Special Edition: Immune Support

Vox Pop: What do college students think about immune support supplements?

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Winter is in full blast here in Chicago, a time when closed, compact quarters like university campuses often turn into hotspots for colds or even the flu.

These months are also when Google Trends witnesses peak search interest for immune support supplements such as Emergen-C, which has search peaks around December and January.

But it seems like for students these days, buying supplements to prevent the common cold or boost one’s immunity isn’t a top priority—at least among the ones we interviewed. NutraIngredients-USA ventured to the University of Illinois Chicago campus to ask passing students what they know about top immune-support supplements such as Emergen-C or Airborne.

Though most were familiar with these brands, many thought of them as something to ingest after getting a cold, and most have never bought them.

Healthy eating and washing hands over taking supplements

All students answered that they don’t have enough knowledge or that they need more research into the efficacy of supplements. One respondent negatively referred to them as ‘chemicals,’ and she, along with one other respondent, said that drinking orange juice is part of their routines to stay healthy.

However, many of the respondents also said that they think it is feasible that taking supplements can boost one’s immune system. “Having the necessary nutrients to fight any disease off is the first part of the battle, right?” one respondent said.

The US immune support market is is valued at almost $2.3 billion, according to NBJ, while the wider over-the-counter market in the US, which includes pharmaceuticals, is worth almost $6 billion, and accounts for 30% of all over-the-counter product sales.

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