COVID-19 & Immunity

The ABC’s of Immune Building

The ABC’s of Immune Building - GNC India

The ABC’s of Immune Building

Eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and limiting stress are all ways to support a healthy immune system. Out of these factors, having a balanced diet helps provide your body with key nutrients.

There is a wide range of supplements out there that promise to boost your immunity. So we thought we’d explain the basics of immunity building nutrients to you. Let’s break these nutrients down into vitamins and minerals that can help improve your immunity.

Vitamin A

This fat-soluble vitamin protects your body against viral infections, common cold, flu, etc. by enhancing the functions of the T cells, B cells, cytokines, white blood cells, and skin cells to stop the bacteria and germs from entering your system in the first place. It is also one of the important antioxidants.

Foods high in Vitamin A include Spinach, Eggs, Carrots, Mangoes, Papaya, etc.

The RDA is:

o   Adult Women: 840 ug/d

o   Adult Men: 1000 ug/d

Vitamin B 12

B12 vitamins don’t just give your body the energy it needs by breaking down digestive proteins, but also help fight disease-causing bacteria and viruses by increasing the number of white blood cells in your body and synthesizing the antibodies that strengthen your immune system. There is a wide range of supplements out there that promise to boost your immunity. So we thought we’d explain the basics of immunity building nutrients to you.

Foods high in Vitamin B complex include Fish, Meat, Eggs, meat, etc.

  • The RDA is:
  • Adult Women: 2.5 mcg/d
  • Adult Men: 2.5 mcg/d

Learn more about GNC Vitamin B12 supplements

Vitamin C

This powerful antioxidant stimulates the production and functioning of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off the bacteria and viruses that enter the body. They help boost your immunity and reduce the severity of colds, flu, fever, and throat infections, along with preventing allergies.

Foods high in Vitamin C include Amla, Guava, Bell Peppers, Cabbage, Lemon, etc.

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women: 65 mg/d

o   Adult Men: 80 mg/d

Vitamin D

Studies in recent times have concluded that Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the prevention of heart disease, ensures good health of the respiratory and immune systems, and works towards maintaining breast health. Curious to know how vitamin D can help improve your immunity?

Foods high in Vitamin D include Sunlight, Egg yolk, Liver, etc.

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women: 600 IU/d

o   Adult Men: 600 IU/d

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has an important role to play in many systems within the body. Vitamin E provides dietary support for natural resistance. It functions as a chain-breaking antioxidant and helps maintain the health and functioning of cells. It also protects the structural elements of cell membranes. Buy GNC Natural Vitamin E 400 IU and boost your immunity today!

Foods high in Vitamin E include Sunflower seeds, Wheat germ, Almonds, Oil, etc.

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women:  7.5 to 10 mg/d of alpha-tocopherol

o   Adult Men:  7.5 to 10 mg/d of alpha-tocopherol


Iron is responsible for the normal functioning of the immune system. Lymphocytes are associated with the general response of the body towards an infection. For lymphocytes to function properly, they need iron, which is necessary for the proliferation and maturation of immune cells, particularly lymphocytes.

  • Foods high in Iron include Chicken, Meat, Halim seeds, Pulses etc.
  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women: 15 mg/d

o   Adult Men: 11 mg/d

Vitamin K

Vitamin K regulates the protein involved in removing undesirable cells and generating new, healthy cells, which are vital for a healthy immune system.

Foods high in Vitamin E include Green Leafy Vegetables, Brussel Sprouts, Eggs, Broccoli,etc.

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women: 55 µg/d

o   Adult Men: 55 µg/d

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A recent study has found that feeding fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids seemed to boost the activity of a white blood cell called a B cell- a vital part of the body’s immune response.

Foods high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids include Fatty fish like Salmon, Cod-Liver, Tuna,etc., Flaxseeds, Walnuts,etc.

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women:  250mg – 2g/d

o   Adult Men: 250mg – 2g/d


Protein plays a very important role in building and repairing your tissues; which contributes to supporting the immune system in fighting against viruses. Soldiers of the Immune system, like antibodies or immune cells, actually rely on protein to function effectively. Hence, a protein deficiency may weaken your immune system.

Include good quality protein, which is easily available, in your diet. This includes dals, legumes i.e. rajma, chole, chana,etc., milk and milk products like buttermilk, lassi, curd, etc. Non- veg protein sources include chicken, meat, eggs, etc.

Foods high in Protein include Eggs, Whey Protein Powder, Pulses, Legumes, Cereals, etc.

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women:  0.8 – 1g/kg/body wt.

o   Adult Men: 0.8 – 1g/kg/body wt.


Your immunity is dependent on your gut health. And gut health is dependent on the food you consume. A recent research trial in China showed that probiotics can help in reducing the incidence and duration of respiratory tract infections.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, hospitalized patients who are on mechanical ventilation were given probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, live Bacillus subtilis, and Enterococcus faecalis). They developed substantially less ventilator-associated pneumonia as compared with placebo.

Foods high in Probiotics include Curds, Fermented foods, Kimchi, Sauerkraut etc.

There is no recommended dosage for probiotics. But research recommends daily probiotic consumption of 1 to 10 billion CFUs to help maintain a good gut microflora environment. The dose can be increased, depending on the person’s existing medical conditions.


As Selenium is an antioxidant, it plays an important role in immunity building..  It helps lower oxidative stress, which is mainly responsible for inflammation. Studies have shown improved blood levels of selenium are associated with enhanced immune function. On the other hand, deficiency can harm the immune cells and lead to delayed immune response.

Foods high in Selenium include: Shellfish, Fish, Eggs, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women:  40 µg/d

o   Adult Men: 40 µg/d


Zinc plays a very important role in the functioning of neutrophils and natural killer cells. A Zinc deficiency leads to increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.

Foods high in Zinc include Meat, Grains, Dairy Products, etc.

  • The RDA is:

o   Adult Women:  11 mg/d

o   Adult Men: 14 mg/d

The variety on your plate is the key to good health. It’s important to eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables so you do not miss out on any of the important vitamins and minerals that you need for immunity building.

Eliminating one or two food groups may lead to nutrient deficiency. If you consider taking supplements, you could always go for a multivitamin that contains all the above nutrients – to start with.

You can connect with your dietician or our team of qualified nutritionists, to help determine whether your diet is providing all the required nutrients or whether you need a supplement.

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