Whether you’re fighting off an infection or combating a cold, adding a few immune-boosting vitamins to your routine can be incredibly beneficial. In fact, certain vitamins, minerals and supplements have been shown to fine-tune immune function, enhance antibody production and alleviate inflammation to keep you feeling your absolute best.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the top immune-boosting supplements and how they can benefit your health, along with some simple suggestions for how to use them.
Many vitamins have been shown to help boost your body’s ability to fend off infection. Here are a few of the top immune-boosting vitamins.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a central role in immune function and is often used to help bump up your body’s defenses against infection. Impressively enough, one 2006 trial in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism even found that getting enough vitamin C in your diet could help decrease symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory infections.
Dosage recommendation: 75–90 milligrams for women and men, respectively
2. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is an important micronutrient involved in many aspects of health and is also one of the top immune system booster vitamins. Not only is vitamin D3 integral to the function of immune cells in the body, but a deficiency in this important micronutrient can actually increase the risk of infection.
Be sure to opt for vitamin D3 over other forms, as it’s the most effective at improving vitamin D status in the body.
Dosage recommendation: 400–800 IU
3. Vitamin A
This fat-soluble vitamin is vital for maintaining healthy vision, supporting skin health and promoting proper growth and development. What’s more, vitamin A is also crucial for the development of certain immune cells necessary to fight inflammation and infection, earning it a slot as one of the best supplements to boost the immune system.
Dosage recommendation: 700–900 RAE for women and men, respectively
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E doubles as both a fat-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, helping to fight free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to the cells. As one of the top immune-boosting vitamins, studies show that supplementation with vitamin E could enhance immune function, boost the production of white blood cells and increase resistance against infection.
Dosage recommendation: 15 milligrams
5. Vitamin B6
Promising research suggests that vitamin B6 could help ramp up immune function to fight foreign invaders in the body. According to one study published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, administering vitamin B6 to critically ill patients was able to significantly enhance their immune response over a two-week period.
Meanwhile, other studies show that a deficiency in this key vitamin can reduce the production of important antibodies involved in immunity.
Dosage recommendation: 1.2–1.7 milligrams
Several minerals have been studied for their impact on immune function and their abilities to bump up the body’s natural defense system. Here are some of the best minerals for immune health.
Often considered one of the most effective immune-boosting supplements, zinc is crucial to maintaining overall health. Research shows that zinc helps regulate the immune response and is necessary for the survival, proliferation and maturation of immune cells.
Clinical trials have also found that getting enough zinc in your daily diet can reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of serious conditions like pneumonia and malaria.
Dosage recommendation: 8–11 milligrams for women and men, respectively
Although it’s most well-known for its role in red blood cell production and oxygen transport, iron is also considered one of the best immune-boosting supplements as well.
Studies show that iron deficiency anemia can impair the body’s immune response, which could potentially ramp up the risk of illness and infection. Women, infants, children and those following a vegan or vegetarian diet may be at an increased risk of deficiency.
Dosage recommendation: 8–18 milligrams for men and women, respectively