There are many, many nutritional and herbal immune-support products on the market. That's a good thing, because we all need as much help as we can get, given the increase in immune-suppressing factors such as stress, environmental toxins, radiation exposure, and microbes (infections). One immune-support product has been on my radar for years, and it's called Beta Glucan. It is probably the most researched immune support supplement on the market, with over 40 years of research, including animal studies, cell-line and placebo-controlled human studies. It is unique for several reasons: The amount of scientific documentation/validation to substantiate it's immune- support benefits. The fact that it is an immune-modulator, and therefore is appropriate in immune-suppression or immune hyperactivity (auto-immunity). It's ability to stimulate all aspects of immune function, including both innate and acquired immunity. The fact that it has been used extensively in cancer research (often along side of conventional treatment). And lastly, scientists have an extensive understanding of how it works (it's mechanism of action).
One of the top researchers in the world on the subject of Beta Glucan is Professor Vatclav Vetvicka, PhD, at the University of Kentucky. He is an immunologist and pathologist who has not only extensively researched Beta Glucan as it relates to immune function, but he has independently tested a vast number of immune-support supplements, concluding that a particular brand of Beta Glucan (Transfer Point Glucan 300) is superior to any other immune supplement on the market. His research can be found at www.glucan.us.
What does Transfer Point Beta Glucan do for the immune system? The two most important things it does is increase immune cell population (the amount of immune cells) and increase the functional ability of immune cells (makes them work better to both find and attack microbes, toxins, and cancer cells). It does this without over-stimulating the immune system or harming healthy cells in any way.
Among the scientific papers published by Dr. Vetvicka, a few stand out to me. First, a very recently published paper (March 2014) which reflected the ability of Beta Glucan to help offset the immune suppression caused by mercury, mold toxins, and radiation. Second is a recent paper comparing Transfer Point Glucan 300 to a large number of other immune-support supplements. Third, here is a paper reflecting the ability of Glucan 300 to off-set the immune suppressing effects of stress. Lastly, a paper reflecting the ability of Glucan 300 to lower cortisol and support immune function in children exposed to cigarette smoke.