune system is one of the most important parts of your body and it works hard to keep you healthy. You can boost your immune system through a number of methods, including modifying your diet and taking supplements.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for good health. It supports immunity, eyesight and reproduction. You can get it from a wide range of foods, including liver and fish oils.
It’s also found in many vegetables and fruits, as well as in eggs and dairy products. However, a deficiency in this nutrient can be a cause of serious health problems.
Taking vitamin A in combination with certain drugs can also be dangerous, so talk to your doctor about which supplements are right for you. For example, acitretin (Soriatane) and bexarotene (Targretin) are made from vitamin A and can interfere with how your body absorbs it.
The body needs several vitamins to keep the immune system healthy and functioning properly. Getting enough of them from nutrient-dense foods is the best way to boost immunity.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to prevent free radicals from damaging cells in your body. This is important for lowering your risk of cancer, heart disease and inflammatory diseases.
According to Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, of Persona, a nutrition company that offers personalized nutrition programs, “Vitamin E is one of the most effective nutrients known to modulate immune function.”
This is in part due to the fact that immune cells have polyunsaturated fat-rich membranes. When these fats are oxidized, they damage immune cells, which can lead to inflammation and autoimmune disease, says Somer.
In addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin E also promotes the production of red blood cells and can help expand your blood vessels. It can also decrease your risk of developing clots in your blood and helps protect against cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.