If recent world events have done anything, they have underscored the importance of maintaining a healthy and strong immune system. To that end, according to a survey by the Council For Responsible Nutrition, 77% of American consumers take supplements. According to Fortune Business Insights, the sale of immune health supplements is expected to grow from $ 16 billion in 2019 to $ 29 billion by 2027.
Another Label Insight study found that 94% of U.S. consumers believe it’s important that all brands be transparent about what goes into food and how it’s made. But according to a review of supplement brands designed to boost immunity conducted by AminoFacts, only a third of consumers know how amino acid supplement products are obtained.
Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins, our body uses them to make all the proteins in the body, and there are 3 groups: essential, non-essential and conditional amino acids. We can get essential amino acids from our diet because they are not made in the body, and there are 9 essential amino acids: valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, lysine, and leucine. Supplements are made by extracting compounds from plants, animals or they are made synthetically. Animal sources can include meat and meat byproducts, while plant sources can include sugar cane, beets, peas, and corn.
Our immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defend the body, and it keeps a lifelong record of everything it encounters so that it can recognize and destroy foreign pathogens if they invade the body again. body. Most experts agree that nutrition plays an important role in immune health. Diets high in protein help ensure that the body can maintain amino acid levels, diets lacking in specific amino acids can lead to low white blood cell counts and inhibit the body’s ability to fight diseases and diseases. infections.
According to aminofacts, certain amino acids can help strengthen key immune system functions, including: L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, Glutathione, L-Cysteine, N-Acetyl Cyseine, Cystine, Histidine, L-Glutamine, and L-Lysine:
- L-Arginine and L-Citrulline help activate the body’s white blood cells, which detect, ingest and eliminate harmful foreign objects, including viruses.
- Glutathione, L-Cysteine, N-Acetylcysteine (aka NAC), and Cystine are antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing disease, aging and a host of people. of diseases.
- Histidine helps reduce overactive allergic and inflammatory reactions to germs and other bacteria, which can cause the immune system to overreact and destroy healthy tissue and lead to autoimmune disease.
- L-Glutamine is used when one is sick or injured because it helps kill invading pathogens by stimulating the production of white blood cells in key organs such as the liver. It is also essential for gut health, which impacts the immune system.
- L-Lysine works to relieve stress in the body in order to regulate the immune response.
The demand for supplements is high and growing as more and more consumers are aware of their benefits and the supply of supplements. Labels on food and drink can be difficult to navigate and supplements are no exception as some companies make statements that are true for all products and others are less than transparent as to the origin of the product. their products and how they are made.
Amino acids, for example, from plants or animals are molecularly identical and just as effective, but some companies do not list the sourcing of their products, so this may have ethical implications for those who choose to live a lifestyle. life without animal products and those with plants – based on preferences.
“Supplements can be a great way to make sure you’re getting the amino acids you need for optimal immune health,” said Clare Hasler-Lewis, Ph.D., board member of AminoFacts, and co-founder and CEO of natural supplements company OlivinoLife, Inc. “But not all supplements are created the same. Many consumers may not be aware that their supplements are made with materials derived from animal parts; and many have fillers and other additives. This begs the question: what are consumers supposed to think?
Most people don’t have the time or know how to research supplements, to help AminoFacts review products that are suggested as mixed immune solutions containing one or more amino acids as well as immune boosting vitamins. and other natural products as well as individual amino acid supplements that are suggested to help maintain immune health. For this review, manufacturers looked at product labels to determine which brands are among the most eco-friendly herbal options on the planet.
Some of the brands reviewed on aminofacts.org include:
Immunity mixtures containing amino acids
Pure Nature Immune Complex
Complete Immune Support Immune®
Carlson Glutathione Booster
Amino Acid Supplements
Pure Encapsulations L-Lysine
Source Naturals L-Arginine L-Citrulline Complex
Swanson Free Form Lysine
When considering a supplement, you need to know what you are putting into your body, and that starts with reading the labels. Aminofacts suggests that you research:
- Sources of amino acids – it can be parts of animals (skin, hair, feathers, hooves, etc.) or plants, such as corn and sugar.
- Other ingredients – includes non-nutritive animal ingredients such as gelatin (used to make capsules), as well as magnesium stearate and caprylic acid which can be used as lubricants on coatings.
- Procurement practices – many brands import powdered amino acids from outside the United States, filling and packaging them in the United States. This can contribute to a lack of transparency regarding plants versus animals and the country of origin of ingredients, as well as manufacturing practices and compliance with animal welfare standards.
- Laboratory tests – ingredients are tested for traces of materials such as chemicals and pesticides. This is especially important for products originating outside of the United States.
“The supplement market is a little behind the food industry in terms of providing consumers with specific and consistent information about what they are putting into their bodies,” said David Madsen, Ph.D., and member of the Board of Directors of AminoFacts. “It’s important for consumers to know what questions to ask and how to read labels to find answers. “