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This PhD & RD Identified The Best Supplements To Promote Immunity*

Last updated on October 21, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

The immune system has experienced a renaissance of interest in our current world and for obvious reasons. Similarly, supplements that boost immunity have risen in popularity and use.

And while it took a global health crisis to make immunity top of mind for many of us, mindbodygreen has always considered a strong immune system to be a pivotal cornerstone of overall health and well-being. 

We believe that immune health is rooted in key lifestyle strategies, like a nutrient-dense dietary pattern, quality sleep, moving often, and helping keep stress in check.

Targeted, high-quality supplements also fit into this larger holistic picture of immune resilience.* It can be overwhelming to navigate the labyrinth of immune health supplements out there and differentiate one product from another. That's why mindbodygreen did the work for you.

I'm a Ph.D. scientist and registered dietitian (and mbg's vice president of scientific affairs) who personally specializes in nutrition product development and innovation, so I was happy to help round up, critically analyze, and share the best options. 

You'll not only find our top 9 supplements for immune health but also streamlined tips on what to look for versus avoid, plus practical insights on complementary lifestyle strategies to support your immune system.

A quick look at the best immune-boosting supplements

Best all-around daily immune supplement
mindbodygreen immune support+Go to review
Best antioxidant immune supplement
Metagenics Immune ActiveGo to review
Best phytonutrient immune supplement
Big Bold Health HTB Rejuvenate™Go to review
Best vegan immune formula
MegaFood Immune DefenseGo to review
Best fizzy drink immune packs
Nature Made ImmuneMAXGo to review
Best immune supplement for infants and toddlers
Zarbee's Naturals Baby Immune Support & VitaminsGo to review

The best ingredients for boosting your immune system

In addition to the supplements we chose below, here are a few immune boosting-ingredients you'll want to look for when deciding on a supplement.

How to choose an immunity supplement

When looking for an immune-boosting supplement, Ferira recommends keeping these things in mind to get the most bang for your buck.

  • Micronutrients known to support immune cell development and/or function:* vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, etc.
  • Antioxidant support to combat oxidative stress:* vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, quercetin, glutathione, resveratrol, NAC, turmeric, SGS, marine omega-3s (EPA & DHA), etc.
  • Botanicals or other bioactives that support immune resilience and strength:* quercetin, beta-glucan, resveratrol, echinacea, elderberry, certain mushrooms, curcumin from turmeric root, garlic, ginger, green tea extract, marine omega-3s (EPA & DHA).
  • Nutrients and botanicals with anti-inflammatory properties:* quercetin, vitamin D3, marine omega-3s (EPA & DHA), proresolving mediators from fish oil, curcumin from turmeric root.
  • Targeted support for gut health (i.e., the largest immune organ in the body):* prebiotic fibers (e.g., flaxseed, inulin, etc.), key probiotic strains (e.g., B. lactis Bi-07, B. lactis B420, B. lactis HN019, L. acidophilus NCFM), antioxidants, L-glutamine, collagen peptides, etc.

The best immune-boosting supplements of 2022

Best all-around daily immune supplement: mindbodygreen immune support+

Pros

  • Immune-essential nutrient + botanical complex
  • Supports a healthy and resilient immune system*
  • Bolsters antioxidant defenses*

Cons

  • Not suitable for vegans
Dietary: VegetarianGluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeNon-GMOMajor food allergen-free
Form: Capsule
Environmental impact: Sustainably packaged

Invested in supporting your daily immunity, mbg created immune support+. In this breakthrough immune complex, you'll find the leading plant phytonutrient duo quercetin phytosome and Wellmune® beta-glucan for immune resilience and strength. These two powerhouse bioactives are supported by a foundational trio of immune-essential micronutrients vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc bisglycinate, to combat oxidative stress and support your immune cells' many critical daily functions. mbg's curated five-in-one approach is delivered in just one serving per day, with a clean formula that's GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. This is your proactive, daily immune support solution. Our immune systems don't take a day off, so why should we?*

Best antioxidant immune supplement: Metagenics Immune Active

Pros

  • Supports a healthy immune response*
  • Antioxidant packed formula

Cons

  • Not for children
Dietary: Gluten-freeNon-GMO
Form: Capsule
Environmental impact: Sustainably packaged

In analyzing this multi-ingredient immune supplement by Metagenics, a pattern quickly emerges: antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and green tea extract (decaf) featuring catechins and EGCG headline for this formula, with quercetin, vitamin C, and zinc bringing up the rear. NAC is required to make glutathione (a major antioxidant) in the body, and collectively this antioxidant-heavy formula (that's GMO-free and gluten-free) supports the body's own endogenous detoxification processes, combats free radicals, and reduces oxidative stress to support the immune system and its functions. The clinical science for green tea extract and immunity still has some ripening to do, but this ingredient delivers antioxidant power nonetheless.*

Best phytonutrient immune supplement: Big Bold Health HTB Rejuvenate™

Pros

  • Unique blend of phytonutrients
  • Rejuvenates the immune response*

Cons

  • Low in vitamin C
  • Not suitable for vegans
Dietary: VegetarianGluten-freeDairy-freeNon-GMO
Form: Capsule
Environmental impact: None

This innovative product from Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., the "Father of Functional Medicine" and mbg Collective member, is an immune supplement from Big Bold Health that supports rejuvenation of the immune response. This product brings an ancient grain, tartary buckwheat (the Himalayan variety, specifically), back to the forefront. This vintage grain is rich in flavonoids and other phytochemicals and bioactives (quercetin, hesperidin, luteolin, rutin, chlorophyllin, and 2-HOBA) specific to the buckwheat plant—a proprietary portfolio of phytonutrients, if you will. You also get a small amount (16 milligrams) of vitamin C. I don't generally love the nebulous blends, but the formula is unique and high quality (GMO-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian).*

Best probiotic for immune health: Nature's Bounty Ultra Strength Probiotic 10

Pros

  • Supports immune and upper respiratory health*
  • Multi-strain probiotic

Cons

  • Proprietary blend - dosing of each strain not clear
  • Not suitable for vegans
Dietary: VegetarianGluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeNon-GMO
Form: Capsule
Environmental impact: None

Considering 70% of your immune system resides in your gut, probiotics are a valuable immunity tool, too. This particular probiotic by Nature's Bounty features 10 unique strains to support healthy immune function and upper-respiratory health. The total live-culture colony-forming units (CFU) count is 20 billion, which is spread across 10 unique strains. I like that this supplement is GMO-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian.*

Best vegan immune formula: MegaFood Immune Defense

Pros

  • Nutrients plus botanical complex
  • Certified B Corp

Cons

  • 6 tablets required (2 tablets 3 times a day)
  • Long list of “other ingredients”
  • Not meant to be taken regularly
Dietary: VegetarianGluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeNon-GMOVeganKosher
Form: Tablet
Environmental impact: Sustainably packaged

For this immune supplement, MegaFood recommends consumers take two tablets three times a day for five days when you need more intensely focused immune care and support. In their words, "when you need it most." If you take this product at their recommended frequency, you'd be getting 750 mg of vitamin C a day, 15 mg of zinc bisglycinate daily, and potent doses of three botanicals (elderberry, echinacea, and andrographis extracts), too. This vegan supplement is also GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and Kosher. However, in my opinion, excluding vitamin D3 in an intensive immune formula seems like a miss. And while designed for short-term use, it does require some dedication (three times a day).*

Best for immune response: Pure Encapsulations Balanced Immune

Pros

  • Supports healthy immune balance and function*
  • Vitamin D plus botanical bioactives

Cons

  • Not suitable for vegans
  • Plastic bottle
Dietary: VegetarianGluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeNon-GMO
Form: Capsule
Environmental impact: None

This unique, botanical-heavy formula combines vitamin D3, turmeric phytosome, broccoli sprout concentrate, resveratrol from Japanese knotweed, black ginger extract, and quercetin. Per Pure Encapsulations, this GMO-free and gluten-free formula provides, "foundational support for healthy cellular response, antioxidant status, and cytokine balance." However, they don't use quercetin in the phytosome form (i.e., better absorption in the body). I'll point out that the vitamin D3 is sourced from lanolin (derived from shearing sheep's wool), which is a good source and may be vegetarian (as the website states), but it's certainly not vegan.*

Best sugar-free immune syrup for kids: Garden of Life Kids Organic Elderberry Syrup

Pros

  • Supports immune health for children 4+*
  • USDA certified organic

Cons

  • Requires refrigeration
  • Flavor is not for everyone, as customer reviews note
Dietary: VegetarianGluten-freeDairy-freeSoy-freeNon-GMOUSDA certified organicSugar-free
Form: Liquid
Environmental impact: None

This immune syrup by Garden of Life is designed for immune support in children four years and older (obviously with adult supervision). It features three organic botanicals: mostly black elderberry fruit extract, less acerola cherry fruit extract, and a tiny bit (10 milligrams) of aronia berry. These fruits yield 10 mg of vitamin C, which sounds trivial, but the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 25 mg per day for children ages four to eight years and 45 mg a day for children ages nine to 13 years. So, 10 milligrams is useful, particularly if they're getting more vitamin C in a multivitamin. I applaud the "other ingredients'' list, which is clean and creative. Along with being GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, this syrup is certified USDA organic, sugar-free, and vegetarian. Refrigerate after opening, and pay attention to the expiry.*

Best fizzy drink immune packs: Nature Made ImmuneMAX

Pros

  • High-dose of vitamin C plus other immune-centric nutrients and electrolytes
  • Easy to dissolve

Cons

  • Calories and carbs (including 6 grams of added sugars)
  • Long list of “other ingredients”
Dietary: Gluten-free
Form: Fizzy drink mix
Environmental impact: None

This fizzy drink mix by Nature Made is an immune-centric supplement you add to a beverage. Its orange flavor is naturally derived, and the orange color comes from natural ingredient sources, too (turmeric and vegetable juice). Along with a potent dose (2,000 mg) of vitamin C, there's 1,000 IU of vitamin D3, 20 mg of zinc ascorbate, seven B vitamins (to support cellular energy metabolism), manganese, and key electrolytes too (sodium, potassium, and magnesium). This seems like a more occasional, situational play that's good to have up your sleeve. FYI, one stick pack is 30 calories (OK), but this is all from seven grams of total carbs, 6 grams of which are added sugars (fructose). If your health situation involves care with sugar intake, a capsule-based immune supplement might be a better strategy.*

Best immune supplement for infants and toddlers: Zarbee's Naturals Baby Immune Support & Vitamins

Pros

  • Formulated for kids as young as 2 months
  • No artificial flavors or dyes
  • Can be stored at room temperature

Cons

  • Contains carbs (including up to 3 grams of added sugars)
  • Not designed for extended (daily) use
Dietary: Gluten-free
Form: Liquid
Environmental impact: None

This naturally orange-flavored liquid syrup supplement from Zarbee's Naturals is immune-focused and designed for babies starting at two to 11 months old and toddlers ages one to three years. The dosing instructions are different per age group. Immune-centric micronutrients featured include vitamins A, C, D3, and E, plus zinc. This supplement is designed for one serving per day but not intended for extended use. The vitamin C dosing is higher than the RDA, but well within the safe upper limit for vitamin C in this age group (400 milligrams). This gluten-free syrup provides 10 to 15 calories per serving and three to four grams of carbohydrate from the organic agave syrup. It's free of dyes and artificial flavors, and a syringe is included to help dispense the correct dosage. Note: This syrup can be stored at room temperature.*

How we chose

Quality

These supplements contain immune-supporting ingredients that are backed by evidence-based science—including mechanistic research and clinical studies. They are present in bioavailable and effective doses (no sprinkling or fairy dusting here), so they can get right to work in your body.

Purity

We prioritize clean formulas that are plant-centric (and oftentimes vegan or vegetarian) as well as free of GMOs, gluten, soy, dairy, major food allergens, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, synthetic dyes, and more.

Innovation

We are always looking out for forward-thinking formulations and delivery formats that are genuinely helpful in transforming your health. Whenever possible, we celebrate and elevate plant-origin (i.e., plant-sourced) ingredients from a variety of botanicals.

Sustainability & transparency

Sustainability is essential to us at mbg, and we celebrate supplements made with environmentally friendly formulas and packaging. We also value companies that value transparency and have their products third-party testing for purity and potency.

What to avoid in immunity supplements

  • Sub-efficacious doses: In other words, clinically irrelevant levels of immune-supportive nutrients. You want meaningful doses for potency in the body. Take zinc, for example. Daily zinc needs are eight to 11 milligrams (8 mg for women, 11 mg for men). For a daily zinc supplement, I look for the eight- to 20-milligram range. A well-formulated immune support complex or multivitamin will include zinc in that range typically.
  • Gummy vitamins: Unless absolutely required for the ease of consumption (e.g., child deliverables like stand-alone vitamin C), gummy vitamins deliver sugar and other excipients that capsules, tablets, gelcaps, etc., simply don't. For some supplements, gummies are fine. For potent immune complexes, not so much.
  • Lazy excipients: You'll find these on the "other ingredients" section of the label. Watch out for processed ingredients, artificial or synthetic flavors and colors, coatings, shellacs, GMOs, gluten, soy, and other allergens.
  • Irresponsible claims: Brands who make bogus marketing or science claims regarding immunity and their supplement should be treated with great caution.
  • Lack of transparency: If the brand isn't an open book when it comes to their ingredient and product quality (e.g., purity and potency), swipe left.

Immune health supplements: Proactive vs. reactive approaches

For daily immune system support, a high-quality supplement should include a strategic combination of one or more immune-supporting nutrients and botanical bioactives in meaningful, science-driven doses.*

For a more reactive approach, some products will feature higher potency ("megadosing") of actives. 

mindbodygreen collectively (and I personally) prefer the former approach because being proactive and mindful of supporting our oh-so-active immune system on a daily basis is the best way to bolster your natural defenses and positively influence your immune health trajectory.*

Other natural ways to support your immune system

  1. Practice regular hand-washing (sing a verse or two of your favorite song to make it count; hand sanitizing is helpful, too).
  2. Prioritize quality sleep (seven to nine hours per night for adults).
  3. Move more (150 minutes of physical activity per week is the recommended minimum).
  4. Maintain a healthy weight (while emphasizing strength and lean muscle mass).
  5. Avoid toxins (e.g., smoking, excess alcohol).
  6. Reduce stressors whenever possible (leverage social support from family and friends, do what brings you joy, etc.).
  7. Be cognizant of metabolic health because it's directly tied to immune health.
  8. Prioritize hydration upon waking (nine to 12 cups a day).
  9. Focus on nutrient-dense immune nutrition: high-quality and adequate protein (grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic, etc., when possible), healthy fat and oil intake (especially omega-3s from marine sources and flaxseed, plus EVOO and avocado oils), an array of micronutrients (use a high-quality multivitamin to help), a colorful plant-heavy approach (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and spices), and gut health-promoting prebiotic and probiotic foods.
  10. Incorporate targeted supplements to help address inevitable nutrient gaps and provide strategic support to immune function and strength.*

Looking for more tips? Try these 11 ways to boost your immune system naturally.

The takeaway

Considering your immune system on a daily basis might not be your current norm, but weaving this proactive mindset into the fabric of your other well-being lifestyle practices is essential for health.

A key tool for bolstering your natural defenses each day is a high-quality immune supplement.* And now you have the best options right at your fingertips.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.