24- May-2021

Immunity & Multivitamin: What is the relation?

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Dt. Kamna Desai
Dietitian. Kamna Desai
- Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics & Hospital Food Service.
- Certified Diabetes Educator.

The current pandemic situation is like a punch on the face. Unable to face the sudden blow, all our collective efforts are to combat the deadly virus somehow. And the most demanding notion is to have a charged-up immunity at this point. So how does one attain this? Read on to know more…

‌Immunity in simple words is the body shield against unwanted pathogens. It is true that immunity can’t be built in a day. It is believed that children till the age of 5 years have immature immune systems. And immunity tends to develop gradually over a period of time.

Multivitamin supplements are a crucial vehicle for delivery of vitamins and minerals necessary for building a robust immunity. In the present scenario, having a potent immunity is critically important to keep you protected at all times.

A multivitamin tablet in India essentially consists of Vitamin A, B complex (like B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), C, D, E and K along with iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper, chromium, zinc, selenium, etc. Most of the vitamins and minerals collectively work towards restoring and boosting the immunity. Let’s read and understand more about the action of these specific nutrients in this regard.

Starting with vitamin A it is important for protecting epithelium and mucus integrity (innate immunity) in the body. Also, vitamin A is crucial for appropriate control of inflammation caused due to viral infections.

Next coming onto vitamin B complex, it is important to know that, it has multiple functions in the body, one of which is strengthening the immune system. Particularly vitamin B6 is needed to support biochemical reactions in the immune system and maintain the potency of the defensive mechanism.

Talking about vitamin C, we are well aware that higher doses of vitamin C are recommended during illness and recovery. Also, vitamin C is a natural antibiotic that reduces severity of chest congestion, cough and cold. It helps in increasing lymphocytes that are a type of WBC to improve our immune response. Lymphocytes are the cells that determine the specificity of the immune response to infections arising due to microbes.

Also, vitamin D from multivitamin tablets help in regulating the immune system. In the present COVID scenario, it has been found that vitamin D deficiency can compromise respiratory immune response to viral infections. Also, severe deficiency of vitamin D was found in patients suffering with ARDS. Additionally, vitamin D can reduce cytokine storm and prevent upper respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin E levels of immune cells should be high to demonstrate antioxidant properties and protect them from oxidative damage.

Vitamin K acts as a cofactor for some plasma proteins thereby affecting immune and inflammatory responses particularly mediated by T cells.

Accordingly, some minerals like iron are necessary for the proliferation, maturation, and activation of lymphocytes to enhance the immune response.

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