Protecting the immune system

Beyond the mask in the Covid-19
pandemic: Ingredients for
protecting the immune system

Protection from contracting COVID-19 appears to be the trending topic surrounding the virus. The biotech and medical communities are feverishly trying to find antibodies and the road to a vaccine, but these developments are not here and now because of regulatory obstacles and the short window of time researchers were given since the pandemic was declared, which has not been sufficient to run the necessary clinical trials yet.
COVID-19 is proving to be a virus of uncertainty. Reports say older people and those with pre-existing conditions are more at-risk for contracting it than younger people. For now, everyone is at risk. People are taking practical measures to reduce risk by wearing masks, paying attention to hygiene and practicing social distancing to help protect them on the outside.
The immune system in everyone is being challenged right now. Protecting the body from within is just as important as the measures people are taking to shield themselves against the virus.
Consumers are looking for information on how to boost their immune systems, as well as seeking supplements that aid in addressing stress.
“Consumers are turning to nutraceuticals to help support their immune system and brands have seen a dramatic increase of  immune health supplements,” said Katie Ferren, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Blue California, a Southern California manufacturer and supplier of dietary supplement ingredients for more than 25 years.
She confirms this dynamic, “We are seeing a surge in demand from nutraceutical brands for immune ingredients such as echinacea extract due to its potential immune stimulating properties. Some evidence suggests that it may support immune health through its antiviral and antibacterial activities.” Many of our customers use a 4:1 ratio extract.
Ferren explains how there are different ways to support the immune system. “Many ingredients have valuable and immune supporting properties. Research has shown that Reishi and Shiitake mushrooms provide a rich source of nutrients and bioactive compounds that are associated with several health effects, including supporting the immune system. Quercetin is a naturally occurring bioflavonoid that supports healthy histamine levels, thereby helping to sustain a balanced immune response.
In addition to viruses taking a toll on the immune system, we can be our own health threat by adding the new stress factor of being vigilant constantly as well as the uncertainty of when things will return to normal. Then, there are the other stress factors of suddenly working from home and balancing it with family or personal time management or maybe even losing income or employment.
Ferren recommends lemon balm as an ingredient for stress and anxiety reduction. “During this unsettling time when adults are stressing their mind and bodies, and cooped up at home, lemon balm on its own or in combination with other herbs may help support stress management, a calm mood or relaxed state.”
Another ingredient Blue California offers is L-Tea Active L-Theanine. “L-Theanine is an amino acid which may support relaxation (without drowsiness), promote focus, cognitive health and aids in a healthy stress response.”
Finally, she also says that many brands use valerian extract standardized to 0.8% valerinic acid for sleep formulations. Valerian root contains a number of compounds that may promote sleep and help reduce stress.

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