Immunity insurance: The role of vitamins in building immunity for your child

As a parent, you spend most of your time selecting delicious recipes, exploring the best ways to make food enjoyable, and hunting for the best nutrients for your little ones' growth. An excellent healthy diet provides nourishment for their growth and development and protects them from various diseases. Since children are in their budding phase, building immunity is essential. Strong immunity helps them to fight harmful microbes as well as multiple diseases. Low immunity hinders their growth and development. Children with low immunity tend to fall prey to infectious diseases and are unable to thrive.

The key to building a healthy immune system is developing healthy eating habits followed by a balanced diet. Sadly, our young ones do not eat enough foods to keep themselves healthy daily. While there are many strategies to help sustain immune health, science has consistently revealed that balanced diet nutrients are critical to the equation. Recent observations show the requirement for macronutrients is satisfied.  However, a regular daily diet does not often contain many micronutrients that are essentially required by the body.

Micronutrients like vitamins and minerals play a vital role in building immunity, although required in small amounts. These are organic substances produced by plants or animals and often called "essential" as the human body does not manufacture them (except for vitamin D) and must source them from external nutritional sources. Evidence from studies has confirmed that inadequate intake of many nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, can compromise immune function.

The following vitamins are required to build immunity:

Vitamins and Minerals

Food Sources


Vitamin C

Citrus fruits such as oranges, berries, melons. Red and green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, sprouts, etc.

Vitamins C helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from diseases.

Vitamin A

Dairy products, other sources are foods rich in beta-carotene, such as green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, carrots, squash, apricots, mangos, and melons.

Vitamin A protects cells from damaging free radicals. Shown to be essential for immune system development and function, helping regulate immune responses and the formation of antibodies against the antigen.

Vitamin E

Vegetable oils, such as wheat germ, sunflower, soybean, corn, and safflower oils. Nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts. Sunflower seeds, spinach, and broccoli.

Vitamin E is found naturally in many foods and plays an essential role in the immune system's normal functioning and response.

Vitamin D

Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Fortified foods and beverages, such as cereals, milk, and plant-based milk, such as soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk. Liver, cheese, and eggs.

The immune system requires vitamin D to help modulate immune responses to pathogens ―viruses and bacteria.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Whole grains, cauliflower, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms, chicken

 Pantothenic acid promotes the production and release of antibodies from B-cells.

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Fortified grains and cereals, spinach, broccoli, legumes (black-eyed peas and chickpeas)

Folate helps in antibody response to antigens and antibody production.

Vitamin B 12

Meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, fortified soymilk, and cereals

Vitamin B12 is essential for impaired antibody response & antibody production, and metabolism.

Undoubtedly, vitamins are an integral to immune health. If your child is not eating well, one key fix can  be, to take the help of over the counter supplements easily available in the market. Including a daily dose of vitamins will help in building a healthy immune system and keep your child fighting fit to take part in life.


Ms. Misbah Wasi

Functional Nutrition Specialist ,Scientific & Regulatory Advisor for Health Supplements

Misbah Wasi is a seasoned professional in the field of Nutrition Science and Food Regulation for over 13 years.

Currently she is lending her expertise in the area of Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals, and is an active member of Standards Review Group (SRG) - Nutraceuticals FSSAI.

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