The pancreas is an organ that is responsible for manufacturing insulin, a substance that helps control glucose levels in your bloodstream. It also produces digestive enzymes. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to diabetes and malnutrition, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC 2. It is typically caused by chronic alcohol use and a viral infection. Although vitamins cannot cure pancreatitis, certain vitamins may help heal your pancreas.
Vitamins should not be used as substitutes for medical attention for pancreatitis.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help prevent pancreas damage caused by lipids and free radical molecules in your bloodstream, according to certified nutritional consultant Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." This vitamin may also help your body repair damaged pancreatic cells and may improve blood circulation to your pancreas, supplying this organ with oxygen necessary for proper function 1. Eggs, sunflower oil, peanuts, whole-grain breads and hazelnuts are abundant sources of natural vitamin E.
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Vitamin C may offer antioxidant benefits to help protect your pancreas against free radical damage, according to the UMMC. This vitamin is also an immune system enhancer that may help prevent damage caused by viral and bacterial infections. The UMMC recommends supplementing your diet with between 1,000 and 6,000 mg of vitamin C per day to address pancreatitis. However, consuming more than 2,000 mg per day may cause stomach upset, gas and diarrhea.
- Vitamin C may offer antioxidant benefits to help protect your pancreas against free radical damage, according to the UMMC.
- The UMMC recommends supplementing your diet with between 1,000 and 6,000 mg of vitamin C per day to address pancreatitis.
Like vitamins C and E, vitamin A is an antioxidant. This vitamin may also boost immune system function, stimulating the production of white blood cells and interferon, according to Balch. This may help your body destroy hepatitis A, a virus commonly responsible for pancreatitis. Vitamin A is found in red meats and poultry.
- Like vitamins C and E, vitamin A is an antioxidant.
- This vitamin may also boost immune system function, stimulating the production of white blood cells and interferon, according to Balch.
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Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, may enhance blood circulation to your pancreas, according to Balch. This may increase availability of other vitamins and oxygen needed for cellular repair. Boost your intake of niacin by consuming foods such as:
- whole-grain breads
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- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. et al.; 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Pancreatitis
- Univresity of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Afghani E, Pandol SJ, Shimosegawa T, et al. Acute pancreatitis-progress and challenges: a report on an international symposium. Pancreas. 2015;44(8):1195-210. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000500
- Yadav D, Lowenfels AB. The epidemiology of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Gastroenterology. 2013;144(6):1252-61. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.01.068
- Krishna SG, Kamboj AK, Hart PA, Hinton A, Conwell DL. The changing epidemiology of acute pancreatitis hospitalizations: a decade of trends and the impact of chronic pancreatitis. Pancreas. 2017;46(4):482-488. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000783
- Yoshida S, Okada H, Nakano S, et al. Much caution does no harm! Organophosphate poisoning often causes pancreatitis. J Intensive Care. 2015;3(1):21. doi:10.1186/s40560-015-0088-1
- Afghani E, Pandol SJ, Shimosegawa T. Acute Pancreatitis-Progress and Challenges: A Report on an International Symposium. Pancreas. 2015;44(8):1195–1210. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000500
- Huh JH, Jeon H, Park SM, et al. Diabetes mellitus is associated with mortality in acute pancreatitis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2018;52(2):178-183. doi:10.1097/MCG.0000000000000783
- Chatila AT, Bilal M, Guturu P. Evaluation and management of acute pancreatitis. World J Clin Cases. 2019;7(9):1006-1020. doi:10.12998/wjcc.v7.i9.1006
- Shah AP, Mourad MM, Bramhall SR. Acute pancreatitis: current perspectives on diagnosis and management. J Inflamm Res. 2018;11:77–85. Published 2018 Mar 9. doi:10.2147/JIR.S135751
- National Pancreas Foundation. Acute pancreatitis causes and symptoms.
- Mandalia A, Wamsteker EJ, DiMagno MJ. Recent advances in understanding and managing acute pancreatitis. F1000Res. 2018;7:F1000 Faculty Rev-959. Published 2018 Jun 28. doi:10.12688/f1000research.14244.2
- Uc A, Andersen DK, Bellin MD. Chronic pancreatitis in the 21st century - research challenges and opportunities: summary of a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases workshop. Pancreas. 2016;45(10):1365–1375. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000713
- National Pancreas Foundation. Chronic pancreatitis causes and symptoms.
- Lew D, Afghani E, Pandol S. Chronic pancreatitis: current status and challenges for prevention and treatment. Dig Dis Sci. 2017;62(7):1702–1712. doi:10.1007/s10620-017-4602-2
Owen Pearson is a freelance writer who began writing professionally in 2001, focusing on nutritional and health topics. After selling abstract art online for five years, Pearson published a nonfiction book detailing the process of building a successful online art business. Pearson obtained a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Rio Grande in 1997.