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6 vitamins that can help with inflammation

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Vitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin EVitamin KMedication optionsSummary
Inflammation in the body can be painful to manage and affect your daily life. Taking vitamins with anti-inflammatory properties can help lower symptoms.
Medically reviewed by Alexandra Perez, PharmD, MBA, BCGP
Written by Anisha Mansuri
Updated on

If you’re experiencing inflammation in the body from an injury, illness, or long-term (chronic) condition, learning how to ease symptoms may prove helpful. One way you can do this is by consuming more vitamins that have anti-inflammatory properties.

Various foods contain vitamins that help manage inflammation. They’re also available as supplements. Vitamins known for their anti-inflammatory properties include:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K

It’s important to speak with a doctor before taking over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin supplements. This is to make sure you’re using the correct dose and to avoid possible drug interactions if you’re taking other medications.

Vitamin A

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Vitamin A, also known as retinol or retinoic acid, has several benefits. This includes helping boost your immune system and supporting reproductive health.

A 2018 study suggests that vitamin A is an anti-inflammatory vitamin because of its role in improving immune function.

Taking vitamin A as a supplement is an option, but consuming foods rich in this nutrient may prove more beneficial.

Examples of foods that contain vitamin A include:

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends that adult males over the age of 19 consume 900 micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) of vitamin A per day. In contrast, adult females may need to consume 700 mcg of RAE.

RAE measures the activity and amount of a vitamin found in a certain food.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is a water-soluble nutrient that does not occur naturally in the body. So you may need to get it through the food you eat. Vitamin B has several health benefits, including lowering inflammation, helping support brain function, and promoting good cardiovascular health.

The eight types of vitamin B are:

  • B1 (thiamin)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folate)
  • B12 (cobalamin)

According to an older 2015 study, people who do not consume enough vitamin B12 may experience symptoms such as low energy (fatigue) and tingling or prickling sensation of the skin (paraesthesia).

Foods rich in B vitamins include:

  • black beans
  • chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • eggs
  • lentils
  • lean chicken
  • collard greens
  • spinach

The NIH recommends that adult males and females consume 2.4 mcg of vitamin B per day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help prevent unstable molecules (free radicals) in the body, which may be responsible for inflammation.

In an older 2015 study, researchers saw a reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP) levels among 64 individuals with diabetes or hypertension. These individuals experienced the reduction by taking 500-milligram (mg) of vitamin C supplements twice a day. CRP levels refer to proteins found in blood plasma that can lead to inflammation.

Foods rich in vitamin C include:

  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • guava
  • kale
  • lemons
  • oranges
  • strawberries

The NIH recommends that adult males consume 90 mg of vitamin C per day and adult females 75 mg per day.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a nutrient that can help support bone health and immune function. It can also help promote calcium absorption in the gut.

Foods rich in vitamin D include:

  • egg yolks
  • organ meats, like beef liver and kidney
  • salmon
  • tuna
  • mushrooms

Most types of milk and cereals are also rich in vitamin D.

The NIH recommends that adult males and females consume 15 mcg of vitamin D per day.

Vitamin E

According to an older 2015 review, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties and can also help lower CRP levels.

Foods rich in vitamin E include:

  • almonds
  • Atlantic salmon
  • avocados
  • hazelnuts
  • mangos
  • peanuts
  • spinach

The NIH recommends that adult males and females consume 15 mg of vitamin E per day.

Vitamin K

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 may not absorb as well.

According to a 2019 study, vitamin K can act as an anti-inflammatory for the body.

Foods rich in vitamin K2 include:

  • beef liver and kidneys
  • cheese (hard and soft)
  • chicken
  • chicken liver
  • duck breast
  • egg yolks

The NIH recommends that adult males consume 120 mcg of vitamin K per day, while adult females may need to consume 90 mcg per day.

Medication options for inflammation

If you regularly experience painful inflammation in the body, a healthcare professional may suggest medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs help ease symptoms and are available OTC.

Common NSAIDs that can help with inflammation include:

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If you’re experiencing inflammation in the body due to an injury, illness, or chronic condition, consuming vitamins through your diet or supplements may help. Research suggests that vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K can help reduce inflammation.

You may consider speaking with a healthcare professional about the benefits of using vitamin supplements or consuming a diet that’s high in the above vitamins. They can recommend a daily plan that’s specific to your health needs.

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