Knowing immune support supplement: more than activating your defenses

Immune support supplement works as a complement to our immune system. Immunity is a complex system that comprises of several key processes such as activation of macrophages, antigen presentation, and response from lymphocytes. Our body has to create just enough amount of immunity to tackle the pathogens. Too few or too many of them lead to uncontrolled illness and damage to the body systems.

Therefore, immunomodulation works by either boosting or suppressing the immune response towards infections and undesirable conditions. Immunomodulatory agents are often used for treating infections, preventing immunodeficiency, and tumors. Immunomodulators can regulate the immune system to combat infections effectively. In the gut, they stabilize the composition of the gut microbiota by inhibiting harmful microbiota and stimulating health-promoting gut microbiota.

In an infection, immunomodulators don’t work directly by targeting the pathogens; instead, they modulate the innate and adaptive immune system to combat the condition effectively. This will avoid the development of microbial resistance and can be helpful to immunocompromised patients who cannot take antimicrobial and antiviral drugs.

They are especially critical in oncology cases as they can enhance immunological response to tumor cells. Very recently, immunomodulators are also included in Covid-19 therapy to attenuate the cytokine storm that leads to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Myco-medicine in Immune Support Supplement

In the effort of developing natural sources as immunomodulatory agents, medicinal mushrooms are found to be suitable reservoirs of immune-enhancing compounds, experts say. These components have been extensively studied for their ability to modulate the immune system:

  1. β-glucans
  2. Triterpenoids
  3. Lectins

β-glucans work by activating various immune system components such as macrophages, neutrophils, NK cells, and lymphocytes. Combined with oncological treatments, β-glucans can enhance the immune response by binding to pattern recognition receptors that can improve resistance to infections and promote antitumor activity.

Other than having immunomodulatory effects, β-glucans are also known as prebiotics.  β-glucans can induce the growth of Prevotella and Roseburia, the gut microbiota that play critical roles in maintaining health equilibrium. Gut microbiota can boost the immune system, prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, and protect the epithelial integrity. A report shows that unbalanced gut microbiota is often linked with various diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, cardiovascular disorders, allergy, and neural diseases. Other studies are highlighting the importance of microbiota modulation in cancer. Even a recent Nature publication states that “gut microbiota modulation, with the aim to reverse established microbial dysbiosis, is a novel strategy for prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. Different strategies including probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics, antibiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) have been employed.”

Triterpenoids and lectins have both antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. These compounds showed a potent inhibitory activity against numerous human patho-genic viruses such as HIV, herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and influenza virus. Lectins can also stop the replication of the SARS-CoV virus that causes severe lower respiratory tract infections, as in the Covid-19 disease. Triterpenoids themselves have anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing NF-κB release, blocking DR4 and DR5 pathways, and inhibiting active caspases which all contribute to inflammation process.

Numerous Medicinal Mushroom Species Have Immunomodulatory Effects

Medicinal mushrooms such as Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), Lentinula edodes (Shiitake), and Grifola frondosa (Maitake), and Inonotus obliquus (Chaga) are well known to exert immunomodulatory effects. Their polysaccharides and protein contents stimulate the activity of the immune components such as B and T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, cytokines, and NK cells.

By enabling the immune system, these mushrooms are also able to inhibit tumor growth. Reishi has been proven significant as an adjunctive treatment for lung, leukemia, and prostate tumor. In a 2014 article, Maitake demonstrated its antitumor ability for breast and colon cancer, and Chaga is well-known to be a promising therapeutic agent for hepatocellular carcinoma.


There’s no denying that compounds derived from natural products such as mushrooms are proven to be safe, affordable, and accessible. Medicinal mushrooms are a significant source of nutrients that can be found in an immune support supplement. Immunomodulation is one of the best known health benefits that medicinal mushrooms have to offer. With its abundant bioactive compounds and various health-promoting actions, myco-medicine can help our immune system to combat infections, tumors, and autoimmune diseases.