Vitamins are essential nutrients needed by the body in small quantities for it to function properly. Several types of vitamin exist, each with it own function(s). Some are needed for the normal metabolism, others for boosting the immune system, some for growth and development while the remaining ones have their unique function(s). Of all these, we would only be the discussing the vitamins that help us boost our immune system.
Most of these vitamins needed by our immune system can be found in our diet which means if we eat a balanced diet, we need not worry about them as they are already incorporated into our meal. In some cases, the vitamins we need may not be found in our diet or the body may be in dear need of this vitamin in which case you have to take a vitamin supplement to provide the body with it need. This normally comes up during old age or in a case of malnourishment and ill health.
I would be discussing the most important 6 vitamins that boost the human immune system, these include vitamin A, the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver of human. It improves the white blood cell functions, enhances resistance to infection and carcinogens. It also among other functions helps in maintaining skin and mucous membrane defenses to infection.
In many parts of the developing world, vitamin A supplement is given to malnourished children to help boost their immune system to combat deadly diseases like measles and help reduce the death rate by preventing the body from viral infections that had been a major source of death in these areas.
When the body lacks vitamin A, it begins to show some signs. These include reduced vision in dark, skin becomes dry and rough, eyes inflammation, urinary and respiratory infections etc.
If the above symptoms had been observed, then go for food high in colourful compounds known as carotenoid – our body transform this compound into vitamin A that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance that strengthen our immunity. These foods include sweet potatoes, carrot, spinach, pumpkin, squash, kale, mustard green etc.
This is a generic term for all the water-soluble B vitamins. Though they have similar names and are almost always together in our food, they are different chemically. Some of these vitamins in the B-complex are very efficient in boosting our immunity against diseases. It had been ascertained from studies that HIV/AIDS patients suffering from the deficiency of B6 and B12 generally experience more rapid progression in the disease. This is to show how important they are in boosting our immunity against diseases.
When it comes to boosting and enhancing immunity, vitamin B6 is particularly important. It is a building block of protein and also important in the synthesis and breaking down of amino acids. Deficiency in this can lead to a decrease in response of white blood cells and the shrinking of the thymus.
Young girls are the set of people that usually experience the deficiency of B6 and this is because of their dieting culture which ranges from consumption of sugar to their obsession for refined food. Foods high in vitamin B6 include banana, tuna, baked potatoes as well as a lean chicken breast.
B12 also known as folic acid is essential in immune system development and maintenance because it plays a key role in cell division and growth. The deficiency of vitamin B6 would inhibit red blood cells maturity and multiplying. Some of the food rich in B12 are fortified foods like pasta, enriched bread, rice and other 100% whole-grain foods. You can also add beans and peas regularly to your mean you get more B12 in your body.
To conclude on B vitamins as a booster of immunity, it is is also a key player in ensuring good working on the heart, muscles and nervous system in general.
This vitamin needs no introduction as a key vitamin that boosts the human immune system. In fact, almost all persons if not all knows or probably must have heard of vitamin C and it role in immunity but one thing many don’t know is you can get this vitamin from many sources aside citrus fruits. spinach, kale, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, papaya, strawberries and other green leafy vegetables are sources of this vitamin. In fact, except if prescribed by a doctor, you need not worry as this is incorporated in your day to day meals.
It is also known as ascorbic acid. It supports the human immune system by attacking the nucleic acid of bacteria and fight it until it is dead. It also among other functions acts as an antioxidant which fight radicals giving your immune system the opportunity to better combat diseases. Vitamin C also helps in bone health maintenance and a good bone health could resist attacks from diseases as opposed to bones with health issues.
Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include general weakness and tiredness, Spots on the skin that looks like tiny, red-blue bruises, splitting hair, drying of the skin, unexpected bleeding from gums, swelling of the gums and nose bleeding among others.
In a such, as vitamin C is present in your foods as I said earlier, if you observed or you had been diagnosed to be suffering from its deficiency, you would do yourself some good by taking vitamin C supplements to reverse back to your normal health condition.
Vitamin D is a very important vitamin needed for activating the human immune system which without it in the required amount, the T cell – which is the killer cell of the defence system wouldn’t be able to attack and defeat any serious form of infection that affects the body.
Vitamin D, one of the most crucial cancer fighter is likely powerful than most vaccines you may think of as it increase the efficiency of the immune system more than 3 – 5%. It influences almost all the cells in the body. This vitamin also helps in the production of about 200 antimicrobial peptides which assist in fighting off infections from the body.
Vitamin C in the right quantity aid the formation of bones, teeth and also invited their degeneration. It also among other things prevents bone softening diseases like rickets in children and osteomalacia in the adults.
This immune system enhancing vitamin can be derived naturally from the early morning sun. It is also present in tuna fish, eggs, milk, cheese, liver, beef, sardines, salmon, mackerels and other sources. It also is derived from vitamin D supplements though as I said earlier, the best source of vitamin should be from the food we eat except for some people that have a problem dissolving it naturally.
Vitamin E just like vitamin C acts as a very powerful antioxidant that assists the body in fighting against free radicals that have the potentials of causing both cellular and tissue damage. One of it key function is the prevention of sterility and boosting of fertility especially in men.
It helps in the formation of red blood cells, in the prevention of anemia and other diseases related to a blood disorder. Vitamin E also helps in the formation of muscular tissues, prevent muscular damage and reduce stress caused by our physical activities.
Some of the food sources this could be derived include spinach, broccoli, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, vegetable oil, nuts, white germ, shrimp and sunflower seeds. It supplements are also available should you need it.
Vitamin K is one of the vitamins that help enhance the functionality of our immune system to help combat infections in our body. It helps in clotting of the blood to stop bleeding. This clotting is essential for because an open wound or cuts is a great point for the passage of disease-causing organism. This vitamin reduces the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture.
Among other functions, this vitamin does the following ; reduces the risk of internal
bleeding in liver, it is helpful in blood sugar regulation, prevent arteries from calcification and reduces the risk of internal bleeding in liver.
Sources of this vitamin include soybeans, raw spinach, broccoli, olive oil, raw lettuce leaf etc.
Here we have them above, ‘the vitamins that boost the immune system.’ Now that you had known them, it is now time to incorporate them into your meal planning because the best of medicine is present in the food we eat.