What Vitamins Can Help With Inflammation?

How these powerful vitamins can help you

In This Article

Research has pointed to certain vitamins with anti-inflammatory compounds. These vitamins can be acquired in supplement form and by eating foods naturally containing these vitamins.

Here is a list of six vitamins that possess anti-inflammatory properties, and foods that are rich sources of them.

anti-inflammatory vitamins
Illustration by JR Bee, Verywell

Vitamin A

Studies have found vitamin A can keep the immune system from overacting and causing inflammation. Vitamin A is available in two forms: Beta-carotene is a provitamin that converts vitamin A in the body and vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects the body against free radicals. Diets rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A can help to reduce inflammation.

Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, dandelion, kale, collard greens, spinach, and a wide variety of leafy vegetables.

B Vitamins

People with low vitamin B6 will have high C-reactive proteins, another compound responsible for inflammation, especially in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. To reduce inflammation and increase vitamin B6, try consuming foods high in B vitamins, including kale, bell peppers, and mushroom, cantaloupe, tuna, and poultry.

One Italian study finds even low doses of folic acid (also known as folate, another B vitamin) supplementation taken daily and for short periods can reduce inflammation.

Food sources of folate include black-eyed peas, dark leafy greens, asparagus, and liver.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known for helping keep the immune system healthy and functioning well. Moreover, research shows vitamin C can get rid of free radicals responsible for inflammation. Vitamin C, like B vitamins, may also help lower C-reactive proteins. Supplements are helpful, but it is always best to try to get vitamin C from your diet.

To get more vitamin C from your diet, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are also loaded with antioxidants that can improve health and potentially lower risk for heart disease and cancers.

Vitamin D

According to one report from Food & Nutrition Research, up to 41.6 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Studies have long-established a connection between low vitamin D and a variety of inflammatory diseases. Further, researchers know that improving vitamin D can help reduce inflammation in the body. 

Another report in The Journal of Immunology suggests specific molecular and signaling events are responsible for vitamin D’s ability to inhibit inflammation. Moreover, people with low levels of vitamin D can definitely benefit from vitamin D supplementation. 

Vitamin D is naturally available from the sun, but not everyone can get all their vitamin D from the sun. Anyone who suspects their vitamin D levels are low should talk to their doctor about testing and supplementation.

The best food sources of vitamin D are fish, egg yolks, organ meats, and foods supplemented with vitamin D, including milk.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant vitamin, which means it can reduce inflammation. Results from a 2015 meta-analysis reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirm vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties and supplementation can be helpful to people living with inflammatory conditions.

Vitamin E is naturally found in nuts and seeds, including almonds and sunflower seeds. Many fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamin E, including avocado and spinach.

Vitamin K

One report in the journal, Metabolism finds vitamin K can reduce inflammatory markers and help with blood clotting and protecting bone health. While vitamin K is necessary for bone health, most people do not get enough of it from their diets. Adult men should aim to take in 120 micrograms (mcg) daily of vitamin K, while women should aim for 90 mcg. The daily recommended numbers are lower for children and infants. 

There are two types of vitamin K: Vitamin K1 and K2. 

Vitamin K1 is found in leafy vegetables, including kale, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage, while K2 is found in chicken, liver, and eggs.

A Word From Verywell 

Inflammation-fighting vitamins can be acquired from a variety of food sources, including vegetables, fruits, lean meats and fish, and vitamin-fortified foods. Even in supplement form, these vitamins can reduce inflammation without harsh side effects and are a viable option to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and prescription anti-inflammatory medicines.

As a word of caution, starting any vitamin supplement without talking to a doctor is not a good idea. Moreover, vitamin supplements are not a substitute for medication. 

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Aslam MF, Majeed S, Aslam S, Irfan JA. Vitamins: Key Role Players in Boosting Up Immune Response-A Mini Review. Vitam Miner 2017; 6: 153. DOI: 10.4172/2376-1318.1000153.

  • Bird RP. The Emerging Role of Vitamin B6 in Inflammation and Carcinogenesis. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2018; 83:151-194. DOI: 10.1016/bs.afnr.2017.11.004.

  • Forrest KY and Stuhldreher WL. Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults. Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):48-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.12.001.

  • Harvard School of Public Health. Three of the B Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12

  • National Institutes of Health. Folate Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated October 4, 2018

  • National Institutes of Health. Vitamin K Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated September 26, 2018

  • Palermo A, Tuccinardi D, D'Onofrio L, et al. Vitamin K and osteoporosis: Myth or reality? Metabolism. 2017 May; 70:57-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.01.032.

  • Rubin LP, Ross AC, Stephensen CB, et al. Metabolic Effects of Inflammation on Vitamin A and Carotenoids in Humans and Animal Models. Adv Nutr. 2017 Mar; 8(2): 197–212. DOI: 10.3945/an.116.014167.

  • Saboori S, Shab-Bidar S, Speakman JR, et al. Effect of vitamin E supplementation on serum C-reactive protein level: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;69(8):867-73. DOI: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.296.

  • Sprostom NR and Ashworth JJ. Role of C-Reactive Protein at Sites of Inflammation and Infection. Front Immunol. 2018; 9: 754. DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00754.

  • Valentini L, Pinto A, Bourdel-Marchasson I, et al. Impact of personalized diet and probiotic supplementation on inflammation, nutritional parameters and intestinal microbiota - The "RISTOMED project": Randomized controlled trial in healthy older people. Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):593-602. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.09.023.

  • Zhang Y, Leung DYM, Richers, BN, et al. Vitamin D Inhibits Monocyte/Macrophage Proinflammatory Cytokine Production by Targeting MAPK Phosphatase-1. J Immunol March 1, 2012, 188 (5) 2127-2135; DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1102412.