Sophie Tieu et al.
Knowledge that certain nutraceuticals can modulate the immune system is not new. These naturally occurring compounds are known as immunoceuticals, which is a novel term that refers to products and systems that naturally improve an individual’s immuno-competence. Examples of immunoceuticals include vitamin D3, mushroom glycans, flavonols, quercetin, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, and micronutrients (e.g., zinc and selenium), to name a few. The immune system is a complex and highly intricate system comprising molecules, cells, tissues, and organs that are regulated by many different genetic and environmental factors. There are instances, such as pathological conditions, in which a normal immune response is suboptimal or inappropriate and thus augmentation or tuning of the immune response by immunoceuticals may be desired. With infectious diseases, cancers, autoimmune disorders, inflammatory conditions, and allergies on the rise in both humans and animals, the importance of the use of immunoceuticals to prevent, treat, or augment the treatment of these conditions is becoming more evident as a natural and often economical approach to support wellness. The global nutraceuticals market, which includes immunoceuticals, is a multi-billion-dollar industry, with a market size value of USD 454.55 billion in 2021, which is expected to reach USD 991.09 billion by 2030. This review will provide an overview of the immune system, the importance of immunomodulation, and defining and testing for immunocompetence, followed by a discussion of several key immunoceuticals with clinically proven and evidence-based immunomodulatory properties.