Six considerations when selecting an immune-building supplement
BY JACK MENEAR, Chief Scientist and Patent Strategist
Your immune system is your best wellness ally. With a well-tuned immune system, you get sick less often. Potential problems are dealt with before they get traction.
And if you do become ill, you get over it quickly and experience less discomfort. As a bonus, you normally feel more healthy and energetic because you are not dealing with sub-clinical infection or inflammation.
So, how do you develop a strong immune system?
Many people turn to dietary supplements. However, choosing the correct supplement is important. Multiple products and methods of building immunity can be confusing. So, how do you pick?
The following are six things to consider when choosing an immune-enhancing supplement.
1. Herbs, Vitamins, or Specialty Supplements
There are three main categories of supplements for immune-enhancement: herb mixtures, vitamin mixtures, or specialty formulations. So how do they compare?
• Herbs and Vitamins - Immunity claims for vitamins and herbs are often based on historical lore, not science. Minimally regulated, potency and efficacy varies greatly so it’s hard to trust what positive outcomes are truly possible/repeatable.
• Specialty Formulations – Unlike herbs and vitamins, specialty supplements ARE purpose formulated to enhance particular healthy outcomes, are more likely to offer greater bio-active potency AND are formulated based on actual scientific foundations.
2. Number of immune-building mechanisms included in Specialty Supplements
Specialty formulations are usually based on mixing ingredients, which are selected because they were shown effective in peer reviewed literature.
The mixture motivation is this: More ingredients is probably better. If each ingredient alone has been shown to build immunity, the greater the mixture of ingredients, the more effective the formulation. More immune building mechanisms are simultaneously in play. The probability of synergy arises (that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts).
3. Existence of Animal or Human Testing
The scientific method of validating product efficacy is based on testing. Because the bio-chemistry of many large animals, pigs in particular, are very similar to humans, a lot of animal research is directly relevant to use and expected efficacy in humans.
Existence of either animal or human tests for a particular product are good signs. Look for related studies from manufacturers as support for their efficacy claims.
4. Safety and Manufacturing Practices
Long periods of safe use are particularly comforting. The longer products have been in use, the safer they probably are.
Specialty supplements must follow rigorous adherence to the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). With GMP, ingredients are tracked from the source to product lot number. GMP was designed specifically for safety (and monitored by FDA).
When comparing products, look at the concentration of bio-actives on the label’s Supplement Facts grid to determine comparative potency between products. Typically, those with higher potency can be more expensive but will likely prove more effective so are a better value and more effective in the long run.
6. Supplement Effectiveness and Price
For an immune-building supplement, effectiveness is, by far, the prime consideration. Immunity is too important to ignore. Quality of life depends on it.
Price should be low on the priority list. A low price signals a low ingredient cost, but it doesn’t speak to effectiveness. Typically, specialty formulations at higher price points will perform best.
Learn more about CortControl's approach to immune enhancement here.
Dr. Menear is Chief Scientist and Patent Strategist for CortControl. Dr. Menear is an analytical scientist with a Ph.D. in Physical/Analytical Chemistry and extensive skills and experience that extend into marketing and sales and patent law.