How Vitamin B Builds Up Your Immune ResponseRead Time: 3 minutes
Healthy immune systems don’t happen by accident. Everyday dietary habits directly affect how protected the body is against infections and toxins. Unfortunately, not everyone gets enough fresh vegetables and fruit to maintain a healthy immune response. In these cases, specific supplements such as vitamin B can help.
The role of the B vitamin complex
The body’s immune system is dependent on a balance of minerals and vitamins. Vitamin B refers to a group of eight vitamins including vitamins thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Vitamin B is obtained mainly through a person’s diet.
Vitamin B6 for immunity
Vitamin B6 is in charge of keeping the immune system strong, making new red blood cells, and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin B has also been shown to improve migraines. Foods rich in pyridoxine are chicken, salmon, tuna, leafy greens, and chickpeas. Vitamin B6 deficiencies can cause mood changes and reduce antibodies needed to avoid infections. Vitamin B6 is responsible for producing white blood cells and T cells, which regulate immune responses. Vitamin B6 also helps the body make the protein interleukin-2 to direct white blood cell activity.
The entire B complex at work
Each B vitamin has a critical part to play in energizing the body and regulating biological responses. Riboflavin helps break down fats and medication. Folic acid is helpful during pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Vitamin B12 improves nerve cells and can reduce the risk of developing anemia. All vitamins are essential to the immune system.
The more, the merrier
Vitamin B6 is important to the immune system, but other vitamins and minerals can help, too. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, green vegetables, strawberries, papaya, and more. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can be found in peanuts, sunflower seeds, and broccoli. Other important vitamins and minerals for immune function include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
Supplements can fill in vitamin gaps
Supplements shouldn’t be the first resort. Vitamin supplements can aid in optimum vitamin intake when food sources aren’t readily available. Vitamin absorption is better when consumed from whole foods. When fresh food isn’t available, frozen vegetables and fruits work in a pinch. For more information about whether or not to start a vitamin B supplement, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.