The school bells are ringing and parents everywhere are rejoicing. Children thrive when they have a consistent routine, and the school year can provide that very well. Earlier today, Dr. Winnett shared some tips for moms as their kiddos jump back on the bus. Go read it!
Today I want to talk about some basics to keep kids healthy throughout the school year. Unfortunately, when the kids get back into the classroom with lots of other kids this means potential exposure to more infections. The following are my go-to essentials for building kids' immune systems:
Kids need vitamin D! It boosts the immune system, and is especially helpful in keeping respiratory infections at bay. A good daily maintenance dose for kids is 400 IU per day. When your child is coming down with a bug, you can easily dose higher than this for short periods of time. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means it needs a little bit of fat to get absorbed into the body. The fat-soluble vitamins can be problematic if your levels go too high. It's best to use this under the care of a doctor.
Another fat-soluble vitamin that can be an excellent boost to the immune system. Vitamin A can be protective against pneumonia. Low vitamin A levels have been found in kids with severe persistent asthma. Vitamin A has been shown to protect and reduce severity and complications of a measles infection. Similar to vitamin D, high doses of vitamin A can be used in an acute infection. This is best done under the care of a doctor.
The powerhouse of immune system function. Vitamin C is a natural "mast-cell stabilizer". Mast cells contain histamine and other potential irritants. When mast cells burst, they release histamine which can trigger an allergic response. By stabilizing the mast cells, you prevent this from happening. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, increases production of glutathione (a potent antioxidant), and helps fight infection.
Health (and disease!) starts in the gut. Imbalance of gut bacteria has been linked to chronic upper respiratory infections, mood imbalance (including ADHD and other behavioral problems), and digestive problems. Probiotics can help restore and build up a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Children born via c-section or children who are bottle/formula fed may have missed out on the forming healthy levels of gut bacteria. Probiotics can be a wonderful addition to a child's daily routine. Good food sources include fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi, which might be tough to convince a child to eat. I haven't been able to get my kids to eat that yet.
So these are a few of the basic building blocks to give your kids a fighting chance of staying healthy throughout the school year. Naturopathic doctors use other tools to help, including homeopathic remedies, botanical medicine, and additional nutrients. In Arizona, Naturopathic doctors can also prescribe pharmaceutical medicines, but usually only as a last resort.
Did you know we use an online medicinary service called FullScript that allows you to purchase physician-quality supplements for you and your family? Order online and have them shipped directly to your home. If you haven't created your account yet, now is the time! Check out the "Kid Basics" category to see Dr. Bradford's recommended brands. Shipping is fast (and FREE on orders over $50!)