Though vitamins are micronutrients, we need them to stay healthy. Most of them are not synthesized by our body, thus they're obtained through diet. All food groups are rich in one vitamin or other. In case of deficiency of either vitamin, several problems such as blindness, diabetes, weak bones, heart & Alzheimer's disease may occur. Moreover, vitamins for the immune system boost it and protect you against infections, here are some of them:
1. Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is crucial for sight, gut tolerance, energy production and innate as well as adaptive immunity. Research has shown that its deficiency accounts for the increased mortality in infants, children and pregnant women. Vitamin A can be found in a variety of foods, such as vegetables, fruits, milk and eggs.
2. Vitamin B1:
Also known as thiamine, vitamin B1 stabilizes neurological processes and prevents alcohol-induced brain damage, thus it is a immune system boosting vitamin. It is found in bread, cereals, whole grains, meat and fish.
3. Vitamin B2:
Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. It breaks down proteins, carbohydrates and fats allow oxygen to be used by the body. It is necessary for the function of the skin. Deficiency of riboflavin can result in anaemia, sore throat, swelling of lips and soft tissues and inflammation of the skin. It is found in eggs, dairy products, meat and some vegetables.
4. Vitamin B3:
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, helps the nervous system, digestive system and skin to stay healthy. It's found in many dairy products and cereal grains and helps treat pellagra. Whereas its overdose may result in many side effects, it helps the general immunity of the body if taken in the required dose.
5. Vitamin B5:
Also known as pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 is necessary for the production of blood cells. It is involved, along with vitamin B1 and vitamin B2, helps host immunity by energy generation of immune cells and its deficiency, though rare, can result in dermatitis.
6. Vitamin B6:
Deficiency of vitamin B6 can cause many inflammatory diseases, common allergy and rheumatoid arthritis. It is found in chicken, tofu, fish and potatoes. It helps with several cellular metabolic processes.
7. Vitamin B7:
Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, acts as a cofactor to a number of enzymes and influences immuno-metabolism thus is called a immune system vitamin. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and its deficiency can result in inflammatory responses. It is found in nuts, beans and oils of seeds.
8. Vitamin B9:
Vitamin B9 – folate or folic acid – is found in green leafy vegetables and beef. It’s highly required by blood cells and its deficiency can result in anaemia. It’s a survival factor for Treg cells that play a pivotal role in the prevention of excessive immune response.
9. Vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin because it contains cobalt. It plays an important role in the formation of nucleic acids, especially neurons. Its deficiency results in numbness of hands and feet. It is an immune system boosting vitamin because it contributes to the formation of T cells. It is found in beef liver, eggs, fish and chicken.
10. Vitamin C:
Another immune system vitamin is vitamin C. It improves brain concentration, facilitates in the absorption of iron, manages emotional and physical pressure and prevents physiological disorders such as scurvy. Moreover, it facilitates absorption of calcium, helping make bones stronger. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, broccoli etc. are good sources of the immune system vitamin.
11. Vitamin D:
One of the most important immune system boosting vitamins is vitamin D. Its deficiency increases the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, heart and other debilitating diseases. Thus, it is vital for the development of teeth, bones, muscles and immunity. It can be found in cheese, egg yolks and fatty fish. Vitamin D is currently the most researched vitamin due to its potential benefits.
12. Vitamin D3:
Vitamin D3 is found in fish, sunlight and dairy products. It helps absorb calcium and phosphorous, and thus eventually maintains bone health. Vitamin D3 also plays an important role in the regulation of immune cells.
13. Vitamin E:
Studies suggest that the immune system boosting vitamins such as vitamin E might reduce the risk of skin cancer. Moreover, its antioxidant properties protect tissues from a number of diseases. Nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables are abundant supplies of vitamin E.
14. Vitamin K:
Vitamin K is essential for the proper production of anti-coagulation proteins and homeostasis. It stops excessive bleeding and prevents osteoporosis as well as cancer. Green vegetables, fish, liver, meat, eggs and cereals are rich in vitamin K.
15. Vitamin P:
Also known as flavonoids, they exist in many plants, comprising of many fruits we eat. Its most important action is that of antioxidant and reduces the formation of free radicals thus helps to prevent cell damages and many diseases—thus fulfilling its role as a vitamin for the immune system. It also maintains brain health.
A few guidelines:
If you want to take vitamin supplements instead of from food, you should follow a few guidelines. Do not overdose and store the vitamins properly. Avoid exposing them to sunlight, moisture and harsh weather conditions. Make sure to check the expiry date before buying any vitamin. Their forms vary from tablets to chewy gummy bears. Find whatever is easier for you to take. Avoid drinking coffee before taking a vitamin as it inhibits nutrient absorption.
Most of these vitamins can be obtained through our diet and are more important for us as we grow older. These are essential nutrients as they perform a lot of roles in the body such as boosting immune system and healing wounds. However, consumption in high amounts can be toxic. The aforementioned vitamins can be obtained from a single tablet in the form of multivitamin or from healthy food such as meat, eggs, green vegetables and fruits. So an intake of vitamins in regulated doses is an absolute necessity for the body.