Vitamins and minerals for the immune system, which Vitamins and minerals? Several Vitamins and minerals play key roles to improve your immune system to protect against certain infections, illnesses, inflammation, and probably some cancers . This article discusses the several boosting properties of various micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals for immune system.
The immune system defends individuals from infectious agents acquired either from noxious insults or the environment. When either one happens, our body depends on two pathways to defend itself: the innate and the adaptive; both initiate the immune response cells such as macrophages, lymphocytes, and polymorphonuclear cells and the up-regulation of blood-borne factors (such as cytokines and antibodies) . The immune functions are influenced by gender, age, level of exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, stress, obesity, menstrual cycle, diet, and so on. Besides, obesity and overnutrition lessen your immunity. Also, you may read: How to improve immune system?
Vitamins particularly vitamin A, B6, B9 (folate), B12, C, D, E as well as minerals particularly copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc which play key, often synergistic roles at each phage of the immune response. Vitamin, Pro-vitamin, Antivitamin?
The common mechanism of action of vitamins and minerals for immune system to initiate its functions :
- Maintenance of structural and functional integrity of mucosal cells in innate barriers (for example, skin, respiratory tract).
- Differentiation, proliferation, functioning, and movement of innate immune cells.
- Antimicrobial effects.
- Roles in inflammation, antioxidant effects, and effects in an oxidative burst.
- Differentiation, proliferation, and normal functioning of T cells.
- Antibody production and development.
- Responses to an antigen.
Table of Contents
Vitamins for the immune system
Both Vitamins and minerals for the immune system are essential those exist in a proper diet that may protect against certain infections, illnesses, and inflammation.
Vitamin A for immune system
Vitamin A the fat-soluble vitamin is involved in the improvement of the immune system  and shows regulatory roles in humoral antibody responses as well as innate and cellular immune responses . Also, vitamin A improves antibody titers in humans . Vitamin A may enhance resistance to carcinogens and infection as well as enhance white blood functions. You may take vitamin A from natural sources or supplements. Best 27 Natural Sources of Vitamin A and Its Benefits, Daily Dose.
Natural sources of vitamin A
- Cantaloupe, Carrots, Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli), Red peppers, Sweet potatoes, and Pumpkin,
- Dairy products,
- Eggs, and Fortified cereals .
Example of Vitamin A supplements:
- Aquasol A Capsule, Arovit Vitamine A Tablet, and C-Mask Pack (Patch) etc.
Vitamin B6 to strengthen immunity
Vitamin B6 insufficiency in your body may impair lymphocyte differentiation, growth, and maturation as well as impair T-cell function, serum antibody production, and decrease thymus gland size . It has roles in both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses [2, 4]. A dose (50 mg/day or 100 mg/day) of vitamin B6 supplementation was given 51 patients which could compensate for the lack of responsiveness of plasma PLP (Pyridoxal phosphate, the active form of vitamin B₆) and also improve the immune response of critically ill patients . You may take vitamin B6 from natural sources or supplements.
Natural sources of Vitamin B6: Fruits (other than citrus), Potatoes, Salmon, Chickpeas, and Tuna .
Example of Vitamin B6 supplement:
- B6 250 Caplet, B-6 Caps 250mg, B6 Tablets, and B6 400mg Ctr Tablet etc.
Folic acid (vitamin B9) to strengthen immunity
Folic acid (vitamin B9) may improve the function of immune cells such as macrophages or T and B lymphocytes . An insufficiency of folic acid in our body can also weaken the immunity, such as by hampering the development of antibodies or new immune cells . Also, Folic acid maintains the Th1-mediated immune response  and regulates the concentration of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood, which in large quantities can damage cells.
Natural sources of Vitamin B9
- Avocados, Asparagus, Beans and peas, Enriched grain products (for example bread, cereal, pasta, rice), Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach),
- Liver, kidney, and yeast .
Example of Vitamin B9 supplement
- Acide Folique 5 Tabet, Folic Acid 0.4 mg Tablet, and Lexpec 2.5 mg/5ml Oral Solution.
Vitamin B12 to strengthen immunity
Vitamin B12 also plays a key role in immune function. Due to insufficiency of vitamin B12 in our body, white blood cells cannot mature and multiply because it is responsible for cell division and cell growth. Probably, the low serum concentration of vitamin B12 had impaired antibody responses .
Natural sources of Vitamin B12
- Dairy products, Fortified cereals, Meat, Eggs, Poultry, and Seafood (such as clams, trout, salmon, haddock, and tuna) .
Example of Vitamin B12 supplement
- B-12 1000 Inj 1000 mcg/ml,
- Bedoz 1000 inj,
- Forphyll 3 mcg,
- B-plex, B12 1000 mcg,
- Gsf Tab 24 mcg,
- Puro Sang Tab 1mcg, and Vit B12 Tab 500 mcg.
Vitamin C for a healthy immune system
Vitamin C helps to form your immune system  and it is one of the principal immune system promoters of all. Daily administration of 1 – 2 grams of vitamin C reduced the duration of colds by 14% in children and 8% in adults. Vitamin C helps the production of WBC (white blood cells) or improves the function of certain WBC which are important to fight with infections .
It can help to maintain healthy skin that provides a first-line barrier to microorganisms. Certainly, Vitamin C is used rapidly by WBC during bouts of infections, so the level of vitamin C diminishes. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system by increasing the T lymphocyte proliferation in response to infection increasing the synthesis of immunoglobulins and cytokine production and increase neutrophil chemotaxis in both healthy adults and children . Natural sources and supplements of vitamin C:
Natural sources of Vitamin C
- Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit), Broccoli, sprouts, Cantaloupe, Brussels, Kiwifruit, Strawberries, Peppers, and Tomatoes .
Example of Vitamin C supplement
- Ascor, Acti-scorb 500 Caplet, Acerotab, Ascorbic Acid Powder, and Aromacura Shower Filter etc.
Vitamin D to boost the immune system
Vitamin D helps to enhance your immune system . It can modify both innate and adaptive immunity. Vitamin D helps the production of immune cells particularly B cells, T cells, and antigen-presenting cells, which are all capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D metabolite. However, its deficiency may raise your chances of getting sick like an acute respiratory infection . Vitamin D has a mild protective effect against respiratory tract infections in most people, but provide a protective effect in those who had a very deficiency of Vitamin D [11, 12].
In addition, Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an up to 40% higher risk of developing respiratory tract infections [13, 14] or influenza . In one randomized controlled investigation of patients with a weakened immune system, it was possible to demonstrate that daily receiving of 4,000 I.U. of vitamin D3 for one year significantly decreased the rate of recurrent respiratory tract infections . You may take vitamin D from natural sources or supplements.
Natural sources of Vitamin D
- Eggs, Fish (such as herring, salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna), Fish liver oil, cod liver oil,
- Fortified cereals,
- Margarine (Fortified),
- Fortified dairy products,
- Orange juice (Fortified),
- Mushroom, and Fortified soy beverages (soymilk) .
Example of Vitamin D supplement:
- D Caps, Ostoforte capsule, Theraplex D Tab, and Vitamine D tablet etc.
Vitamin E for a healthy immune system
It is a potent antioxidant and immune booster . Vitamin E helps in the differentiation of immature T cells by increasing positive selection by thymic epithelial cells, which results in the enrichment of reduced cellular immunity in the aged . In animal and human models under disease and normal conditions, its Immunomodulatory effects have been observed . In addition, Daily intake of 400 IU – 800 IU has lessened infections meaningfully in older adults . You may take vitamin E from natural sources or supplements.
Natural sources of Vitamin E
- Nuts, seeds, peanuts, and peanut butter,
- Fortified cereals and juices,
- green vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli), and vegetable oils .
Example of Vitamin E supplement
- Acti-copherols 200 Cap, E 400 IU, and E 200 Cap Natural 200 unit.
Minerals for immune system
Copper to boost the immune system
The body immune system needs copper to perform numerous functions such as functions of neutrophils, monocytes , and macrophages (for example, to combat certain infectious agents copper accumulates in phagolysosomes of macrophages  as well as improve NK cell activity . However, a reduction in interleukin 2 and T cell proliferation is occurred in mild to moderate deficiency. The number of neutrophils in human peripheral blood is lessened and their capacity to produce superoxide anion and kill ingested microorganisms is decreased in severe states of deficiency .
Natural sources of Copper
- Chocolate and cocoa,
- Crustaceans and shellfish
- Nuts and seeds,
- Organ meats (such as liver),
- Whole grains and, Lentils .
Example of the Copper supplement
- Micro Cu solution,
- Chela Copper Tablet,
- Chelazome Copper Capsule,
- Copper Chelate Tablet, and ParaGard T 380A (Intrauterine device) etc.
Iron to boost the immune system
Iron is an essential mineral for the development of immunity . After definite administration of iron fewer infections were observed . Certainly, Iron is essential for immune cell proliferation and maturation, principally lymphocytes, linked with the generation of a specific response to infection. Also, iron is needed for the proliferation of parasites, bacteria, and neoplastic cells. However, the bacteriostatic mechanisms of the immune system of our body can decrease the iron availability to be consumed by infectious elements, by proteins such as transferrin and lactoferrin. [23, 24]. You may take Iron from natural sources or supplements.
Natural sources of Iron
- Eggs, Meat, Organ meats (such as liver), Poultry,
- Seafood (for example tuna, haddock, sardines, shrimp, and oysters),
- Fruits (such as raisins and prunes),
- Green vegetables (for example spinach, broccoli, kale, and collard greens),
- Peas, Nuts, Seeds,
- Soy products (such as tofu),
- Whole grain, Beans, enriched and fortified bread, pasta, cereals, and rice etc .
Examples of the iron supplement
- Iron Chews,
- Fe-chelate Tablet, and Iron Chelate 25 mg.
Magnesium to boost your immune system
Magnesium has a strong connection with the immune system , in both nonspecific and specific immune response, also called as innate and acquired immune response . Probably, Magnesium associates with DNA replication and repair , maintains leukocyte activation , IgM lymphocyte binding , roles in antigen binding to macrophages , linked in the regulation of apoptosis , cofactor in antibody synthesis, roles in antibody-dependent cytolysis. You may take Magnesium from natural sources or supplements.
Natural sources of Magnesium
- Avocados, beans, peas, green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), whole grains, potatoes,
- Fruits (such as bananas and raisins),
- Dairy products,
- Nuts and pumpkin seeds etc .
Example of Magnesium supplement
- Acti Mag 250 Caplet,
- Chelated Magnesium 150 mg Tablet,
- Magnelis, and Chelazome Magnesium 100 mg.
Selenium to boost immunity
Selenium is strong antioxidant influences the innate and acquired immune systems. [1, 2]. Dietary selenium is a vital micronutrient that affects various aspects of human health, including optimal immune responses . Selenium helps in the regulation of the immune system and of inflammatory processes , the formation of signaling molecules (cytokines), maintain antibody levels , and the activation of natural killer cells. Also, It acts as a component of the selenoproteins essential for the antioxidant host defense system, affecting NK cell and leukocyte function . However, Selenium deficiency can contribute to an increase in susceptibility to bacterial infections or viral infections like influenza  and to an elevated risk of complications from infections .
Natural sources of Selenium
- Nuts (such as Brazil nuts) and seeds,
- Enriched pasta and rice, and whole grains,
- Meats, eggs, poultry, and seafood .
Example of Selenium supplement
- Davinci Selenium Tablet 50mcg,
- Bio Selenium Tablet 50 mcg, and Selenium 100 – Caplet etc.
Zinc to strengthen immunity
People who have an insufficiency of zinc are highly susceptible to cold, flu, and other viral infection. Daily intake of more than 75 mg Zinc can reduce the duration of the common cold by an average of 33% . Zinc has immunologic properties and it helps proliferating cells, specifically in the immune system. Also, It influences both innate and adaptive immune functions. It enhances the skin and mucosal membrane integrity, and the unbound form of zinc ions has a direct antiviral effect on rhinovirus replication. In addition, Zinc supplementation boosts cellular components of innate immunity, antibody response, and the number of cytotoxic CD8+T cells . You may take Zinc from natural sources or Zinc supplements.
Natural sources of Zinc
- Beans, peas, Nuts, and Whole grains,
- Dairy products,
- Fortified cereals,
- Beef, Poultry, and Seafoods (such as clams, crabs, lobsters, oysters) etc .
Example of Zinc supplement
- Zin Pro Tablet,
- Acti-ZN 25 Caplet,
- Chelated Zinc Tablets,
- Fisherman’s Friend Zinc Lozenges,
- Halls Zinc Defense, and Zinc Sulfate Tablet etc.
In conclusion, remember that if you are administering a balanced and varied diet you may be able to get all of these vitamins and minerals for immune system. Probably, this is the prudent way of balancing both macronutrients and micronutrients such as Vitamins and minerals for immune system. Finally, leave a comment about vitamins and minerals for immune system.
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