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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • August 2018
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Boost your child’s immune system for the coming school year

Back-to-school season is upon us. That means it’s time to build your child’s strong immune system so he or she is able to fight back-to-school germs and stressors!

In addition to making a nutritious, balanced diet a priority, emphasizing frequent hand washing, promoting quality sleep and encouraging activities that help your child de-stress, you may want to consider supplementing with extra immune boosters.

Multivitamins

A quality multivitamin and mineral supplement is a consideration not only for the start of cold and flu season, but every day. Studies show that the immune system is dramatically affected by our nutrient levels, and that taking a daily multivitamin enhances many aspects of immune function. They contain immune-supporting nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and selenium.

When taken in conjunction with a well-balanced, healthy diet, multivitamin and mineral supplements can help support your child’s nutrition by topping off their levels as they head back to school. That being said, be sure to look at labels! There’s a major difference between Flintstones and some other drugstore brands and the high-quality options found in reputable nutrition stores.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supports not only bone, teeth and muscle health, but also the maintenance of a healthy immune system — as it influences the innate and adaptive immune responses of the body. Studies show that vitamin D plays an important part in the instinctive antimicrobial response, as cells of the immune system are capable of synthesizing and responding to vitamin D.

Unfortunately, a good portion of American children are believed to be vitamin D deficient — especially if they do not spend enough time outside or if they are constantly slathered in sunscreen. That’s because the body produces its own vitamin D when exposed to the sun. This is a perfect example of the value of supplementation.

Probiotics

You may be surprised to learn that the gastrointestinal system plays a central role in immune system health. In fact, almost 70 percent of your immune cells reside within your gut. So, if you are trying to improve your immunity, be sure to maintain optimal intestinal health. This can be accomplished by supporting a healthy balance of probiotic bacteria in the gut. When there is an imbalance, your ability to fight off infections is decreased, so you are more likely to catch the nasty viruses that are going around.

The easiest way to maximize your child’s beneficial gut microbes is to have him or her take a high-quality probiotic supplement each day. This may be especially beneficial for kids who are prone to stomach upset.

Essential fatty acids

Recent research has demonstrated that supplementation with essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help normalize the function of the immune system. They signal the free fatty acids receptors that regulate the immune and inflammatory responses, as well as increase the number of white blood cells that fight off pathogens (T-cells). The most important EFA supplements are fish oil, which contains EPA and DHA, flax seed and flax oil, which contain ALA, and borage oil or evening primrose oil, which contain GLA.

Vitamin C

It probably comes as no surprise that vitamin C is on this list. Well known for promoting immune health, this important nutrient is packed with antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. Studies show that several cells of the immune system accumulate vitamin C and actually need the vitamin to perform their tasks, especially phagocytes and T-cells. Without sufficient quantities of this nutrient, the body has reduced resistance against certain pathogens.

Echinacea/elderberry

For an herbal approach, you may want to consider echinacea or elderberry products. These berries have earned a reputation worldwide for their ability to enhance the immune system.

While many parents go to a lot of trouble to buy the right school supplies and clothing this time of year, some forget to put equal emphasis on their children’s overall health. Make it a priority this school year! 


References: “Micronutrients in women’s health and immune function.” A. Bendich. 2001.

“Ann Nutr Metab.” ES Wintergest et al. 2007.

“Vitamin D and the Immune System.” Journal of Investigative Medicine. C Aranow. 2011.

“Gut microbiota and gastrointestinal health.” Neuro Gastroenterol Motil. Q Aziz et al. 2013.

“Enhancing Your Immune System Health.” Bioriginal. www.bioriginal.com . J McColl. 2018.

“Vitamin C and Immune Function.” A Carr et al. 2017.

 

Theresa Groskopp, CN

Theresa Groskopp, a licensed certified nutritionist, is the founder and president of Natural Healthy Concepts, which has a retail location at 310 N. Westhill Blvd. in Appleton. She firmly believes that the foundation of health and wellness lies in proper nutrition. To supplement proper nutrition, Natural Healthy Concepts carries a wide variety of pharmaceutical grade supplements, homeopathic remedies and herbs — all of which are derived from the highest quality ingredients. The store also offers a nice selection of natural health products, including nontoxic sunscreens!

Website: www.naturalhealthyconcepts.com
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