When you're sick, your body needs a lot of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals to fight off infections. But it's not always easy to get enough from your diet. Many people turn to vitamin and mineral supplements for extra support.

The Best Vitamins for Sick People

Zinc, beta carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, and selenium are some of the best vitamins and minerals for fighting colds and flu. These nutrients are found in many foods, such as fish, fatty meats, eggs, and milk. You can also get them from vitamin-fortified foods and 100% juices.

Zinc Shortens Colds

Studies show that taking zinc within 24 hours after you start feeling cold can shorten the length and severity of your symptoms. It may also help prevent a cold if you’you'rehigh risk getting one.

Echinacea purpurea

Some research shows that echinacea can reduce the length and severity of colds, although the evidence is mixed. Combining echinacea, zinc, and selenium may improve coughing in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Vitamin C

ThereThre'sevidence that taking vitamin C before cold symptoms begin can prevent colds in people exposed to cold weather or undergo extreme exercise, like marathon runners. But this doesn't work for everyone and can cause stomach problems in some people.

Taking high doses of vitamin C is not a good idea, which can upset the stomach and lead to diarrhea in some people. It also can interact with medications you’ryou'ready taking, so check with your doctor if you have a medical condition before you take it. For instance, if you have hemochromatosis (too much iron), taking large amounts of vitamin C can cause that problem to worsen. And if you have diabetes, it can increase your blood sugar levels and make your condition worse.

While avoiding catching a cold is impossible, certain foods and supplements may help you fight back against the symptoms. Vitamin C, D, and zinc are all immune-boosting nutrients that can make you feel better. But it's important to get these nutrients from a balanced diet and not rely on supplements.

Vitamin C has many benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease. It can also help regulate blood pressure, boost the immune system, and improve iron absorption. It can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, bell peppers, and kale. The best sources are those that are raw and at their peak ripeness.

But there are some risks associated with high amounts of vitamin C, particularly in people with kidney disease or hereditary conditions like glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor before taking vitamin C supplements. However, there is some evidence that high doses of vitamin C may be helpful in patients with severe infections, especially in the case of sepsis or septic shock. This is because the treatment may be able to reduce inflammation in the body, which can have serious consequences for patients and their health.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is best for sick people because it can help prevent upper respiratory tract infections. It works by helping your immune system respond to conditions, preventing the body from making inflammatory molecules that can trigger diseases. The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun, but people with darker skin need to spend more time in the sun than those with light skin. Older adults, breastfed infants, and people with malabsorption conditions (like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease) are also at risk of deficiency.

Vitamin D's benefits include improving your bones' health, reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, and preventing heart disease. It can also help lower your blood pressure. But it should be taken with caution if you take medications like cholesterol-lowering statins or thiazide diuretics because they can increase your risk of toxicity and kidney stones. So if you want to boost your vitamin D levels, getting plenty of sun exposure and eating foods high in vitamin D are the most effective ways to do it.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient that helps with vision, bone growth, reproduction, and the growth of epithelium (cells that line the inside and outside of the body). It also helps fight infections. It is important to get enough vitamin A in your diet so you don'tdon'tme deficient. You can get this nutrient from many foods, including liver, egg yolks, whole milk dairy products from animals, and fish oils.

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However, you can get too much vitamin A from some supplements and certain medications. For example, pregnant people should not take high-dose supplemental vitamin A, which can cause congenital disabilities. The best way to ensure you'ryou'reing enough vitamin A is to eat a healthy diet, including various fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes (beans and peas). You can also get vitamin A from fortified breakfast cereals or other supplements.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B helps your body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used for energy. It also helps the cells and nerves of your body function properly and aids in DNA production. You can get all 8 B vitamins, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12), naturally in foods. But some people need a daily dietary supplement to meet their needs. If you think you’ryou'recient in one or more of the B vitamins, ask your healthcare provider to test your level. Your results will tell you whether your vitamin B levels are high, low, or out of range.