‘Tis the Season for Manufacturing Immune Support Supplements

‘Tis the Season for Manufacturing Immune Support Supplements

Immune Support Supplements

According to Frost and Sullivan, the demand for immune health products is at an all-time high. 1 While immune-support supplements sales are typically the highest during the winter months, there are several other factors driving the industry’s growth and pushing this market well beyond the winter seasonal boost.

Consumers are increasingly recognizing the importance of maintaining their health in an economy that is still recovering after a tough recession. Economic pressures, job insecurities and the high cost of healthcare are exerting a gravitational pull towards preventive healthcare systems. Lifestyle factors such as stress, nutritional deficiencies or even lack of a good night’s sleep may additionally weaken the immune system, causing more consumers to turn to immune support products in an effort to avoid healthcare costs and prevent absenteeism from work because of illness. 2

According to EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S. science-based nonprofit organization, more than two-thirds of Americans are fraught with fears of impending epidemics of global proportions. 3 Ever since the H1N1 scare, schools have enforced stricter rules preventing children with the slightest of sniffles from attending school, making immune health a high priority even among school-age children.

Growing Market for Immune Support Products 4

As a nation, we average 1 billion colds a year and 17 percent of the population suffers from a viral infection during the year according to Global Industry Analysts. 5 How do Americans deal with this?

  • 45 percent take a fortified food or beverage to treat their colds
  • 27 percent take a supplement; 34 percent take OTC medication
  • 41 percent take a prescription drug and 27 percent take an alternative remedy. 6

According to IRISymphony, eight in ten Americans plan to save on medical costs by trying to stay healthy; 30 percent of these are self-treating themselves; and 25 percent are replacing prescription drugs with OTC alternatives. 7

The 2009 Gallup Study of Nutrient Knowledge and Composition reported 72 percent of American adults took a supplement to boost their ability to fight infection or illnesses; 61 percent took a multivitamin; 41 percent took an individual nutrient and 16 percent a combination product. Vitamin C sales increased by 8 percent in 2009; Echinacea jumped 7 percent according to the Nutrition Business Journal. 8

Parents are increasingly turning to herbal or homeopathic medicines to treat their children’s coughs and colds. According to a 2009 Mintel report, young people aged 18-24 and the over-55 age groups are the most concerned about immunity. 9-11

Immune-Support Ingredients

To promote a healthy immune system, supplement marketers can include a wide range of ingredients in their immune support products. Some of them inlclude:

Micronutrients such as vitamin A, beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B12 vitamin C, riboflavin, iron, zinc, and selenium, are known to have immune-modulating functions. Adequate intakes of these target nutrients are believed to lower susceptibility to a host of infectious diseases. 12

Recently, vitamin D was also found to be an immune-modulator. A lack of Vitamin D was associated with higher susceptibility to chronic infections and autoimmune diseases. 13

Probiotics, better known for its benefits on digestive health, is also an immune booster mainly because of the close interlinking between the digestive and immune health systems. Public awareness of the health benefits of probiotics in the United States has gradually increased giving a boost to the digestive-immune health market. 14

Green tea appears to have anti-viral activities. According to MedlinePlus, green tea catechins seem to be able to fight human papilloma virus (HPV) infections, although scientists are yet not able to explain how this works. 15-16

Echinacea, a commonly used herb in herbal supplements has been shown to be effective in early treatment of cold. One study found that Echinacea “decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1.4 days.” 17

Boswellia extracts appear to have immune-stimulating as well anti-inflammatory properties. 18

Curcumin, although studies are preliminary, curcumin shows a protective effect on the immune system. 19

Delivery Forms for Immune Support Supplements

According to Innova Market Insights beverages and drinks dominate the new product releases for immune enhancement products. Drinkable yogurts support immune health because of the presence of prebiotics and probiotics. This symbiotic combination primes digestive health and allows maximum absorption of nutrients, thus boosting immune health.

Teas, baby formulas, juices and dairy beverages have been well received. Other product categories for immune support include pet foods, dairy products, candy, cereal and energy bars. 20 In a 2009 Gallup Study of Children’s Beverage Habits, 57 percent of mothers who participated expressed keen interest in buying immune-boosting beverages for their pre-teen children. 21

High-dose nutrition delivery systems include sublingual strips and immune shots. Immune boosting energy shots were a $755 million market, showing a 40 percent increase from 2009. 22

Manufacturing Immune Support Products

Now is a good time to cash in on the heightened interest in immune support supplements. Submit your request to receive a free quote or call (800) 494-6154 to speak with one of our Production Specialists and learn how we can help you formulate your own line of products.


1. U.S. Market for Nutritional Solutions in Immune and Antihypertensive Health, March 3, 2011, Frost & Sullivan. http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/report-brochure.pag?id=N7CB-01-00-00-00

2. Frost & Sullivan: Asia Pacific Immune Health Ingredients Market to Reach US$1.46 Billion in 2016, July 27, 2011, Frost & Sullivan. http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/press-release.pag?docid=238863274

3. Ecohealth Alliance Survey Analyzes Americans’ Fear of Global Disease Outbreak, December 14, 2011, EcoHealth Allisance. http://www.ecohealthalliance.org/press/73-ecohealth_alliance_survey_analyzes_americans_fear_of_global_disease_outbreaks

4. Sloan Trends’ Trendsense, Getting Ahead of the Curve: Immunity. http://beta.rodpub.com/uploads/Oct10.pdf

5. Nutraceuticals: A Global Strategic Business Report, September 27, 2010, Global Industry Analysts. http://www.prweb.com/releases/nutraceuticals/dietary_supplements/prweb4563164.htm

6. Health Focus (2009)

7. IRISymphony (2010)

8. Gallup Study of Nutrient Knowledge and Composition (2009)

9. Health Focus (2009)

10. National Institutes of Health (2009)

11. Mintel (2009)

12. Micronutrient malnutrition, infection, and immunity: an overview, Nutr Rev. 2002 May;60(5 Pt 2):S40-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC500310/

13. Vitamin D: modulator of the immune system, Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2010 Aug;10(4):482-96. Epub 2010 Apr 27. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20427238

14. Probiotics – citation needed

15. Green tea, MedlinePlus, National Institutes of Health, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/960.html

16. Biological evaluation of anti-influenza viral activity of semi-synthetic catechin Derivatives, Antiviral Res. 2007 Nov;76(2):178-85. Epub 2007 Aug 1. PMID: 17709148. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17709148

17. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Jul;7(7):473-80. PMID: 17597571 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17597571

18. Modulation of the immune system by Boswellia serrata extracts and boswellic Acids, Phytomedicine. 2010 Sep;17(11):862-7. Epub 2010 Aug 8. PMID: 20696559. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20696559

19. Protective effect of curcumin on immune system and body weight gain on rats intoxicated with 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2010 Mar;32(1):99-104. PMID: 19821784. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19821784

20. Health & Wellness Trends 2011, Innova Market Insights, http://www.enfasis.com/Presentaciones/FTSARG/2011/Gratuitas/1_Tendencias_JorgeSarasqueta.pdf

21. Gallup Study of Children’s Beverage Habits (2009)

22. Sloan Trends’ Trendsense, Getting Ahead of the Curve: Immunity. http://beta.rodpub.com/uploads/Oct10.pdf

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