Updated 1 June 2021 Jae Haroldsen

With the COVID-19 pandemic, are you looking to boost your immune system? Are you evaluating the foods you eat? Are you seeking to incorporate more foods rich in Vitamin C to support your immune function?  

Most consumers are changing consumption habits to promote a healthy lifestyle to combat the Coronavirus and stay healthy. According to a US Market Place 1Study, 44 percent of supplement users changed their eating habits to obtain a balanced diet. The same study reports 61 percent of supplement users increased their use of vitamin and mineral supplements since the pandemic started. 

Consumers are looking for nutrition, digestive health, and overall wellness from dietary supplements to help boost their immune response if they happen to be exposed to COVID-19. COVID-19 is a virus-like a cold or the flu. These viruses often result in upper respiratory tract infections.  

“Interest in these products will not abate as long as COVID-19 continues to drive consumer purchasing patterns.” - Matthew Oster, Euromonitor International, Head of Consumer Health. 

What immune-boosting vitamins and supplements should you carry in your supplement brand? Let’s take a look at the numerous studies published in the last few months. These studies include consumer surveys, market analysis, and medical research. 

Consumer Surveys 

The US MarketPlace Study found in the first three months of the pandemic (March to June 2020) in the United States, consumers were most likely to have purchased the following supplements: 

Vitamin D – 54% 

Vitamin C – 53% 

Probiotics – 35% 

Zinc – 21% 

In the 2Nutrition Business Journal, Oster notes the consumption of elderberry and echinacea. He said during the height of the pandemic last spring, elderberry and echinacea struggled to stay on the shelf. 

Supplement Covid-19 Market Analysis 

Euromonitor International expected global growth in the vitamin and dietary supplements to accelerate from just 1% in 2019 to over 4% in 2020. With the continued situation, consumer use of immune support supplements will remain high well into 2021. 

Oster strongly emphasized due to COVID-19, consumers have decidedly moved to vitamins and dietary supplements positioned around immunity. These supplements include Vitamin C, Vitamin D, probiotics, echinacea, and ginseng, along with general health products like multi-vitamins. Consumer consumption increases in probiotic supplements this past year show an interesting connection to immunity.  

"Consumers are beginning to view gut health as a pathway to immunity and general health." - Tracy Landau, President of MarketPlace 

Medical Research 

Vitamin D - The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports 3Vitamin D is necessary for a healthy immune system to fight off viral infections. 4Northwestern University analyzed data from 10 countries. It found low Vitamin D blood levels were associated with increased major complications and mortality rates of COVID-19 patients. Ongoing 5clinical trials are seeking to determine if COVID-19 case severity might be reduced or prevented with Vitamin D supplementation.  

Vitamin C 6Clinical trials are ongoing for Vitamin C’s ability to reduce the severity of COVID-19. However, as a supplement, Vitamin C helps support the immune system and may help reduce the duration of the common cold. 

Zinc – Zinc supplementation by itself or in combination with hydroxychloroquine is currently being 7evaluated for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Zinc lozenges have been shown to help reduce the effects of the common cold, especially the irritation of the throat and nasal passages.  

NIH does cite potentially damaging side-effects of long-term zinc supplementation. Too much zinc is associated with copper deficiencies. A copper deficiency can cause problems with an individual's blood cells, resulting in reversible hematologic defects and potentially irreversible neurological issues.   

Probiotics 8Healthy intestinal bacteria heavily influence the mucosal immune system. Studies have shown oral probiotics interact with the immune cells in the lining of the intestines to signal the mucous membranes throughout the body, including the bronchi tubes, to produce antibodies. Antibodies bind foreign pathogens and interrupt their ability to enter cells. Antibodies are especially potent against viruses because viruses enter cells to replicate. 

Elderberry & Echinacea – Both 9Elderberry and 10Echinacea have been used in folk medicine to treat flu symptoms and colds. Past studies have been conducted on both Elderberry and Echinacea. The studies on echinacea show taking echinacea may reduce the chance of catching a cold by increasing the number of immune cells. No current studies are ongoing regarding either Elderberry or Echinacea’s ability to fight COVID-19. 

Vitamin B6 – Studies show a Vitamin B6 deficiency negatively affects the body’s fluid and cellular immune response systems. However, most Americans do not suffer from a Vitamin B6 deficiency due to its rich availability in many foods, including potatoes and other starchy vegetables. There is a niche market for Vitamin B6 supplementation for individuals suffering from autoimmune disorders or failing kidneys. 

Marketing Your Brand 

Sales – With the pandemic, e-commerce of supplement sales are rising. By the end of 2020, e-commerce supplement sales accounted for 21% of the market. In 2019, E-commerce dietary supplement sales were 17% of the market. 

Supplement Form - Pill-based supplements in tablets, capsules, and softgels continue to hold 80% of the market. However, more people are experimenting with gummies, chews, and liquid supplement forms. 

Label Claims – NIH warns dietary supplement companies that legal action has been taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration against companies whose products contain unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness for COVID-19. By law, supplements cannot be marketed or labeled to promote diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing a disease.  

Your supplement product label should always inform consumers of any statements made that have not been evaluated by the FDA. And your product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You also may want to advise consumers to seek appropriate medical advice. 

Let Origin Nutraceutical Help You Get in the Supplement Market 

Now is a great time to get into the immune-boosting supplement market, with consumers looking for prevention, nutrition, digestive health, and wellness from dietary supplements. Contact Origin Nutraceutical today and discover how easy it is to work with you to develop your products. 

The content of Origin Nutraceutical’s website is for information only, not advice or guarantee of outcome. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources; however, Origin Nutraceutical is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation. No individuals, including those taking Origin Nutraceutical products, should use the information, resources, or tools contained within to self-diagnosis or self-treat any health-related condition. Origin Nutraceutical gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of the content. 

Sources: 

1“Immunity and Prevention Top Purchase Drivers for Supplement Users During COVID-29 Pandemic: Market Place Exclusive Survey.” CISION PR Newswire. Aug. 2020. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/immunity-and-prevention-top-purchase-drivers-for-supplement-users-during-covid-19-pandemic-marketplace-exclusive-survey-301113221.html

2Giebler, Bill. “Dietary Supplements 2020: A Global Perspective.” New Hope Network. Oct. 2020.https://www.newhope.com/market-data-and-analysis/dietary-supplements-2020-global-perspective

3”Vitamin D Consumer Fact Sheet.” National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/

4Northwestern University. “Vitamin D Levels Appear to Play in COVID-19 Mortality Rates.” Science News. 2020. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200507121353.htm

5Olena, Abby. “Trails Seek to Answer if Vitamin D Could Help in COVID-19.” The Scientist. 2020. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/trials-seek-to-answer-if-vitamin-d-could-help-in-covid-19-67817

6”Vitamin C.” National Institute of Health: Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines. 2021. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapies/supplements/vitamin-c/

7”Zinc.” National Institute of Health: Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines. 2021. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapies/supplements/zinc/

8Galdeano, Carolina Maldonado. “Beneficial Effects of Probiotic Consumption on the Immune System.” PubMed. 2019. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30673668/

9”Elderberry.” National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health. 2020.https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/elderberry

10Patel, Kamal. “Echinacea Supplement.” Examine.com. 2021. https://examine.com/supplements/echinacea/

Press Release. “COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Vitamin Supplements Market Insight/Leading Competitions, Regional Outlook, Business Growth, & Industry Development by Forecast 2025.” Market Watch. Sept. 2020. https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/covid-19-pandemic-impact-on-vitamin-supplements-market-insight-leading-competitors-regional-outlook-business-growth-and-industry-development-by-forecast-to-2025-2020-09-08

Jacobsen, Jessica. “Study Shows COVID-19 has Shifted Supplement Market.” Beverage Industry. Sept. 2020. https://www.bevindustry.com/articles/93480-study-shows-covid-19-has-shifted-supplement-market

Shipman, Matt. “Why Antibodies are Crucial to Fighting Viruses.” Futurity. 2020. https://www.futurity.org/antibodies-coronavirus-covid-19-2363062-2

Rall, L.C. and Meydani, S. N. “Vitamin B6 and Immune Competence.” PubMed. 1993.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8302491

“Vitamin B6 Fact Sheet for Consumers.” National Institute of Health. 2019. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-Consumer

Hatcher, Heather. “Dietary Supplement Use and Covid-19: What You Need to Know.” The National Law Review. 2021. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/dietary-supplement-use-and-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know