When you think about essential nutrients for immune health these may spring to mind, vitamin D, vitamin C and the trace element Zinc.

Common plant-based sources can include: mushrooms for vitamin D, oranges or red capsicums for vitamin C, and pumpkin seeds or oats for zinc. But these are only a handful of immune supportive elements from the plant kingdom and not the only sources of these nutrients.

For example, did you know that besides mushrooms there is another foragable source of vitamin D—Lichen!

Or that, in addition to vitamins and minerals, polyphenols are another compound found in plants (like red onions), which can assist immune protective functions in the body¹. The flavonoid (a class of polyphenol) Quercetin, derives its name from quercetum (oak forest), after the oak genus Quercus. Research indicates this flavinol broad antiviral properties that interfere with multiple steps of pathogen virulence-viral entry, viral assistance, and protein assembly was found to potentiate these therapeutic effects when combined with vitamin C².

Whilst it’s certainly possible to get your daily requirements of these nutrients from food, some circumstances may make this challenging. Perhaps you are travelling, working long hours or doing endurance training? This can impact accessibility to quality ingredients, or allow the time to properly prepare/cook these foods for optimal nutritional benefit. In these scenarios, it maybe appropriate to supplement with a verified complex of all four nutrients.

The Australian brand IMUNI have created a specialized formula designed to provide a balanced ratio of these nutrients. To understand the science behind their best seller, we asked IMUNI to describe the surprising sources and synergistic benefits of this unique combination.

IMUNI Immune Defence has been inspired by certain key nutrients that are now well recognised as playing important roles in antioxidant systems, maintaining healthy immune system function and supporting the immune system to fight illness, making it the ideal supplement for those looking to optimise natural immune system function. IMUNI Immune Defence offers a convenient four-in- one comprehensive formulation containing Quercetin, Zinc, and vitamins D and C in therapeutic doses, ameliorating the need to take multiple capsules or tablets to obtain these four key ingredients to support optimal immune system health.

Quercetin is an antioxidant and an abundant ‘flavonoid’ found in several foods derived from plants. Scientific evidence has demonstrated Quercetin’s physiological properties for a range of mechanisms, including antioxidant effects. Quercetin’s antioxidant activity means that it can help reduce free radical damage to body cells, as well as helping to maintain immune system health and function. IMUNI Immune Defence incorporates QU995—a high purity Quercetin extract with at least 99.5% purity. Each recommended daily dose of this formula provides a dose equivalent to the amount of Quercetin found in approximately 1.2kg of red onion or 6.5kg of red lettuce.

QU995—a high purity Quercetin extract provides a dose equivalent to the amount of Quercetin found in approximately 1.2kg of red onion.

Zinc is an essential micronutrient which plays a role in the regulation of immunity, including the normal development and function of cells involved in healthy immune system function. Zinc deficiency can result in impaired immune system function. Replenishing optimal levels of zinc in the body can assist to maintain healthy immune system function and assist the immune system to fight illness.

Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune response with vitamin D receptors having been identified on various immune cells known as white blood cells which are integral to supporting the immune system to fight illness.

Vitamin D deficiency is relatively common with nearly a third of Australians over the age of 25 shown to have low levels of vitamin D.

IMUNI Immune Defence includes vitamin D3 in the form of “Vitashine” which is a 100% vegan and vegetarian society certified vitamin D3 ingredient that is derived from Lichen—a simple slow-growing plant-like organism grown from sources that are 100% eco-sustainable. The recommended dose of 2 capsules of IMUNI Immune Defence contains 1000 international units of Vitamin D3. In Australia, 1000 international units is the maximum daily dose of vitamin D recommended for general use unless advised otherwise by a registered medical practitioner.

Did you know that besides mushrooms there is another foragable source of vitamin D—Lichen (the organisms which cover your favourite rock climbing crags and cliff ecosystems)!

Vitamin C has long been recognised for its important role in supporting healthy immune system function as well as its antioxidant properties. Interestingly, research also suggests that taking vitamin C with Quercetin exerts a synergistic action due to the capacity of vitamin C to recycle Quercetin into its active form, potentially increasing its bioavailability and antioxidant activity. IMUNI Immune Defence provides both vitamin C and Quercetin in a one-to-one ratio with the primary purpose of improving the bioavailability of Quercetin and supporting healthy immune system function.

IMUNI Immune Defence capsules can be opened and mixed into desired food or beverage and are great for adding to drinks like fruit smoothies. Each bottle contains 60 capsules, or a 1 month supply if taken regularly at the recommended adult daily dose. It is also suitable for children over the age of 12 if taken at a dose of 1 capsule per day.

IMUNI’s best seller boasts clinically meaningful doses of zinc and vitamin D to maintain optimal vitamin D and zinc levels in the body, combined with Quercetin and vitamin C – providing antioxidant support to help reduce free radical damage to your body cells. Available from: imunihealth.com

IMUNI Immune Defence has also been HASTA certified, meaning it has been independently tested for substances that are commonly banned for use in competition sports or which may be prohibited for use in certain occupations including the Australian Defence Forces. This makes it the ideal supplement to recommend to competitive athletes who are conscious about optimising immune system health.

¹ Qi, W.; Qi, W.; Xiong, D.; Long, M. Quercetin: Its Antioxidant Mechanism, Antibacterial Properties and Potential Application in Prevention and Control of Toxipathy. Molecules 2022, 27, 6545. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27196545

² Colunga, B.R.; Berrill, M.; Catravas, J.D.; Marik, P.E. Quercetin and vitamin c: An experimental, synergistic therapy for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 related disease (COVID-19). Front. Immunol. 2020, 11, 1451.

Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.