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Do multivitamins help build the immune system?

Medically reviewed on September 1, 2022 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Your immune system is your first line of defense against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. [1] A healthy immune system can keep you safe from sickness and infection. Because of this, anything you can do to maintain a robust, properly-working immune system can help you keep you feeling your best in the long run.

If you’ve been searching for solutions to boost immune function, you may have come across containers of multivitamin tablets, gummies, or liquids. But are multivitamins good for you?

These bottles often list numerous health benefits, including the ability to improve your immune health.

So, do multivitamins help build immune system resilience? They definitely can—as long as they contain the right vitamins. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the relationship between multivitamins and immune health.

What’s in a multivitamin?

Before we can say whether or not multivitamins contribute to a healthy immune system, it’s worth noting that not all multivitamins are created equal. There’s no standard list of vitamins and minerals that a multivitamin should contain. Formulas differ depending on: [2]

  • The brand
  • The target audience (adults or children and men or women)
  • The “goal” of the capsule or gummy (bone health, physical energy, and so on)

Ultimately, the word multivitamin simply means a supplement that contains multiple vitamins and minerals. [2]

However, even though there’s no standardized formula, most multivitamins come with a similar list of ingredients, including: [2]

  • Vitamin A
  • B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

Can any of these nutrients help boost immunity?

Not every vitamin and mineral in a multivitamin help support your body's immune system, but several are known to be involved:

  • Vitamin A – Research indicates that vitamin A plays a role in the development, function, and regulation of immune processes and immune cells, including B cells and T cells. [3]
  • Vitamin D – Known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is linked to the innate and adaptive immune response. [4] A vitamin D deficiency (the prevalence of which is estimated to be about 42% in the United States population) can make you more susceptible to infection and a weaker immune response.
  • Vitamin E – Vitamin E has been shown to have both direct and indirect effects on your immune system function. [5] A vitamin E deficiency (estimated to affect about 1% of the U.S. population) can impair the regular functions of the immune system, as immune cells are typically enriched in vitamin E.
  • Folate (Vitamin B9) – Various studies have suggested that folate (or folic acid, its supplemental form) contributes to increased immunoglobulin production. [2]

Should you take a multivitamin to improve your immune system?

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to take a multivitamin to boost your immune system function. Instead, you’d receive all the nutrients you need from your diet. However, sometimes we don’t consume enough of the right nutrients through the foods we eat alone. [9] Sometimes, due to factors related to diet, genetics, or age, you might need immune support from dietary supplements.

Is there a difference between men's vs women's multivitamin? Do some people need more and others less of a particular vitamin?

Individuals who may benefit from a daily multivitamin include: [8]

  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • Seniors
  • Pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant people
  • Followers of paleo, low-carb, or gluten-free diets
  • Anyone with a disease that causes a nutritional deficiency

You may find multivitamins beneficial even if you don’t fall under one of these categories. Some individuals may need more if they have a deficiency or are expecting. Pregnancy often requires specific vitamins and minerals for both mother and fetus. If pregnant, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider about benefits of a prenatal vs multivitamin. To confirm whether or not you should take dietary supplements, you can test for nutrient deficiencies.

Finally, keep in mind that even if multivitamins may not solve all of your health problems, they have little risk. As long as you follow the product recommendations outlined on the packaging, it’s difficult to consume harmful levels of vitamins. [7,8] With that said, if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

Enjoy everyday wellness with Everlywell

Maintaining a strong immune system is essential to living a long and healthy life. Since most multivitamins contain several nutrients that help contribute to a thriving immune system function, taking a multivitamin can help to keep you in peak shape.

For a gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly supplement that contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and zinc, there’s the Daily Multivitamin Gummy from Everlywell. Taking these multivitamins daily can help you build a vital immune system and support your overall wellness.

To ensure you never miss a day of vitamin intake, subscribe and save with Everylwell. You’ll receive a 30-day supply of vitamins every month—and save 20%, too.

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  1. Cleveland Clinic. Immune System. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  2. National Institutes of Health. Multivitamin/mineral supplements. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Vitamin D and the Immune System. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Regulatory role of vitamin E in the immune system and inflammation. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Exploring the Immune-Boosting Functions of Vitamins and Minerals as Nutritional Food Bioactive Compounds: A Comprehensive Review. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Development of Vitamin D Toxicity from Overcorrection of Vitamin D Deficiency: A Review of Case Reports. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Vitamin A Toxicity. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information. A Review of Micronutrients and the Immune System–Working in Harmony to Reduce the Risk of Infection. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  11. National Institutes of Health. Iron: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. URL. Accessed September 1, 2022.
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