The best vitamins for your immune system, according to experts

We are constantly hearing About the importance of help immune system. And, Social media Full of tips on how to do it, from Adaptogenic shots to Apple cider vinegar to asleep hacks. some of those # O Lord The tips are great, but some are not so great. (And you can’t really “boost” your immunity, as you’ll soon learn.)

Really, one of the best ways to keep your immune system Health is also one of the simplest things: by making sure you get the right nutrients. However, the immune system is complex, and nutrition is not the only factor that raises your immunity.

“Nutritious foods can strengthen the immune system—however, it would be somewhat wrong to say that any one vitamin, or a special diet alone, can significantly improve an individual’s immune health,” she says. Marilyn Berger, RDClinical Dietician at CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

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“The immune system is a little more complex than that,” she adds. “There are many other factors that influence immune health, such as physical activity, Stressage, and the presence of medical conditions.”

The immune system is a network of organs, white blood cells, proteins, and chemicals that… Cooperate to protect you from bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and other invaders that can make you sick. It has two parts: the innate immune system, which you’re born with, and the adaptive immune system, which you develop when you’re exposed to microbes.

“There are definitely ways to improve your immune system,” he says. Louis Malino, MDan internist affiliated with MDVIP in Baltimore, Maryland. Vitamins, especially in supplement form, are just “one small crumb of what I consider important ingredients for boosting your immune system.”

But, if you are looking to increase your intake of nutrients for your health, these are the best vitamins for your immune system.

The best vitamins for your immune system

Choosing whole, nutrient-dense foods, Berger says, provides the most essential vitamins, minerals, and properties to keep you healthy. Here are the most important vitamins for your immune system:

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C It gets a lot of attention for its immune-boosting properties, and for good reason. It is a powerful antioxidant that encourages the production of white blood cells, which protect you from infections. “It’s a kind of bulletproof the white blood cells,” says Dr. Malino.

Your body doesn’t naturally produce vitamin C, Berger says, so you need to include it in your diet.

Food sources: Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), berries, tomatoes, watermelon, broccoli, and peppers.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E It protects you from free radicals, which can cause disease, and helps the body fight infection, says Berger. Search It is shown to be one of the most important nutrients in immune function and helps T cells, a type of white blood cell, to function at their best.

Food sources: Nuts (especially almonds and peanuts), nut butters, seeds, wheat germ oil, spinach, mangoes and kiwis.

Vitamin A

Berger says that vitamin A keeps the tissues of your stomach, intestines, respiratory tract, mouth, and skin healthy, and helps you fight off infectious diseases. beta carotenefound in orange, yellow, and leafy green vegetables, is a great source of vitamin A and also supports eye health.

Food sources: Carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, squash, leafy green vegetables, fish oil, milk, and eggs.

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Many people don’t get enough zincEspecially those who stick to a plant-based diet because most food sources rich in zinc are animal products, says Dr. Malino. It is a mineral with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and research calls it “Gatekeeper of immune function. It may also contain zinc Antiviral properties. However, zinc can be difficult to absorb, so Dr. Malino says that when he prescribes it in supplement form, he pairs it with the antioxidant quercetin, which aids absorption.

Food sources: Oysters, lean beef, blue crab, shrimp, turkey breast, ham, cheese, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, lentils, milk, and canned sardines.


Search Shows that the iron Helps regulate the immune system. “Iron helps carry oxygen into cells and is a component of enzymes important for immune cell function,” says Berger. If you don’t get enough iron, your body can’t make hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells) that you need to carry oxygen through your blood vessels, and this can lead to anemia.

Food sources: Red meat, beans, seafood, nuts and fortified grains.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D It helps your immune system function properly and boosts immune cells. A deficiency can increase the risk of developing autoimmunity and increased susceptibility to infection, says Berger. Sunlight is one of the best sources of Vitamin D.

Food sources: Milk, eggs, salmon, tuna, sardines, and fortified foods such as cereal and juice.

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Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps Regulate the immune system. It stimulates the production of white blood cells and T cells that help your body fight off bacteria, viruses and other harmful substances. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Food sources: Chickpeas, beef, salmon, tuna, chicken breast, fortified grains, turkey, potatoes, and cottage cheese.


This mineral has been proven Speed ​​up your immune system when faced with an invader. Dr. Malino says selenium also keeps your immune system from overreacting. This benefit may protect you from chronic infections and some autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.

Food sources: Eggs, Brazil nuts, tuna, and canned sardines.

When should you take the supplement?

Eating lots of different food groups will help you get a variety of vitamins and minerals, Berger says, which will maintain a healthy immune system.

Food is the preferred way to ensure you are getting these nutrients. But, supplementation may be necessary in some cases if your nutrient intake is limited, such as if you are a vegetarian or have omitted certain food groups.

“Taking a single multivitamin supplement will be enough to fill in these gaps,” says Berger.

What are the other ways to keep the immune system healthy?

What you eat and getting the right vitamins in your diet is just one piece of the puzzle in keeping your immune system healthy. There are many other things you should do to protect yourself.

Get plenty of sleep

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“There are a thousand reasons why sleep is important, but one of them is immune health,” says Dr. Malino, “and you need at least seven hours every night.” Search He explains that sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your immune system and possibly increase your risk of disease.

Move over

Exercise plays a major role in your overall health, right there Evidence That physical activity can flush bacteria out of the airways, inhibit bacterial growth, cause positive changes in antibodies and white blood cells, and slow the release of stress hormones. Staying active also helps you sleep better and feel better.

drink a lot of water

wetting Berger says it helps you stay healthy and keeps you away from diseases. Drink plenty of water Offers detoxing benefits, increases lymphatic drainage, and helps eliminate waste. Men need 15.5 cups of water per day (Women need 11.5 cups.)

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity can increase the risk of a number of health conditions, such as diabetes, some types of cancer, and heart disease. It also increases inflammation and weakens immune function;. Eating whole, healthy foods, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight are essential for immune health.

Reduce stress

“Everyone suffers from chronic stress,” says Dr. Malino. “You have deadlines. You stay up all night thinking. When you’re stressed, you release cortisol.”

He adds that cortisol is an immunosuppressant. So, taking steps to reduce your stress levels will do wonders for your immune system.

Head shot by Erica Sweeney

Erica Sweeney is a writer who mostly covers health, wellness, and careers. She has written for The New York Times, Huff Post, Teen Vogue, Parade, Money, Business Insider and many more.

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