Training innate immunity: A scientific breakthrough in immune support for everyday health

More and more health-conscious consumers seek science-backed solutions. Trained innate immunity, clinically proven to offer immune benefits, presents exciting possibilities for food, beverage and supplement brands

By Olivier De Salmiech, vice-president, nutritional supplements, Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa

In recent years, consumers have shifted towards managing their health proactively. They seek ways to strengthen their immunity so they can live healthy for longer.  

In Asia-Pacific, for example, consumers have shown more desire to improve immune health. The 2022 FMCG Gurus: Consumer Perceptions on Immunity in Asia-Pacific report found that 66% of consumers wish to enhance their immune health for better quality of life. This is a significant increase from 40% in 2019.

The same report also found that 77% of consumers now recognise the connection between immune health and overall health.

These consumer trends signal an increased interest in foods, beverages and supplements supporting immune health. Meanwhile, a novel way of fortifying our immune system, known as trained innate immunity, has also been recently discovered.

In this article, we will delve into the concept of trained innate immunity to support immune health in a unique way, and the implications for the food, beverage and supplement industries. First, let us understand our immune system better.

Innate immunity vs adaptive immunity

The human immune system is like a two-tiered defence fortress. The first line of defence is the innate immune system, which remembers everyday viruses and bacteria the body is exposed to. When these pathogens enter the body, the innate immune system responds swiftly to fight them off before they can start active infections. The innate system does so generally without having to recognise the specific pathogens.

If the innate system’s response is insufficient to fend off the pathogens, it prompts the adaptive immune system to take over. The adaptive system’s response is slower but specific. It remembers and identifies the specific pathogen from previous encounter and provides targeted protection against that specific challenge.

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