Many of us have heard the expression “you are what you eat”. A good diet helps us to stay healthy and function both physically and mentally.

However, there are factors in the environment, such as everyday stress, pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, or simply a certain genetic predisposition that act as a burden in order to be able to take advantage of our maximum potential.

In this article we will deal with the Immunocal, a nutritional supplement used in the field of sport and also in people with chronic ailments, as well as explaining its effects on the body and its benefits.

What is Immunocal?

Immunocal, originally called HMS-90, is a food supplement which supplies all the amino acids needed by the human body in order to carry out its biological functions. It is sold in the form of a powder and is mixed with water, yoghurt or fruit juice.

It stands out for containing large amounts of the amino acid cysteine, which, through metabolic reactions, is transformed into a powerful antioxidant: glutathione.

Glutathione is a substance whose main function is to protect cells against oxidizing substances. It also intervenes in detoxification processes of the organism, fighting pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and other harmful agents. It also eliminates free radicals, which affect cells in a harmful way.

Benefits of this supplement

Immunocal has a number of beneficial effects, listed below:

Antioxidant power and fight against free radicals.
As we have indicated, it helps in the synthesis of antioxidant substances such as glutathione, thus preventing the premature aging of cells.

When there are satisfactory levels of glutathione in the body, vitamins such as A and E are released, which act as protective substances against external agents.

It also fights free radicals, which are involved in cell death.

Immune system support

Immunocal contributes to the production of lymphocytes, cells that are fundamental to the functioning of the immune system.

It also helps in increasing the activity of other cells of great importance for the immune system, such as T-lymphocytes, neutrophils and NK (natural killer) cells, which are involved in the infectious processes.

Reinforces sporting activity

This supplement contributes to muscle recovery after high-stress physical activity.

The physical development takes place thanks to the action of different hormones and a correct synthesis of proteins . To be able to form muscle mass the body requires satisfactory levels of amino acids with which to make proteins that will constitute the muscles.

Immunocal promotes the development and maintenance of muscle mass by offering a wide variety of amino acids.

Amino acid transport

In addition to being a source of amino acids, this supplement contributes to their transport through the body.

It thus helps the nervous, immune, respiratory and digestive systems to perform their biological functions satisfactorily.

pH regulation

This supplement appears to help maintain adequate pH levels.

If the pH of the body becomes too acidic, the cells can become hypoxic, which means that they have difficulty getting oxygen to them.

Consumption mode

The recommended doses of Immunocal vary depending on the characteristics of the patient or the sportsperson.

In people with some kind of mild ailment, about 20 grams of this supplement are given daily. In the most severe cases, the doses increase to 30 grams .

To encourage its absorption, it is recommended to take immunocal without too much food in the stomach , and to avoid other sources with a lot of protein.

Therapeutic indications

This supplement is recommended for people over 35 years of age who are suffering from some serious disorders that occur chronically, such as oxidative stress, immunobiological deficit, infectious hepatitis, certain types of cancers, chronic lung problems, asthma, states of malnutrition, radiation poisoning and acetominophen, and processes related to biological aging .


Practically everyone can take Immunocal: children, pregnant women, diabetics, hypertensive people, athletes, elderly people… And its administration can be both therapeutic and prophylactic, although it should be remembered that it is not a drug , but a supplement that must be combined with effective medication.


This supplement is contraindicated for people who have any type of organ transplants such as kidneys or liver, excluding people who have pacemakers and dentures or other types.

Side effects

Immunocal can produce, as a main side effect, stomach swelling if adequate hydration is not given. Skin irritations can also occur, although this is not something that happens often.

The consequences of an overdose of this supplement have not yet been reported.

What scientific backing do you have?

Immunocal is not a drug, but a dietary supplement. This is why the question may arise as to whether what its advocates say is really effective and true.

This supplement is supported by several organizations that specialize in testing the effectiveness of medicines and dietary supplements. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified the immunocal with the category of GRAS, considered a safe product for human consumption .

In the country where it was first produced,a Canada, the CPS considers it an effective natural supplement to improve health status in several conditions, however, it is stressed that is not a substitute for medical treatment .

The Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) describes this supplement as a good source of glutathione and cysteine, detailing the therapeutic effects it has been shown to offer.

These organizations emphasize that as a supplement of natural origin it has a low incidence of side effects. For this reason, and as long as the patient’s condition is not extremely serious and more powerful alternatives are needed, Immunocal is indicated as combined treatment with the pharmacological .

Bibliographic references:

  • Karelis A.D., Messier V., Suppère C., Briand P., and Rabasa-Lhoret R. (2015) Effect of cysteine-rich whey protein (immunocal®) supplementation in combination with resistance training on muscle strength and lean body mass in non-frail elderly subjects: a randomized, double-blind controlled study. Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. 19(5) 531-6.
  • Lomaestro B., and Malone M. (1995) Glutathione in health and disease: pharmacotherapeutic issues. Annuals of Pharmacotherapy 29: 1263-73.