During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for immune supplements has surged. However, supplement companies must approach this opportunity with caution and responsibility. I’m writing this article to help dietary supplement companies write about (and sell!) their immune products responsibly, and offer my immune supplements copywriting services if you’d rather outsource.
I am Pat Dougherty, the Natural Health Writer. In this article, we’ll explore how companies should market and communicate about their immune supplements during these times, including tips on how to create credible, responsible and compliant immune supplements copywriting and content writing. I will conclude with some examples of immune supplement copywriting from my own portfolio.
Ready to learn how to sell immune supplements safely, responsibly and successfully? Let’s get to it!
The FDA’s Scrutiny of COVID-19 Claims
In the world of dietary supplements, immune support products have always been a rather sensitive category. Even claims ranging from acute respiratory tract infections to the common cold would trigger major red flags in the eyes of the FDA.
As you can imagine, during COVID any FDA scrutiny of the dietary supplement market was massively amplified — and rightfully so.
With a pandemic in full effect, sadly (and predictably) many unscrupulous companies went into vulture mode and began marketing their nutritional supplements as products that could fight COVID.
To the FDA’s credit, they swung into action quickly. By January 1 of 2020, the FDA had issued 136 warning letters to dietary supplement companies for unapproved and misbranded products in the context of COVID-19 claims. These actions were justified to protect consumers from dangerous misinformation.
You can check out many of the FDA warning letters related to COVID on your own. And I highly recommend doing so. Reading risky claims first-hand is a great way to learn how to keep your own claims clean.
If you’re in a rush, I have created a quick random sampling you can check out in the list below, to get an idea of the herbal supplements and natural products that were making irresponsible immune claims.
The FDA warning letters to immune supplement companies called out copywriting violations like the following:
- “These herbal formulas are specifically formulated for combating COVID-19 . . ..”
- “Take as a preventative measure right now to boost your immune system . . . If you become sick, discontinue and begin taking ANTI-VIRAL HERBAL FORMULA . . . specifically formulated for combating COVID-19 . . .”
- “New COVID-19 FORMULA SAID TO HELP FIGHT + PROTECT against COVID-19[,] Dr. Marc’s COVID-19 Formula 100% Natural Herbal formula works by ultra-boosting the Immune System and significantly reducing inflammation. . . . 100 All Natural Herbal Formula to help your body fight against COVID-19. GOOD FOR PREVENTION AND STRENGTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. . . . HIGHLY EFFECTIVE FOR ACTIVE COVID-19 PATIENTS.
- “Corona virus treatment. We analyzed how corona viruses infect tissues, what tissues they infect, and the herbs that are useful to interrupt that process, as well as the herbs useful to shut down the cytokine cascade they create. Here is the protocol.… [T]his is a rather extensive protocol because the particular corona virus that is now spreading world wide is exceptionally potent in its impacts. All the herbs are specific in one way or another for this virus. A number of the herbs are strongly antiviral for corona viruses .…. The formulations are preventative as well as specific for acute infections ….”
- “Each 100 ml of product will last 16 days for a preventative dose and 8 days for an infection dosage. . . .Take Extracts #1 through #3 as preventative. . . .If you are infected, take all 4 products and use the infection dosage.”
- “If you are concerned about protecting your health and the health of those you love as the world is facing the continued spread of COVID-19, Chinese medicine may have much to offer that could be life-saving.”
- “This Nano Silver 10 PPM is your totally non-toxic key to halting COVID-19 APR – Attachment, Penetration, and Replication – to keep yourself and those you love healthy.”
- “‘AS CORONAVIRUS SPREAD SPEEDS UP, MONTREAL RESEARCHERS WILL TRIAL AN ANTI-VIRAL TREATMENT FOR COVID-19 IN CHINA’‘ Quercetin has already proven successful at treating Ebola and Zika viruses [in mammals].’”
Such claims were found across several different marketing channels, including company websites, promotional materials, social accounts, and with affiliate marketing programs and influencers.
The audacity of some of these companies is staggering.
First off, immune claims are sensitive in their own right. But to then combine sensitive claims with claims of prevention, treatment and conflating supplements with medicines… well it’s a bad strategy to say the least. These companies were practically begging for warning letters from the FDA!
It is interesting to me that the FDA really cast a wide net with these warning letters, too. While most were egregious, there were a few “mild” violations as well — a pretty clear message that the FDA is not tolerating any shenanigans whatsoever when it comes to the COVID space.
Market Immune Health, Not COVID-19
Don’t let FDA scrutiny scare you away from immune supplement marketing!
Immune health is a great category to be in, with tremendous promise for the future.
Research Nester says the immune supplements category will have CAGR of 7.5% and grow to a total market size of $28 Billion by 2028.
This dietary supplements research report was released before the pandemic, and should be considered a conservative estimate.
Moreover, there are so many great ingredients the dietary supplement market can offer to consumers that may help!
Avoiding Risk: How to market immune supplements safely
So what can you say? What can’t you say about immune supplements? And what kind of risks should you look out for?
First and foremost: Don’t mention COVID, the common cold, viruses, sickness of any kind ever!
Don’t say COVID-19.
COVID, coronavirus, COVID-19… whatever moniker you use in day-to-day life, avoid them in all your immune supplement marketing materials.
As soon as you mention the exact threat to your immune system, you are placing your dietary supplements in the context of “treating” whatever that threat may be.
Also avoid phrases like these:
- Anti-viral or viruses
- Strengthen your defenses
- Fighting viral infection
- Serious illness
*So how can you say “sick” without really saying it? One of my favorite phrases to use to dance around the risky words is “immune challenges.”
Along those same lines, “seasonal immune challenges” alludes to cold and flu season without using the red-flag phrasing that gets other nutritional supplements manufacturers into trouble.
Safer claims to use:
- Supports immune system function
- Maintain your natural defenses
- Promotes a balanced immune responses
- Support healthy immune performance
- Promote balanced immune responses
Use the best researched immune nutrients for your supplement to make the strongest claims.
To make the strongest immune health claims, focus your formulation on the best dietary supplement ingredients shown in research to help the body’s immune response.
There are many ingredients now found in immune support supplements that have been shown in clinical trials to optimize the adaptive immune response. In other words, supplements remain a great way to support the immune system… and consumers know it. Some of my favorites:
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D (especially in the case of vitamin D deficiency)
Herbal Dietary Supplements
- Olive supplements
Gut Microbiome Nutritional Supplements
In summary, the idea is you want to place your nutritional supplements of supporting your body’s existing healthy immune system function. So rather than nutritional supplements “boosting immune function,” we want to rather portray them as optimizing, promoting, supporting, maintaining, etc. the body’s immune response.
The same idea goes for the inflammatory aspects of immune system performance (which we can’t really talk about anyway). Nutritional supplements cannot have “anti-inflammatory” claims because they are very risky. To mitigate the risk, we rather suggest that a nutritional supplement may “modulate” or “regulate” inflammation.
Finally, it is also great to encourage new supplement takers to follow healthy lifestyle practices that are associated with immune function. These can include intake of citrus fruits, kefir and other immune-supportive foods in a balanced diet; weight loss efforts; stress reduction and more.
*Read my full article on Supplement Copywriting Guidelines, which includes tips on how to safely navigate the FDA and FTC regulations.
Amazon has similar policies in place. If you’re not compliant, then Amazon may not permit you to sell your product on their site.
You can read my article about Copywriting for Amazon Compliance to get an idea of how supplements can be quickly approved so they can market their products on Amazon.
I also have an entire category of posts on FDA writing, specifically. Reading these can help you get the lay of the land, especially if you are new to marketing supplements.
Get legal review!
If you make nutritional supplements and are venturing into the immune system support space, it’s vital to have a lawyer review your claims before going to market.
Hiring me can help you in this regard. I can ensure that your claims and overall marketing efforts are close-to-target before you go for legal review.
My expert supplement copywriting with 20+ years experience can make a huge difference in that legal bill.
By starting out with solid, respectful claims, you might end up paying your lawyer for 1 hour of review rather than 10 hours.
Not to mention the cost of having an inexperienced writer revise your content over and over again until it meets legal approval.
Making irresponsible immune dietary supplement claims is a travesty on many levels. It misleads the consumer, potentially putting their health at risk.
It also disrespects the FDA, raising risk of scrutiny or penalties for your company. Irresponsible marketing of immune supplements may also tarnish the entire supplement industry’s reputation.
If you’re in the supplement business, it is crucial to focus on promoting immune health without directly referencing COVID-19, flus, colds or making exaggerated claims about prevention and treatment. In addition, your key benefit in the immune space should be backed by scientific research, that you enthusiastically share with your customers.
Immune health remains a robust nutritional supplements category with a promising future.
Your target audience is almost certainly thinking of taking supplements to support their immune function. Immune health is a near universal trend these days. And the booming industry can capitalize on consumer interest and increase sales of all sorts of supplements… without incurring the higher risk of unsubstantiated or otherwise irresponsible claims.
Contact me today to get started on marketing your nutritional supplements for immune health.
Now let’s take a look at some dietary supplement copywriting samples and examples from my own portfolio, all from the immune system nourishment space.
My immune supplements copywriting examples follow:
Immune Supplement Content Writing Example
[Category name] = EpiCor
EpiCor® is a proprietary supplement derived from fermented baker’s yeast. The supplement supplies immunogens that optimize the body’s defenses.
- Supports balanced, peak-performing immune function
- Helps the immune system cope with daily stress
- Immune support for year-round respiratory challenges
EpiCor® is a proprietary nutritional supplement made with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is commonly known as baker’s yeast. Also sometimes referred to as brewer’s yeast, the yeast cell is integral to the creation of both beer and bread.
After undergoing a specific fermentation process, the yeast yields an immune-supporting complex that includes numerous beneficial compounds including amino acids, antioxidants, fiber, polyphenols, protein and vitamins.
The development of this supplement extends back to the early 20th century, when a farm-raised mill worker named C.W. Bloomhall observed that livestock fed fermented food products maintained a notably high level of health.
He founded a company to make fermented products, and decades later it was discovered that employees who worked with the yeast culture exhibited unusually consistent wellness and rarely ever missed a day.
Research into this unique situation determined that the fermented compounds bolstered the immune response of those working with the product, leading to the creation of the supplement.
Science has shown that EpiCor helps to optimize immune function in two key ways. The nutrient promotes the production of secretory immunoglobin A (sIgA), which is present in saliva, tears and mucus and naturally protects the body from outside biological factors such as harmful bacteria.
The supplement’s compounds also reinforce the body’s production of certain white blood cells that act as an efficient defense system. As the nutrient maintains ideal the immune system function, it also modulates inflammatory responses, thereby benefiting overall health.
Clinical studies and research conducted on this branded ingredient have shown that in nutritional supplement form, it elevates antioxidant activity in the body, allowing it to counteract the effects of damaging oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
At least one supplement investigation concluded that the nutrient quickly becomes bioavailable, with antioxidant levels increased within two hours of supplement consumption.
Researchers have also found that it may encourage the optimal function of gastrointestinal microflora, regularly referred to as “good bacteria,” which assist digestion and adaptive immune response functions.
Since much of the immune system is located in the digestive tract, this prebiotic activity may further strengthen natural defenses while promoting digestive comfort and whole-body wellness.
Ever year there are approximately one billion instances of seasonal wellness issues. During these transitional times, each individual’s immune response system can benefit from fortification, with this science-backed supplement serving as a natural complement to conventional health practices.
EpiCor nutritional supplements consist of metabolites and nutrients created from baker’s yeast as it undergoes a fermentation process. The supplement is primarily available in capsule form. The nutrient may be combined with other ingredients such as vitamins (including vitamin C and D3), minerals (zinc) and herbs (olive leaf) in some immune-support formulas.
Immune Product Literature Example
ARA-Larix / Olive Leaf / Andrographis
500 mg / 250 mg / 150 mg
Featuring the legendary power of nature’s three greatest botanicals for peak immune performance, DreamQuest Nutraceuticals™ TRI-IMMUNE is the most effective immunity supplement ever developed!
Over millennia, humankind has identified natural compounds that appear to have been placed on earth to help our immune systems function optimally. Spanning cultures, continents, and eras, three immune-boosting wonders have consistently remained in high regard:
- Olive Leaf
Studied extensively by science and verified as effective by both ancient and modern healing arts, these botanicals offer the possibility of improving immune performance in a safe, natural, and remarkably effective manner.
TRI-IMMUNE Extended Release Tablets is the first supplement of its kind to unite Olive Leaf, Arabinogalactans, and Andrographis in a precisely-balanced, extended release blend – yielding a synergistic support formula that offers the ultimate natural defense!
A healing remedy dating back to ancient Egypt, Olive Leaf is believed to stimulate proper immune response, gently modulate inflammation, and provide powerful antioxidant support – helping to bolster the body’s defenses on multiple levels. Olive leaf may also influence microbes, viruses, and bacteria in the body. TRI-IMMUNE standardizes olive leaf to an unprecedented minimum of 20-25% oleuropein (the active compound), advancing this extraordinary healing herb’s effectiveness to the maximum.
Derived from the Western larch tree (larix occidentalis), arabonigalactan – also known as ARA-Larix – offers diverse immune-supporting actions. A natural fiber, ARA-Larix promotes peak immune function by supporting healthy digestion and helping to restore the friendly flora that are often wiped out by antibiotics. ARA-Larix is also believed to trigger immune response and stimulate production of specialized “defender” immune cells.
Long treasured for its therapeutic benefits in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic practices, Andrographis is also famous in Scandinavia for helping to soothe away common colds. A tall, hardy shrub, Andrographis is also associated with liver, digestive, and detoxification benefits. Andrographis contains phytochemicals that may promote immune function, regulate inflammation, and modulate fever.
Separately, these botanicals each exhibit the ability to harmonize with our internal defenses, providing multifaceted support for immune system performance.
With a sophisticated extended delivery formula for all-day support, TRI-IMMUNE is designed to fine-tune immune performance, modulating both underperforming immune systems and modulating overreacting immune systems.
So give your natural internal defenses the nutritional support they need to support peak health, vitality, and longevity – experience the power of nature’s greatest immune-boosting botanicals with DreamQuest Nutraceuticals™ TRI-IMMUNE!
Functional Food Immune Health Copywriting Sample
Solis Nutritional Blends® – Dream Immunity
Traditional Immune Support*
Exotic Herbs & Ancient Superfoods
Turmeric – Astragalus – Milk Thistle
- Time-tested botanicals for immune health
- Inspired by Traditional Chinese herbalism
- Rich-and-creamy hot Vanilla Chai flavor
Defend your tribe.
Native Nutrition for Immune Health
Asian herbal legends have been prized for their immune-supportive properties for thousands of years. Blending the best of these botanicals, Solis® Dream Immunity is made to:
- Modulate the immune system with Turmeric & fo-ti
- Optimize immune responses with astragalus & milk thistle
- Address seasonal challenges with Hot Vanilla Chai flavor
All it takes is one immune challenge to affect the whole family. Dream Immunity supports immune health in you and your tribe, for family wellness the whole season through.
Delicious Immune Support, Every Day.
Featuring delicious Vanilla Chai flavor with notes of black tea, cinnamon and organic clove, Dream Immunity is sweetened with lucuma fruit and blended with coconut oil powder that imparts a rich, velvety texture. It’s the easiest way to nourish your family’s immune health every day: Even your kids will love it!
Go wild. Make everything wholesome.
Vanilla Chai Dream Immunity is versatile in the kitchen, so you can defend your tribe in many delicious ways:
- Mix into creamy hot beverages and cool drinks
- Sprinkle on cereal to strengthen your breakfast
- Whip it good into smoothies, frappes & shakes
- Excellent for adding Indian cuisine spice to soups
Tribal Defense for Healthy Immune Function
In ancient times, folk healers turned to the herbs and superfoods of their native land to support the defenses of their tribes. With a unique proprietary blend, Solis Dream Immunity brings the best of these immune-supportive exotic herbs and ancient superfoods, in true authentic forms:
Organic & Raw South American Superfoods
Maca Root: Thriving in the harsh Andean mountains, maca root is a staple food of local nomadic tribes for supporting well being.
Lucuma Fruit: A staple food among Peruvian tribes, this fruit features an irresistibly delicious maple syrup-like sweetness.
Yacon Root: A prized superfood among Peruvian tribes, yacon root supplies immune-modulating prebiotic compounds.
Tribal Herbal Extracts for the Immune System
Turmeric 4:1 Root Extract: This bright yellow root is valued in Indian Ayurveda practices for its immune-supportive properties.
Astragalus 15:1 Root Extract: A valued adaptogen in Traditional Chinese health, astragalus influences immune cell activity.
Fo-Ti 12:1 Root Extract: Considered a “tonic” among Asian folk healers, this root herb supplies tannins that nourish the immune system.
Milk Thistle 4:1 Seed Extract: Used for millennia in folk health practices, milk thistle helps promote balanced, healthy immune responses.