Your immune system is impacted by many things, such as your exercise habits, sleep habits, and what you eat. Dr. Susan from Nature Made® discusses 5 key nutrients that you should consume in your daily diet that will help support immune health.† Read more about them below.
Which Nutrients Support Immune Health?
A lot of what you do every day affects your immune health, such as what you eat, how you take time for yourself, and whether you exercise. But did you know there is a mineral and a handful of vitamins for immune system health that you should be consuming on a daily basis?†
Dr. Susan Hazels Mitmesser, Head of Scientific Research at Nature Made®, presents some key nutrients that should be present in your diet and why they help provide immune system support.†
#1: Vitamin A
What is Vitamin A good for? Vitamin A is a key nutrient that helps support healthy skin and healthy vision. But that’s not all! Vitamin A is also heavily involved in the growth and development of immune cells.†
Why should I get more Vitamin A? 45% of Americans are not eating enough Vitamin A in their daily diet.1
What foods have Vitamin A? This essential vitamin can be found in dark green leafy vegetables as well as orange-colored foods, such as carrots and bell peppers.
#2: Vitamin E
What is Vitamin E good for? Vitamin E is an antioxidant and essential nutrient that is involved in the replication of immune cells and supports a healthy immune system.†
Why do I need more Vitamin E: 84% of Americans are not eating enough Vitamin E in their diet.1
What are some Vitamin E foods? Sources of Vitamin E include nuts, such as almonds, and sunflower seeds and apricots.
#3: Vitamin C
What does Vitamin C do? Vitamin C is the most common nutrient associated with the immune system. It’s a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it dissolves in water, and it protects the immune cells by engulfing free radicals. Think of it like Pac-Man! †
Why do I need more Vitamin C: 46% of Americans are not getting enough Vitamin C in their diet.1
What are some Vitamin C Foods? Good sources of Vitamin C include the usual suspects, oranges and citrus fruits, but also strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli.
#4: Vitamin D
What does Vitamin D do? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is critical for proper bone growth and teeth growth, but it is also integral to the immune system. That’s because Vitamin D supports immune cell function and helps regulate a healthy immune response.†
What is Vitamin D3? Vitamin D is available in two forms: Vitamin D2 (plant derived) and Vitamin D3 (animal derived). However, D3 is the body’s preferred form because it has been shown to be more effective at raising Vitamin D levels in the body.2
Why should I get more Vitamin D? 95% of Americans are not consuming enough Vitamin D from food.1
What are some Vitamin D foods? Good food sources of Vitamin D include fortified milks, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
What is Zinc good for? First, Zinc is not a vitamin, but a mineral. Zinc is vital for normal growth and development, especially the development of immune cells. †
Why do I need Zinc? Around 15% of Americans do not get enough Zinc in their diet.1
Where do we get Zinc? Food sources of Zinc include shellfish, such as oysters and crab, but also beef, pork, and turkey.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Reider CA, Chung RY, Devarshi PP, Grant RW, Hazels Mitmesser S. Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1735. Published 2020 Jun 10. doi:10.3390/nu12061735.
Tripkovic L, Lambert H, Hart K, et al. Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:1357-1364.
Dr. Mitmesser provides scientific leadership at Pharmavite to advance innovation and new product development strategies, and to ensure the scientific integrity of all products made under its brand portfolio. She has a passion for nutrition and wellness and leverages her ability to communicate scientific findings to consumers and the marketplace.
She brings extensive experience in research and nutritional biochemistry across various industries and sectors, including food, dietary supplements, academia and clinical settings. She serves on the Editorial Board of four peer-reviewed journals: Advance Journal of Food Science and Technology, Journal of Pediatric Intensive Care, World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, and Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In addition, she has published in many peer-reviewed journals and is a contributing author for book chapters relating to nutrition in adult and pediatric populations.
Dr. Mitmesser is an active member of the American Society of Nutrition, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the New York Academy of Sciences. She also serves on the Senior Scientific Advisory Council for the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
Currently, Dr. Mitmesser is an adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Connecticut and in the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. She holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska and a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Amy has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a credentialed English teacher, though she left the classroom to write full time. She especially enjoys creating educational content about health, wellness, and nutrition. Her happy place is in the kitchen, and when not writing, you can find her trying out “kid-friendly recipes” and “healthy desserts for chocolate lovers” from her Pinterest board.