Many people take supplements to strengthen their immune system. Immune supplements are backed by some evidence, though the scientific community is still relatively split on the effectiveness of immune boosters in actually improving general immunity.
Certain supplements could boost your immune system, helping your body fight against viruses, bacteria, and other attackers.
Your immune system relies on certain vitamins and minerals to maintain normal immune system function. If you are not getting these vitamins and minerals through your ordinary diet, supplements may be helpful to you. However, immune boosting supplements are often most effective in users who already have a deficiency in one or more of the minerals their bodies need. If you don't have such a deficiency, supplements may be ineffective at boosting your immune strength.
Today, we’re highlighting the best supplements to boost your immune system, including immune boosters backed by real scientific evidence. Additionally, our guide will consolidate research concerning the science and studies behind these supplements, including a section of frequently asked questions and answers about immune supplementation.
Let's review the top natural herbal immunity boosters to research and help provide additional support for fact checking and solution seeking when it comes to supplementing with immune system products.
Ranking the Best Immune Boosting Supplements in 2020
After much deliberation, our editorial board compiled the immune supplement rankings below. Note that our rankings are not objective or definitive. The priorities and preferences of our researchers may be different than your own. For this reason, the list below should be used as the beginning of your own extensive research, but not the end. Our rankings are compiled in no particular order.
- 1 Ranking the Best Immune Boosting Supplements in 2020
- 1.1 Quantum Health Super Lysine+
- 1.2 Nature’s Way SystemWell Ultimate Immunity
- 1.3 Host Defense Mushrooms MyCommunity
- 1.4 Source Naturals Wellness Formula Herbal Defense Complex
- 1.5 Genius Mushrooms
- 1.6 GlutaDose
- 1.7 Zhou Gummies Elder-Mune Sambucus Elderberry Gummies
- 1.8 Healthy Origins Natural EpiCor
- 1.9 Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotic and Prebiotic
- 1.10 Now Foods Immune Renew
- 1.11 BIOSCIENCE Immune Force
- 1.12 BodyManual Super Immune Boost
- 1.13 Instant Immunity
- 1.14 ProBoost Immune Support Supplement
- 1.15 Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract
- 1.16 HRx Immune Support Formula
- 2 How We Ranked
- 3 Who Should Take an Immune Booster?
- 4 Benefits of Immune System Supplements
- 5 Side Effects of Immune System Supplements
- 6 Recommended Dosage of Immune Boosters
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions About Immune System Supplements
- 7.1 Q: What is an immune system supplement?
- 7.2 Q: How do immune boosting supplements work?
- 7.3 Q: What’s in an immune system supplement?
- 7.4 Q: What is the immune system?
- 7.5 Q: How does the immune system work?
- 7.6 Q: Does everyone have a normal immune system?
- 7.7 Q: How do you take immune supplements?
- 7.8 Q: Can you take immune supplements every day?
- 7.9 Q: Are immune booster supplements natural?
- 7.10 Q: Are immune system supplements vegan?
- 7.11 Q: Do immune boosting supplements cure or prevent disease?
- 7.12 Q: Do immune supplements protect against the coronavirus?
- 7.13 Q: Can children take immune supplements?
- 7.14 Q: Can you take immune supplements while pregnant?
- 7.15 Q: Do immune boosters interact with other medications?
- 7.16 Q: Can immune supplements help you lose weight?
- 7.17 Q: Are immune system supplements antiviral?
- 7.18 Q: What are the best foods for the immune system?
- 7.19 Q: Do lifestyle factors weaken the immune system?
- 7.20 Q: Can vitamin C boost the immune system?
- 7.21 Q: Does vitamin D boost the immune system?
- 7.22 Q: Do mushrooms boost the immune system?
- 7.23 Q: Can immune supplements increase recovery from a cold?
- 7.24 Q: Are multivitamins considered immune supplements?
- 7.25 Q: Can immune booster supplements help with herpes?
- 7.26 Q: Do immune booster supplements help patients with AIDS?
- 7.27 Q: Does my immune system kill cancer cells?
- 8 Final Thoughts
Quantum Health Super Lysine+
Quantum Health’s Super Lysine+ supplement is an immune support formula made from vitamin C, echinacea, licorice, propolis, and odorless garlic – all of which have been studied for their immune boosting powers.
The supplement is very affordable, priced at just $12 for a 180 capsule (60 serving) bottle. You take the supplement daily to support immune function. Quantum Health claims their formula can be used year-round for support – or to target specific immune system challenges. If you want proven ingredients at an extremely reasonable price, then it’s hard to beat Quantum Health’s Super Lysine+ supplement.
Price: $12 (180 Capsules / 60 Servings)
Nature’s Way SystemWell Ultimate Immunity
Nature’s Way makes an immune boosting tablet called Ultimate Immunity. The formula claims to offer “multi-system defense”, protecting your cellular, circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems. You take 1 to 2 tablets per day to support your immune system.
Key ingredients in SystemWell Ultimate Immunity include echinacea extract, garlic extract, mushroom extracts, fenugreek, rosemary, gotu kola, zinc and vitamin C, among others. The supplement contains dozens of ingredients, allowing you to support your immune system in multiple ways. There are five different types of mushrooms, for example. And, at this price, SystemWell Ultimate Immunity competes with some of our top-ranked formulas for value.
Price: $20.39 (180 Tablets / 60 Servings)
Host Defense Mushrooms MyCommunity
There’s a reason so many immune boosting supplements contain mushrooms: research has shown that certain mushrooms can boost immunity. Host Defense Mushrooms MyCommunity uses 17 (!) different mushrooms to provide comprehensive immune support. All mushrooms are grown in the United States. Mushrooms with the highest dosages include chaga (148mg per serving), maitake (142mg), reishi (110mg), and cordyceps (100mg).
Priced at $52 for 60 servings, MyCommunity is one of the pricier immune boosters on this list. However, if you believe in the power of mushrooms to boost immunity, and you want to get as many mushroom extracts in one serving as possible, then Host Defense Mushrooms MyCommunity may be the right immune booster for you.
Price: $52 (120 Capsules / 60 Servings)
Source Naturals Wellness Formula Herbal Defense Complex
The Source Naturals Wellness Formula Herbal Defense Complex contains dozens of herbal extracts, vitamins, and minerals to support your immune system in different ways. It has significant doses of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D3. It also has minerals like calcium, zinc, selenium, and copper.
There are also significant amounts of herbal and plant extracts like garlic bulb, propolis extract, echinacea root extract, and elderberry fruit extract, all of which have been studied for their immune boosting power. To get all of that immune boosting power in one serving, you’ll need to take 6 capsules at once.
Price: $50 (240 Capsules / 40 Servings)
The Genius Brand makes an immune booster supplement called Genius Mushrooms. It’s one of Amazon’s most popular mushroom supplements, currently ranked #1 in the category. And, with an average rating of 4.6 / 5 and 6,000+ reviews, customers agree it works as advertised.
Genius Mushrooms claims to “elevate your immune system to another level” using ingredients like reishi mushroom extract, which has been used for centuries to boost the immune system. The formula also purportedly boosts cognitive performance and energy, giving you a boost with no stimulant required.
Price: $22 (90 Capsules / 30 Servings)
GlutaDose is the first immune booster on this list that is not a tablet or capsule. Instead, it’s an oral spray: you spray it in your mouth to protect your cells, act as an antioxidant, detoxify your body, and support your immune system.
GlutaDose contains ingredients like glutathione, vitamin C, and zinc, all of which are popular immune boosters. You spray the formula in your mouth, hold it for 15 seconds, then swallow. Your body may absorb a spray more easily – and more quickly – than a capsule or tablet, giving GlutaDose a unique advantage over supplements listed above.
Price: $60 (30 Sprays / 30 Servings)
Zhou Gummies Elder-Mune Sambucus Elderberry Gummies
Zhou Nutrition makes a popular and affordable supplement called Elder-Mune. The supplement uses sambucus elderberry mixed with vitamin C and zinc. All three of these ingredients are popular immune boosters that can be found in many other supplements listed here.
Zhou claims that by taking Elder-Mune daily, you can get a 3-in-1 immune boost from the three active ingredients. Zhou also describes the formula as an “antioxidant powerhouse”, helping your body fight off free radicals and reducing inflammation.
Price: $10 (60 Gummies / 30 Servings)
Healthy Origins Natural EpiCor
Healthy Origins is a supplement company founded in 1996. Their popular Natural EpiCor supplement provides “high-metabolite immunogens” to support a healthy immune system.
Healthy Origins claims their formula provides “clinically proven immune support”. There’s just one listed ingredient: EpiCor, which is a registered trademark formula consisting of fiber, proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and other metabolites. EpiCor is backed by clinical studies. It’s unique compared to other herb, vitamin, and mineral supplements on this list – but some people swear by Healthy Origins Natural EpiCor’s immune boosting power.
Price: $39 (150 Capsules / 150 Servings)
Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotic and Prebiotic
Dr. Tobias’s Deep Immune is a probiotic and prebiotic supplement, which means it supports gut and digestive health. Many people are surprised to learn that 80% of the immune system is found in the digestive tract. It’s true: as your body digests food, it filters out toxins and bacteria. If your digestive tract isn’t working properly, then your immune system may suffer.
Dr. Tobias Deep Immune contains 4.4 billion probiotics across four strains. The formula also includes prebiotics, which provide nutrition to probiotic bacteria. The dual action effect claims to support immune health.
Price: $22 (60 Capsules / 30 Servings)
Now Foods Immune Renew
Now Foods Immune Renew is an immune system support supplement made from a blend of mushrooms and astragalus root extract. There’s 400mg of immune boosting power in each capsule, including 200mg of astragalus root extract and 200mg of an organic mushroom blend.
Now Foods is a trusted and longstanding supplement company based in the Chicago area. The company is known for making effective supplements at fair prices.
Price: $15 (90 Capsules / 90 Servings)
BIOSCIENCE Immune Force
BIOSCIENCE Immune Force is an immune support supplement that claims to strengthen your body’s natural defense system. The formula works by “replenishing” your liver, which “enhances the communication between the liver, gut & brain”. At $93 for 60 servings, it’s also one of the most expensive immune boosting supplements on this list.
Every ingredient in Immune Force is packaged into a proprietary blend, making it impossible to see individual dosages. However, the formula contains high doses of astaxanthin, Eucommia bark extract, curcumin, goldenseal root, grape seed extract, and ginseng, among other herbal extracts.
Price: $93 (240 Softgels / 60 Servings)
BodyManual Super Immune Boost
BodyManual’s Super Immune Boost is a multi-action immune system formula that contains 23 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herb extracts. It’s a physician-formulated supplement advertised as “a natural alternative to cold and flu medicine”.
Key ingredients in BodyManual’s Super Immune Boost include vitamin C, calcium, quercetin, zinc, echinacea, holy basil extract, folate, and olive leaf extract, among a dozen other ingredients. All of the ingredients have a reputation for boosting the immune system.
Price: $40 (120 Capsules / 60 Servings)
Instant Immunity is a “20-in-1” immune booster that also claims to contain anti-fatigue properties, leaving you fully energized and ready to fight disease. Key ingredients in the formula include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, green tea extract, and curcumin, among a dozen other immune boosters.
Unfortunately, Instant Immunity packages all of these ingredients into a 1544mg proprietary blend, making it impossible to see how much of each ingredient is included per serving. However, the supplement is well-rated (4.6 / 5 on Amazon with 400+ reviews), although it is priced slightly higher than competing supplements on this list.
Price: $40 (60 Capsules / 60 Servings)
ProBoost Immune Support Supplement
ProBoost is one of the most unique immune support supplements on this list. The formula contains “thymic protein A” and “12 trillion active molecules per serving”. ProBoost comes in the form of an individual packet or tablet. You empty the packet underneath your tongue or hold the tablet underneath your tongue, then let the ingredients dissolve.
ProBoost claims its ingredients increase your white blood cell and T-cell counts. Your white blood cells and T-cells play a crucial role in your immune system: they’re the cells that fight back when viruses are detected in your bloodstream.
Price: $46 (30 Packets / 30 Servings)
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is an immune formula made from garlic, vitamin C, astragalus, and mushroom extract. Unlike other immune boosters on this list, this supplement doesn’t contain dozens of ingredients. Instead, it focuses on a few proven ingredients.
Kyolic Aged Garlic is meant to be taken daily to support your immune system. The supplement is made by Wakunaga of America Co, a California-based supplement company. All ingredients are grown organically.
Price: $21 (200 Capsules / 100 Servings)
HRx Immune Support Formula
The HRx Immune Support Formula is the first supplement on this list marketed specifically to people with herpes. The formula claims to support your immune system, helping your body fight back against herpes and cold sores. However, you can also take it to fight the common cold or flu, or to boost your overall immune system.
Other ingredients in the formula include lysine, vitamin C, zinc, oregano oil, bee propolis, and olive leaf extract. HRx Immune Support Formula markets itself very boldly, claiming to be the “most effective non-prescription over the counter product for the common cold, cold sores, herpes, shingles, and the immune system”.
Price: $32 (120 Capsules / 15 to 30 Servings)
How We Ranked
Our editorial team used the following factors to rank the best immune boosting supplements above.
Scientific Evidence: This is the first and most important metric. Some immune boosters are backed by ample evidence, while others are backed by junk science – or no science. We preferred supplements that had completed clinical trials – or used ingredients that had gone through clinical trials.
Proven Ingredients: Certain ingredients appear in multiple supplements. Elderberry, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc, for example, are some of the most proven immune boosters available, backed by thousands of studies.
Effective Dosages: Many immune boosters have the right ingredients – but at the wrong dosages. We preferred immune boosters that used the same dosages seen in major scientific studies.
Manufacturer Reputation: Some manufacturers are taking advantage of the surging immune booster space, launching poor-quality supplements at inflated prices. We preferred manufacturers with a long history of making proven supplements.
Label Transparency: Some supplements hide dosages behind proprietary labels, making it difficult to determine if the supplements work as advertised – or if it mostly contains filler ingredients.
Advertised Benefits: Supplements can’t claim to treat diseases. Some immune booster supplements walk a fine line by almost advertising specific health benefits. Supplements can claim to support your immune system – but they can’t claim to cure the flu or cold, for example.
Extra or Inactive Ingredients: Some immune boosters have extra fillers, binders, flavors, and other compounds. Sometimes, these ingredients hold the formula together in a tablet or capsule. However, we avoided immune boosters with artificial or harmful inactive ingredients.
Price & Value: Some people are willing to pay $100 for a one-month supply of an immune boosting supplements. Others want to pay $10. We featured a range of immune boosters at different budgets, although we ensured good value at every price range.
Who Should Take an Immune Booster?
Many people take immune system supplements. Some take them during flu or cold season, for example, to strengthen their bodies against viruses and bacteria.
Others take immune boosters every day. A strong immune system is your body’s first line of defense against the outside world. By taking an immune booster, you may be able to reduce your risk of illness.
Some immune boosters are designed for more than just immunity. Many energy or multivitamin supplements, for example, also contain ingredients to boost your immune system. One immune supplement above, Genius Mushrooms, even claims to work as a nootropic, boosting cognition.
You may take an immune booster without knowing it: many multivitamins contain immune boosters like zinc, for example. If you take a multivitamin with zinc every day, then you’re already taking a daily immune booster.
Some people also buy immune boosters to target specific issues – like herpes, shingles, and other illnesses that impact the immune system.
One immune booster on our list advertises itself as the “most effective non-prescription over the counter product for the common cold, cold sores, herpes, shingles, and the immune system”, for example.
Immune system boosters have also become popular during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. As the pandemic sweeps across the world, people have been taking daily immune support supplements to fight back. To be clear, immune supplements have shown no evidence of fighting the Covid-19 coronavirus. However, good supplements strengthen your immune system, and an immune system helps you fight back against anything.
Benefits of Immune System Supplements
Immune system supplements may strengthen your immune system, helping your body fight back against diseases and illnesses. There’s scientific evidence supporting many of the immune boosting ingredients above.
Elderberry extract, for example, is a popular remedy for the cold and flu. Studies have shown that elderberry can shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms, helping your body rid itself of the disease more quickly. Elderberry contains polyphenols and anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that work throughout the body.
One 2016 study showed that people consuming elderberry extract recovered faster from a cold than people who did not consume elderberry extract. A similar study analyzed the effect of elderberry syrup on influenza and found that people recovered from the flu twice as fast compared to a placebo.
Many supplements above contain garlic, which is a popular immune boosting food. Studies have shown that garlic can reduce the chances of catching the common cold by up to 30%.
Why does garlic boost the immune system? Garlic contains a compound called aliin. When garlic is crushed or chewed, this compound is turned into allicin, which is the main active ingredient in garlic. Allicin also contains sulfur, which gives garlic its unique smell and taste.
As allicin enters the body, it strengthens the immune system. This study showed that garlic boosted the disease-fighting response of white blood cells in the body, helping these cells fight viruses more effectively – including the viruses that cause the common cold or flu. This garlic study published in 2012 found that aged garlic extract reduced cold and flu symptoms and improved immune cell function, for example.
Many immune boosting supplements also contain zinc, which is another proven immune boosting mineral. Your body needs zinc for many crucial body processes – including your immune system.
Zinc has shown to be effective in many studies. It’s a crucial mineral recommended as part of a normal, healthy diet. This study in 2009, for example, reviewed available evidence on zinc and concluded that zinc is “a therapeutic and preventive agent for many conditions” because it “functions as an intracellular signal molecule for immune cells”.
Other studies have shown that zinc is particularly effective at protecting against respiratory tract infections – both before and after contracting the virus.
One 2019 study showed that patients with acute lower respiratory tract infections consuming 30mg of zinc per day reduced the duration of hospital stays by an average of two days. Zinc helped patients recover from illness more quickly.
This study from 2013 reinforced the power of zinc. Researchers in that study reviewed clinical trails on zinc performed since the 1980s. They viewed the results of all randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials using zinc for at least five consecutive days. After reviewing this evidence, researchers concluded that zinc was effective for boosting immunity:
“Zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration of common cold symptoms in healthy people.”
Researchers have also found that zinc improves immune cell signalling. Better immune cell signaling is linked with improved cell function, which could lead to a more effective immune system.
What about mushrooms? Many immune boosters contain mushroom extract. Several supplements above contained dozens of mushroom extracts.
There’s some evidence that mushroom extract can strengthen the immune system. However, scientists have studied mushroom extract less than proven immune boosters like garlic, zinc, and vitamin C.
This 2014 study showed that mushroom might prepare the body’s immune system, helping it deal with foreign pathogens more effectively. The study also found that medicinal mushrooms could improve the activity of macrophages, which are compounds that kill harmful bacteria within the body.
Studies on chaga and reishi mushrooms, meanwhile, have found that they may function as powerful immune boosting extracts. This 2019 study showed that chaga mushrooms reduced systemic stress with its antioxidant capabilities, for example.
Cordyceps is another popular mushroom purported to boost immune function. Large scale studies on humans are limited. However, this study on animals found that cordyceps could significantly improve immune function. Researchers believe the power of cordyceps comes from the polysaccharides inside the mushroom.
Vitamin C is another proven immune booster found in many supplements above. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can protect cells from free radicals, reducing inflammation. Vitamin C has proven to be an effective immune booster in numerous studies, safeguarding your body from infections and reducing the risk of illness.
In this review study published in 2013, for example, researchers analyzed over 70 years of evidence on vitamin C and the common cold. Researchers concluded that vitamin C does not reduce the risk of a cold, although it can reduce the duration of colds.
In addition to boosting cellular function, vitamin C appears to cleanse your immune system, flushing out old cells and replacing them with new cells.
Vitamin C has also been shown to increase the production and efficiency of immune system cells. Researchers in this study concluded that vitamin C reduces the duration of colds when you are sick because it organizes and facilitates the development of various immunity cells.
Overall, vitamin C is similar to zinc: both compounds have proven immune boosting effectiveness witnessed in hundreds of studies to date. Zinc and vitamin C are two of the best-studied immune boosting ingredients in the supplements above.
Some immune booster supplements contain another proven vitamin: vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of infections. If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D in your diet, then a vitamin D supplement could boost your immune system. Vitamin D has shown to be particularly effective for respiratory tract infections.
Vitamin D works by supporting strong muscles and healthy bones. It also acts as a hormone – which is why vitamin D has a significant impact on mood. Many people in northern climates are deficient in vitamin D during winter, which could lead to seasonal affective disorder and depression.
Multiple studies have linked vitamin D to health benefits and improved immune function. One notable recent study was published in 2017 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study analyzed how vitamin D supplements could prevent acute respiratory infection (ARI) in older long-term care residents. Researchers gave 107 older men and women different doses of vitamin D, then analyzed the results over 12 months. The group receiving the highest dose of vitamin D experienced fewer respiratory infections than the group receiving the standard dose.
Another 2017 study reviewed available evidence on vitamin D. Researchers analyzed 25 randomized controlled trials on vitamin D involving over 11,000 participants. Researchers concluded that vitamin D was good for protecting against acute respiratory tract infections in all people, although it was particularly effective in people who were deficient in vitamin D.
Some immune boosting supplements above contain ginseng, which has been used for centuries to treat illness. Ginseng contains an antioxidant known as S-allylcysteine. This active ingredient may improve immune system efficiency by aiding pathogen fighting nutrients like sulfur.
There have been few major studies specifically on immune system supplements. Most researchers focus on individual ingredients – like zinc or vitamin C.
However, researchers published the results of one immune supplement study in 1996 in Drugs Under Experimental Clinical Research and found that immune supplements could enhance the effect of vaccinations against the flu. Immune supplements made vaccinations more effective, enhancing the body’s ability to fight against vaccinations – like the flu shot.
Another immune supplement study showed that supplements might work by preventing bacteria from adhering to cells. Immune system supplements could prevent bacteria from binding to cells, making it harder for bacteria to infect you.
This 2011 study, for example, showed that the plant black geranium had anti-adhesive properties, making it harder for bacteria to lodge itself in your body. A 2008 review study showed that black geranium was effective for treating acute bronchitis. Researchers reached that conclusion after analyzing information from five databases.
It’s no secret that balanced multivitamin intake is important for immune efficiency. This 2010 study analyzed how vitamin A and D affected the immune system. Both vitamin A and D are unique among vitamins because they have hormone-like properties. After analyzing available evidence, researchers concluded that vitamin A and D “have the potential to be used in clinical settings for therapeutic benefit” because they appear to positively impact the immune system.
Some immune boosting supplements above contain probiotics. Probiotics have been extensively studied, and evidence shows probiotics play a crucial role in gut and immune health. This 2014 review study described immune response as “one of the major mechanisms of probiotic action”, claiming that probiotics had a “potential application for disease prevention and treatment”.
Side Effects of Immune System Supplements
Immune system supplements are generally safe for healthy adults to use. Researchers report few side effects in most studies linked above.
Some immune supplement ingredients may cause IBS-like symptoms, leading to digestive discomfort and other symptoms. This is particularly common with immune boosters that require you to take 4 to 8 capsules per day.
Other supplements may interact negatively with certain medications. Talk to your doctor before taking an immune supplement if you are currently taking medication.
There’s also some evidence that taking high doses of immune supplements could harm the immune system. One study asked men to take 300mg of zinc per day over a six week period, then found that men had weakened immune systems by the end of the period.
Immune system supplements may aggravate auto-immune disorders. Ginseng, for example, may have unusual interactions with immune disorders.
Immune supplements could also cause issues with organ donations. Supplements boost your immune strength, which could make it more difficult for your body to accept a new, foreign organ. If you have had an organ transplant, or if you are planning to have an organ transplant, then you may want to avoid immune supplements.
Some studies have shown that taking high levels of vitamin C (over 7,000mg) per day can increase organ damage. High dosages of vitamin C create oxalates that damage the kidneys, for example.
Some people are also allergic to immune supplements. Some immune supplements above contain dozens of ingredients – including mushroom extracts or plant compounds with limited research. It’s possible you could be allergic to any of these ingredients.
Ultimately, you can avoid most of these side effects by following recommended dosage instructions on your supplement.
Recommended Dosage of Immune Boosters
Immune boosting supplements contain different ingredients and dosages. Follow the recommended dosage instructions on your supplement.
Most supplements have a recommended dose of 1 to 4 capsules per day.
Experts have set specific allowances for certain immune boosting ingredients. It’s recommended you take 80 to 100mg of zinc per day to fight the common cold, for example, although the tolerable upper intake level is 40mg per day.
Vitamin C, meanwhile, has been shown to reduce the cold when taking 1,000 to 8,000mg per day.
Experts recommend taking 2,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Many people get this dose with just 20 minutes of sunlight per day. People living in northern climates, however, may want to take a vitamin D supplement to maintain immune health.
Studies show that ginseng seems to work at dosages of 400 to 1,125mg. Experts also recommend cycling ginseng every 2-3 weeks instead of taking it daily long-term.
Different mushroom extracts have different recommended dosages. Cordyceps dosages typically start around 200mg, for example, while shiitake mushroom extracts have proven safe when taking up to 8,000mg per day for up to 6 months.
Most elderberry syrup supplements, meanwhile, have a recommended dose of 5mL to 15mL per day.
Frequently Asked Questions About Immune System Supplements
Immune supplements have always been subject to misinformation. With the outbreak of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has become even more inundated with confusion and misrepresentations. The section below will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about immune boosting supplements.
Q: What is an immune system supplement?
A: An immune system supplement is any nutritional supplement that aims to strengthen your body’s defenses against viruses and bacteria. These supplements may use a combination of natural ingredients, including minerals and vitamins, to attempt to spur the immune system into increased efficiency.
Q: How do immune boosting supplements work?
A: Immune boosting supplements work in different ways. Some improve digestive health to boost your immune system, while others focus on strengthening your white blood cell count. Either approach is generally considered acceptable in the growing immune system industry.
Q: What’s in an immune system supplement?
A: Most immune system supplements contain vitamins, minerals, and herb or plant extracts. Vitamin C, zinc, and mushroom extracts are particularly popular ingredients in contemporary immune supplements, and a number of combinations of these ingredients may be included in a typical immune supplement.
Q: What is the immune system?
A: The immune system protects our body from infection. The immune system is composed of specialized cells that recognize any threatening attack from foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses.
Q: How does the immune system work?
A: The immune system protects our body from infection. When your body notices an infection, it sends white blood cells and T cells to that infection, fighting off the invaders in your bloodstream. You can never get the same cold twice because the immune system remembers. You have antibodies in your bloodstream against that illness.
Q: Does everyone have a normal immune system?
A: Some people have weakened or abnormal immune systems that put them at an increased risk of certain infections. Disease like HIV (AIDS) attack the immune system, for example. Autoimmune disorders can also lead to immune system abnormalities. If you have a condition that limits immune function, contact a medical professional to decide on a complete treatment regimen.
Q: How do you take immune supplements?
A: Follow the recommended instructions on your immune supplement. Most are designed to be taken with a meal because they contain fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Consult your medical doctor before using any immune supplement, especially if you have a condition that limits immune function.
Q: Can you take immune supplements every day?
A: Some people take immune supplements daily to support overall immune strength. Others take immune supplements exclusively during cold or flu season. Some take immune supplements immediately after experiencing symptoms. How often you should take immune supplements depends largely on a variety of personal factors.
Q: Are immune booster supplements natural?
A: Most immune system supplements contain natural ingredients, including minerals, vitamins, and plant or herb extracts. However, check the label to verify all ingredients are natural.
Q: Are immune system supplements vegan?
A: Most immune system supplements are vegan and vegetarian because they contain no animal products. However, we recommend checking the label.
Q: Do immune boosting supplements cure or prevent disease?
A: It’s illegal for immune boosting supplements to advertise themselves as a way to cure or prevent disease. However, some evidence shows that immune boosters could reduce the duration of cold or flu or strengthen the immune system in various ways. Generally, immune supplements are not known to substantively prevent or cure diseases, and we advise that consumers approach products that make these claims with caution.
A: There’s no evidence that any immune supplements protect against the COVID-19 coronavirus. While some immune boosters might improve general immunity to things like the cold and flu, no supplement can prevent the COVID-19 infection.
Q: Can children take immune supplements?
A: Some immune supplements have been proven safe for children to take, but others have not. Talk to your pediatrician before giving any supplement to your child.
Q: Can you take immune supplements while pregnant?
A: Many immune supplements are safe for women to take when nursing or pregnant, although other supplements are backed by limited research. Talk to your doctor to make sure, especially if you might be pregnant.
Q: Do immune boosters interact with other medications?
A: There’s some evidence that immune boosters interact with other drugs or medications. Generally, however, immune supplements should be safe to take when following recommended dosage instructions. Always consult your physician before using immune supplements to ensure that they will not interfere with your current medication regimen.
Q: Can immune supplements help you lose weight?
A: There’s no evidence that immune supplements can help you lose weight. However, it’s possible that these supplement ingredients could boost your metabolism or help maintain overall health and wellness, which could aid your weight loss goals. Approach claims about weight loss supplements with caution.
A: Immune supplements are not considered antivirals, although they may contain ingredients with antiviral properties. Elderberry extract has been purported to work as an antiviral for centuries, for example, and modern research has backed up this effect.
Q: What are the best foods for the immune system?
A: A healthy balance of fruits and vegetables can be very good for the immune system. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. Citrus fruits, fermented foods, and spices like turmeric may also help maintain a good immune system.
Q: Do lifestyle factors weaken the immune system?
A: Drugs, alcohol, unhealthy foods, a lack of exercise, and poor hygiene can all weaken the immune system. Any supplement regimen should be combined with proper lifestyle change and healthy choices to remain effective.
Q: Can vitamin C boost the immune system?
A: Vitamin C seems to support normal immune function by acting as an antioxidant, targeting inflammation and oxidation throughout the body, making it easier for your immune system to work.
Q: Does vitamin D boost the immune system?
A: Vitamin D seems to play a crucial role in immune system efficiency. Researchers have found that people with vitamin D deficiency have weaker immune systems than people with normal vitamin D levels.
Q: Do mushrooms boost the immune system?
A: Many immune system supplements contain mushrooms, and there’s some evidence that mushrooms boost the immune system. Shiitake, reishi, and cordyceps mushrooms are particularly backed by research, although more large scale human studies need to be done to verify these effects.
Q: Can immune supplements increase recovery from a cold?
A: Yes, some immune system supplements have been found to potentially reduce the length of time it takes to recover from the cold. Elderberry extract, for example, has been shown to cut cold recovery time in half.
Q: Are multivitamins considered immune supplements?
A: Multivitamins can support normal body function in multiple systems – including your immune system. Specific vitamins and minerals – like zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D – have a proven ability to impact your immune system.
Q: Can immune booster supplements help with herpes?
A: Many immune booster supplements market themselves to people with the herpes virus. Supplements are not designed to treat or prevent any disease, but they may boost your immune system and help your body fight back against the herpes virus, reducing the duration of symptoms.
Q: Do immune booster supplements help patients with AIDS?
A: Some immune boosting ingredients strengthen your body’s immune system, allowing you to fight off infections when your immune system is compromised. However, no immune boosting ingredient should be used as a sole treatment or management for AIDS.
Q: Does my immune system kill cancer cells?
A: Research continues on the impact your immune system has on cancer cells. Studies have shown that the immune system recognizes some cancer cells, but not others. Some cancers grow even in people with a healthy immune system.
Immune boosting supplements are a fast-growing category of supplements. The best immune supplements have proven ingredients shown to strengthen your body’s immune system, helping you fight back against colds, flus, and more.
When immune supplements have the right ingredients (like zinc and vitamin C) at the right dosages, they may be effective at maintaining normal immune system function.