Skip to main content
Optum Perks
Medically Approved

Best vitamins for fighting inflammation

twitter share buttonfacebook share buttonlinkedin share buttonemail article button
Updated on December 30, 2020

If you’re experiencing inflammation in the body from an injury, illness, or chronic condition, it can be helpful to learn how to stop painful inflammation of the joints. Luckily, some vitamins have anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamins that help manage inflammation can be found in common foods or are available as supplements. The 6 vitamins most well-known for their anti-inflammatory actions are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

It’s best to get your vitamins and other nutrients through the foods you eat.

Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter vitamin supplements to ensure you’re using the correct dose and have no underlying conditions or medications that might interact. It’s possible to overdose on some vitamins and cause more harm than good.

Vitamin A

According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, because of its role in enhancing immune function, vitamin A is considered an anti-inflammatory vitamin.

Foods rich in vitamin A include:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato

Vitamin B

According to some research, people with low vitamin B6 often have high C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (and high B6 intake was associated with protection against high CRP levels).

Especially in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), CRP may be responsible for inflammation.

Foods rich in B vitamins include:

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Poultry
  • Greens such as collard greens, spinach, and romaine lettuce

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, battling free radicals that may be responsible for inflammation.

Like vitamin B6, vitamin C supplements and natural vitamin C may also help lower CRP levels. According to a study in 2015, individuals with diabetes or hypertension saw reduced CRP levels after taking 500-milligram (mg) supplements twice a day.

Foods rich in vitamin C include:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Guava
  • Kale
  • Lemons and oranges
  • Strawberries

Vitamin D

A 2012 study acknowledges that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various inflammatory diseases. The study suggests that people deficient in vitamin D who also have chronic inflammatory diseases may benefit from oral vitamin D supplements.

Foods rich in vitamin D include:

  • Egg yolks
  • Organ meats
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Mushrooms

You can also find foods enriched with vitamin D, such as milk or cereal.

Pill bottle with text 'Starts at $4'

Free prescription coupons

Seriously … free. Explore prices that beat the competition 70% of the time.

Get free card

Vitamin E

According to a 2015 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties. Supplementing your diet with vitamin E can also reduce CRP levels.

Foods rich in vitamin E include:

  • Almonds
  • Atlantic salmon
  • Avocados
  • Hazelnuts
  • Mangos
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach

Vitamin K

According to a 2016 review, vitamin K has anti-inflammatory properties. Experiments on animals have indicated that vitamin K suppresses production of proinflammatory cytokines.

A 2020 study confirms vitamin K’s ability to reduce inflammation. The focus of this study was hepatic (liver) inflammation.

There are two types of vitamin K: Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinones). Vitamin K2 is more easily absorbed by the body in the gut, whereas Vitamin K1 absorbs poorly.

Foods rich in vitamin K1 include:

  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans
  • Kale and spinach

Foods rich in vitamin K2 include:

  • Bacon
  • Beef liver and kidneys
  • Cheese (hard and soft)
  • Chicken
  • Chicken liver
  • Duck breast
  • Egg yolks


Research has suggested that vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K can help reduce inflammation.

Talk with your doctor about the benefit of using vitamin supplements or changing eating habits for a low-inflammation diet. They’ll have specific suggestions on dosages based on your health and any other supplements and medications you’re currently taking.

Read more about the benefits and side effects of vitamins.