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. 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. Eggs, sunflower oil, peanuts, whole-grain breads and hazelnuts are abundant sources of natural vitamin E.
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.
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. Your body can also manufacture this vitamin from beta-carotene, which is found in spinach, carrots, broccoli, asparagus and papayas.
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 cheese, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, walnuts, whole-grain breads and alfalfa.
- "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)