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Teaching Consumers Why They Need Immune-Health Dietary Supplements Year-Round: Page 3 of 3

Teaching Consumers Why They Need Immune-Health Dietary Supplements Year-Round: Page 3 of 3

Photo © Shutterstock.com/TypoArt BS

Spreading the Word

No matter how they direct their marketing, immune-health companies share one common goal and that is to get consumers to understand that taking care of immune health is something that should be done 365 days a year. 

Are enough consumers getting this message? It’s “something we talk about all the time,” says DuPont’s DeStefano. “I believe consumers, more often than not, take many immune supplements on an episodic basis; however, consumers are increasingly focused on proactive wellness versus reactively managing health issues. And we believe there are some supplements within the category, like probiotics, that consumers are and will continue to take on a regular basis to proactively manage immune health.”

“Key groups, such as the medical and teaching professionals, and busy travelers, really expose themselves to a lot of germs and should think hard about managing their immune systems,” adds NutraQ’s Seward.

As consumers take it upon themselves to actively improve their health and wellness overall, reaching those consumers with an additional immune-health lesson will become easier. Companies that invest in the task of teaching consumers about the importance of regular immune support will be able to reap the rewards. “I think any brand willing to educate consumers on the benefits of taking an immune supplement on an ongoing basis will benefit,” DeStefano says. 



Sidebar: Popular Immune-Health Ingredients

Although many consumers still need to learn about the benefits of immune-health supplementation, there are certain ingredients that are well known to most. Marci Clow, MS, RDN, senior nutritionist for dietary supplements brand Rainbow Light, outlines some of the best-known immune-health ingredients.


Vitamin C: Many consumers reach for vitamin C at the first sign of cold symptoms. Vitamin C has been intensively studied for its crucial role in normal immune function, and although the common belief that vitamin C prevents or cures the common cold has never been conclusively proved or disproved, there is some data indicating a role for vitamin C in shortening the duration of cold symptoms.

Zinc: Zinc is a major ingredient in lozenges and other products designed to prevent and soothe respiratory tract infections. When taken within 24 hours of the first symptoms, studies have indicated that zinc lozenges or syrup may reduce the length of a cold. Studies have also suggested zinc may reduce the number of colds experienced annually. Zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system, from the barrier of the skin to gene regulation within white blood cells.

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida): Echinacea is one of the most widely utilized traditional herbal medicines for easing and shortening symptoms of common respiratory tract infections and is best known for its stimulating effect on immune functions.6 Herbal experts say that when a good product is taken in adequate and frequent doses at the onset of symptoms, echinacea can shorten the duration and severity of a cold.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): A time-honored European cold and flu remedy is a tea of elder flowers, but the scientific research has focused on the extract of berries from the black elderberry tree which are said to produce beneficial immune actions. In laboratory and animal research, S. nigra had antiviral effects, inhibiting replication of several strains of influenza.7

Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata): Several human clinical trials have looked at the herb andrographis for reducing symptoms and severity of respiratory tract infections.8

Probiotics: A healthy gut microflora contributes to overall health and vitality by promoting optimum digestion, assimilation, gut integrity, motility, and efficient removal of toxins and wastes. In fact, nearly 70% of immune activity originates in the gut. Probiotics are naturally occurring friendly bacteria that are integral to a healthy digestive system and, when taken daily, promote regularity, ease gas and bloating, and can increase vitality and boost a healthy immune system.


“Many consumers only really think about their immune health when the seasons change and they become vulnerable and begin to feel acute symptoms,” Clow adds. “However, I believe that more consumers are now understanding the key role that a healthy diet with a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein plays in allowing the immune system to function optimally, and that certain supplements can be part of an overall healthy lifestyle to proactively support immune health.”


Also read:

OptiMSM May Support Immune Response After Exercise

Valensa to Market Algae Immune-Health Ingredients from Algal Scientific






  1. Van der Merwe M et al., “The influence of methylsulfonylmethane on inflammation-associated cytokine release before and following strenuous exercise,” Journal of Sports Medicine. Published online October 23, 2016.
  2. McFarlin BK et al. “Baker’s yeast beta glucan supplementation increases salivary IgA and decreases cold/flu symptomatic days after intense exercise,” Journal of Dietary Supplements, vol. 10, no. 3 (September 2013): 171-183
  3. Wickens K et al., “A differential effect of 2 probiotics in the prevention of eczema and atopy: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial,” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol. 122, no. 4 (October 2008): 788-794
  4. Wickens K et al., “A protective effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 against eczema in the first 2 years of life persists to age 4 years,” Clinical and Experimental Allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol. 42, no. 7 (July 2012): 1071-1079
  5. Wickens K et al., “Early supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 reduces eczema prevalence to 6 years: does it also reduce atopic sensitization?” Clinical and Experimental Allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol. 43, no. 9 (September 2013): 1048-1057
  6. Ritchie MR et al., “Effects of Echinaforce(R) treatment on ex vivo-stimulated blood cells,” Phytomedicine, vol. 18, no. 10 (July 15, 2011): 826-831
  7. Zakay-Rones Z et al., “Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 1, no. 4 (1995 Winter): 361-369
  8. Melchior J et al., “Double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot and phase III study of activity of standardized Andrographis paniculata Herba Nees extract fixed combination (Kan jang) in the treatment of uncomplicated upper-respiratory tract infection,” Phytomedicine, vol. 7, no. 5 (October 2000): 341-350
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