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Immune health supplements – a lot of exotic boosting, but where’s the balance?

Posted Mar 02 2010 1:29pm

I’ve worked in the business side of the nutrition and supplement field for several years, so I try to keep track of balance IIwhat’s happening in the supplement product world as best I can. (I also work with bank portfolio management software and dairy cow nutritional feed ingredients, so sometimes I’m a bit limited in time and bandwidth).

Still, today I was scanning some of the industry news that’s recently been distributed throughout the supplement industry. Since I’m particularly interested in immune support, I’ve done some quick searching of what’s new in the market. All I can say is wow! There are now more immune support products than I can ever recall seeing in the past. Just a sampling, if  you’ll allow me:

PeakImmune4® , “an essential immune support dietary supplement that provides vital antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.  The active ingredient in PeakImmune4 is Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound (RBAC). A polysaccharide dietary fiber derived from rice bran, RBAC is modified by an enzyme from Shiitake mushrooms using a patented biotechnology process.”  But to view any science, you have to order it from the Web site and say why you’re interested.  Not cool.

Immune Extra® is an “all natural, vegetarian, clinically-tested supplement containing Proligna®, a botanical extract derived from pine cones that optimizes your immune system.” Hmmm. And how many pine cones are typically in the humam diet? Actually, this product does put forth a good immune balance discussion and seems to have some respectable science behind it.

KalmCold – Its makers in India say the active ingredient “is said to increase appetite, strengthen digestion and diminish flatulence, hyperacidity and biliousness. It is also utilized for treatment of many conditions like bacillary dysentery, bronchitis, carbuncles, colitis, coughs, dyspepsia, fever, hepatitis, malaria, mouth ulcers, sores and tuberculosis. The roots and leaves have a reputation for being anthelmintic.”  But no published science to be seen.

Equilibrant. Nice name. Implies balance. No science posted at all. The ingredients look like a mish-mash of about everything: Vit. D, Vit. A, Calcium, Selenium, Astragalus Root Extract, Shrubby Sophora Root Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Shittake Mushroom Extract.

Immune health is a hot supplement category right now and growing hotter. For many reasons. That’s even more reason to make sure you’re a wise consumer when considering a supplement product.  Make sure the manufacturer is safe and qualified to be producing the product. Insist of solid science. If you’re not confident in judging research quality, find an expert and ask him or her to assess the science. Read all you can about the brand and ingredients. And consult your doctor before taking anything new and untested in your dietary regimen.

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