Many dietary supplements provide key nutrients that can support the immune system, CRN noted. For instance, zinc is especially helpful for supporting the immune system in the elderly, according to studies. “As we age, our bodies do not absorb nutrients as well as they used to—and zinc is one of those nutrients—so supplementing ensures the body is getting enough of what it needs to stay well,” said Duffy MacKay, ND, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN.
Beyond zinc and vitamin C, other examples of immune supporting ingredients include botanicals like elderberry, garlic and astragalus; probiotics; and dried fermentate (made using baker’s yeast), which, according to published research, may be helpful for adults to experience more healthy days during winter months.
Meanwhile, nearly 17% of the U.S. population taking “immune health” dietary supplements has heard of the yeast fermentate ingredient EpiCor, according to a survey commissioned by Embria Health Sciences, Ankeny, IA, the makers of EpiCor and other proprietary fermentation ingredients. The survey was conducted through Toluna QuickSurveys to learn about dietary supplement consumer behaviors and attitudes.
The general population, dietary supplement users, and non-dietary supplement users were asked, “Which health ingredients have you heard of before?” (Check all that apply): Nearly 17% of immune supplement users checked EpiCor; nearly 10% of dietary supplement users checked EpiCor; and more than 8% of the general population checked EpiCor.
Another aspect of the survey was to learn user behavior toward taking immune products. When dietary supplement users were asked: “When are you MOST likely to take a supplement to support your immune health?” 48% selected “Every day to keep me healthy,” while only 5% chose, “After I’m already sick.”
Another question investigated the importance to dietary supplement consumers about maintaining a strong immune system. When dietary supplement users were asked: “When is having a strong immune system MOST important to you? (Check one),” 65% chose, “Every day,” while only 7% chose, “When I get sick.”