Top 10 Supplements to Support the Immune System

Immunity support supplements

Cold and flu season inevitably brings on a slew of coughs, sneezes, and sniffles during the winter months. While many over-the-counter pharmacological options are available, several natural remedies might do the trick. One of the best ways to protect your health is by strengthening the immune system, certain supplements can help protect and defend against germs so you can support your entire immune system. Several natural immune booster supplements are available that can help fight off common illnesses like the cold and flu. These vitamins can provide powerful protective effects, but which should you take? This article will discuss the best immunity supplements on the market.

Best supplements to support immunity


Mullein, also known as Verbascum thapsus, is a weed-type plant belonging to the snapdragon family. Originating from Asia, Europe, and North Africa, this plant has been used for centuries for its therapeutic properties. Now, it is available orally as an immune defense supplement because of its ability to protect and fight against common illnesses. Mullein exerts its effects via its antibacterial and antiviral effects. It stops the growth and development of bacteria such as pneumonia, E. coli, and staph and slows viruses like influenza. If you have a cold or the flu and take mullein, you may have a shorter recovery (1).


Elderberry comes from Sambucus trees. Though the flowers and berries of this tree are edible, you must cook the berries before eating them. When uncooked, they are toxic, causing several unpleasant gastrointestinal (GI) effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Thankfully, elderberry is commercially available in a ready-to-take form. People most commonly take it to help with cold and flu symptoms. Elderberry is used in herbal remedies and some studies have shown it's effectiveness. Two studies demonstrated that elderberry supplements shortened flu duration by four days versus placebo. However, other studies have shown mixed results. Either way, these tart-tasting berries may have beneficial effects, making them a popular immune defense supplement (2).


Ginseng is the root of Panax ginseng, a plant native to China and Korea. Ginseng is a traditional Oriental medicinal herb known to regulate the immune system. Its roots, stems, and leaves can activate the immune system in order to prevent illness. The ginsenoside and polysaccharide components are the most significant contributors to these immune-enhancing effects. Human clinical data support its therapeutic potential in immunity, making it a good option for those looking to support their immune system. In addition to combating bacterial and viral infections, ginseng can protect against cancer and autoimmune diseases (3).

Sea Moss

Sea moss is a form of red algae that has various health benefits. Sea moss may help with weight loss, gut health, workout recovery, and more. In addition, one of its potential effects includes its ability to boost immunity. One study evaluated a hypothesis which assessed Atlantic salmon that either consumed or did not consume sea moss. Findings showed that the fish which ate sea moss had more robust immune responses than those that did not.

You cannot directly compare fish to humans, but these findings are promising. Sea moss promotes gut health, providing healthy bacteria and fiber to the GI tract. Because gut health is intimately linked with the immune system, sea moss offers a natural way to support your immune system (4).


Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, is a traditional Indian herb. Used medicinally for thousands of years, it can help with anxiety, fatigue, and other ailments. One of its many uses involves its potential to boost the immune system. Ashwagandha regulates the immune system by activating and increasing certain types of immune cells.

One study aimed to evaluate the immunomodulatory effects of ashwagandha in humans. Adults took either 60 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha or a placebo for 30 days. Findings demonstrated that ashwagandha significantly boosted immunity via its effects on the innate and adaptive immune systems. Likewise, ashwagandha shows promise as an immunity dietary supplement (5).

Lion's Mane

The lion's mane mushroom gets its name from its mane-like look. Several substances are packed inside this medicinal mushroom that are known to benefit the gut, heart, and brain. In addition, animal studies indicate that lion's mane may be another potential immune defense supplement.

Lion's mane can promote healthy bacteria in the gut, thus having positive downstream effects on the immune system. One study evaluated mice taking lion's mane extract after receiving a lethal dose of salmonella bacteria. Mice treated with lion’s mane lived four times longer after infection than expected (6).


Curcumin is the active component of turmeric that provides its vibrant, orange-yellow color. Turmeric is found in curry powder and provides several widespread health benefits related to inflammation. Curcumin is the key ingredient for Tumeric and it works as a powerful immunomodulatory agent. Curcumin regulates B and T cell activation and specific immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells. It also minimizes the expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines but increases antibody responses. Via these mechanisms, turmeric may have positive outcomes in heart disease, allergy, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and diabetes (7).

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is yet another medicinal plant with widespread therapeutic effects. Such effects extend to the circulatory system, preventing clotting and improving blood flow, and the nervous system, protecting nerve cells injury. Ginkgo biloba shows promise in treating cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease (AD), perhaps via its effects on the immune system. One study showed that ginkgo biloba enhanced the innate immune system response in AD patients. In particular, it lowered the production of cytokines and downregulated specific genes (8). Such findings may be extrapolated to the general population, making ginkgo biloba a potential immune defense supplement.

Beet root

Red beet root is a functional food that improves conditions such as dementia, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Beet root also has anti-inflammatory effects, regulating things such as apoptosis, cytokines, and chemokines (9). Additionally, beet root promotes positive gut bacteria, nourishing the gut microbiota and activating the metabolism of probiotics. Gut health is associated with the immune system; thus, beet root can strengthen immunity (10).

Cat's claw

Cat's claw is a vine native to South and Central America and the Amazon rainforest. Historically, South Americans have used cat's claw for conditions such as inflammation, fevers, arthritis, and stomach ulcers. Lab studies demonstrate cat's claw’s ability to activate the immune system by promoting phagocytes and T-helper cells (11). Other studies indicate that a cat's claw may decrease inflammation and promote DNA repair (12).


While many may think a healthy lifestyle just involves diet and exercise, there is much more to consider when thinking about wellness. Health also involves supporting your immune system, a critical network of organs, cells, and functions that keep you from getting sick. If your immune system is weak and you get sick, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to function at your absolute best. Thus, supporting your immunity with immune system herbal supplements can help defend against external invaders. Doing so protects your body against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins.