Vitamins are part of the essential nutrients necessary for maintaining good health. They are known as micronutrients - the nutrients you need in small quantities; they are still just as important as macronutrients- the bigger quantities needed!
Vitamins must be consumed daily to meet your nutritional needs. Having a large dose one day doesn’t mean you are stocked up for the week; it is a constant need as your body absorbs the nutrients and uses them each time they are consumed.1
Vitamins are crucial for keeping your immune system running smoothly - to stop you from getting ill unnecessarily and protect you from foreign invaders that might cause harm. Here, we will discuss the top 4 vitamins that keep your immune system fighting fit!
Vitamin A is vital for the smooth functioning of the immune system. Vitamin A enables the body to create and maintain cells, including the cells that make up the immune system.2 Consuming a good amount of vitamin A increases the activity of the cells of your immune system, helping to keep you safe and well.
Vitamin A can be found in fish oils, eggs, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, red bell peppers, mangos, milk, and foods fortified with vitamin A.3 If food has added vitamin A, it will say on the packaging of the food.
The recommended daily vitamin A dose is 700mcg for men and 600mcg for women. If you want to supplement vitamin A, ensure your combined intake does not exceed 1500mcg daily to stay within safe consumption limits.4
Vitamin C is important for the immune system to work properly in many ways. Vitamin C encourages the production of white blood cells, which protect the body from infection. As well as encouraging the production of these cells, vitamin C protects them from being damaged by free radicals, allowing them to function effectively.5
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C, particularly citrus fruits like oranges. Kiwis, tomatoes, strawberries, Brussels sprouts and bell peppers are amongst the fruits and veggies with the most vitamin C. You can also find vitamin C in fortified foods such as breakfast cereals.6
The recommended daily dose of vitamin C is 90mg for men and 75mg for women. The upper limit considered safe for vitamin C is 2,000mg, which is actually very hard to do in diet alone; this means you can stock up on your vitamin C foods without worrying about overdosing!7
Vitamin D has a powerful impact on the immune system; studies have shown that those deficient in vitamin D are more likely to suffer from recurring upper-respiratory infections. Vitamin D helps the immune system fight infections more quickly and creates antibodies to prevent future infections.8
Most of our vitamin D needs are met through sunlight - bad news for those of us living in the UK. Through the winter months, the NHS recommend everybody takes a vitamin D supplement as sunlight is far harder to come by and less powerful when it does arrive. Aiming for 10-20 minutes of direct midday sunlight a few times a week will keep you dosed up in the summer.8
Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, egg yolks, red meat and liver, and fortified foods. It is hard to get enough vitamin D from diet alone, so supplementation or sunlight exposure is highly recommended to avoid a deficiency.
Last but not least, B Vitamins. 3 key B vitamins support the immune system; B12, B9 and B6. 5 other B vitamins are essential for health, but these 3 in particular play key roles in helping the immune system.
Vitamin B6 is useful in red blood cell development and the function of the nervous system - crucial for sending signals around your body to keep it harmonious. B9 is important for ensuring the smooth running of chemical reactions that impact the immune system, and B12 helps the body to create cell proteins.9
Vitamin B6 can be found in pork, fish, eggs, chickpeas and wholegrains, B9 is found in green vegs like Brussels sprouts and broccoli, and B12 can be located in meat, fish, eggs, dairy and fortified foods.
When considering your daily B vitamin intake, aim for 1.4mg (for men) or 1.2mg (for women) of B6 daily and no more than 100mg daily.10 B9 should be consumed at no higher dosage than 1000mcg per day, but aim for 400mcg.11 For B12, aim for 1.5mcg per day. There is no upper limit for B12, so you can rest assured you won’t consume too much.12
Key takeawaysAll vitamins are important, and consuming a varied diet that allows you to consume enough of each of these vitamins will keep your immune system in good shape. Why not consider our supplement Immune Boost alongside a healthy, balanced diet?
Packed with vitamins A, C and D3 alongside 10 clinically-studied probiotic strains and other essential nutrients, Immune Boost can give you the reassurance that you are giving your immune system the fuel it needs to function well. 70% of the immune system exists in the gut, so building up your gut health with probiotics can give your immunity an added boost and give you the peace of mind that you are getting a little Immune-system Boost every day.