Taking immune building supplements isn’t one of the government’s “approved” COVID-19 prevention recommendations.

You won’t find it listed along with hand washing, social distancing and wearing face masks on any public service announcement.

Just the same, it appears millions of consumers have decided on their own that it is, indeed, an important step to lowering the odds of contracting the virus.

Not only has earlier research found that consumers were investing in Vitamin C and D supplements, now a new survey has found a significant increase in probiotic usage since the COVID-19 threat was first discovered.

The survey was conducted in May by the Natural Marketing Institute, and compared the current probiotic usage with the usage tallied in 2019.

The survey included three countries in divergent geographic locations: The United States, Italy and China.

According to the survey, probiotic use had increased significantly in all three countries.

In the U.S. surveyors found a significant 66% increase in usage. In May 25% of all U.S. consumers surveyed were taking probiotics, compared to just 15% before the onset of the pandemic.

The survey also found the average daily use of probiotics had increased—meaning more consistent use inline with most manufacturers’ recommendations.

Consumers in the U.S. now take probiotics 5.35 times per week on average compared to 3.57 times per week pre-pandemic.

As impressive as the increase is in the U.S., the survey actually discovered greater increases in Italy and China.

Consumers in Italy reported a whopping usage increase of  188%, while China saw an increase of 108%.

Since the objective of the survey was to determine if use had increased from 2019, it did not include details such as strains or potency of the probiotics being used.

The survey did, however, include some demographical information, such as the age bracket of those using probiotics in the different countries.

This data revealed that the daily users in Italy skewed younger (under 50), while in China they skewed older (over 50). In the US, the increases in daily users were spread across the ages.

Interestingly, while the surge in probiotic use is attributed to the general public’s desire to improve immue health during the pandemic, “immune support” was not the leading reason for purchasing probiotics prior to the pandemic.

According to a 2019 survey by the market research company Euromonitor International, immune support was the reason provided by 40% of the respondents. This puts immune support in third place, behind both general wellness and digestive health.

Another trend verified by the latest survey was the continuing growth of online purchases. Just a few years ago probiotic purchases were made almost exclusively at physical stores, including health professional clinics. Today 40% of probiotics are ordered online in the U.S.

Regardless of the methodology used to make their purchase, 42% of respondents indicated that their physician recommended the probiotics they use to them.

When it comes to building the immune system with probiotics, research shows that gut colonization is best achieved when multiple strains of beneficial bacteria are used.

For this reason Optimal Health Systems‘ top-selling Optimal FloraPlus contains nine strains of stabilized probiotics. This is just one of the reasons Optimal FloraPlus has a proven track record stretching back two decades! Learn more here.

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Sources: NutraIngredients-USA.com, NutraceuticalsWorld.com, NaturalMarketingInstitute.com.