Children

Beneficial Supplements for Kids of All Ages

August heralds back to school for most kids, and while you begin to get back into the school routine, it’s a great time to begin a supplement regimen for your kids. Below are several different supplement ideas that may be helpful to think for the kids in your life.

MULTIVITAMINS
Multivitamins are important for filling in gaps in the diet, particularly for picky eaters or kids on the go due to sports or activities who do not always have the best of diets. We have a great selection of all natural multis for kids at the store.

PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are Important for the immune system and proper digestion. Probiotic use has been researched with children and has been found to dramatically reduce the amount of respiratory infections children contract (in research, probiotic use reduced respiratory infections by 30%). We have probiotic capsules for older kids, but also a variety of chewable probiotics for younger children.

OMEGA 3S 
Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain function in children. Omega 3s are not produced in the body and must be obtained through foods. If a child is not eating fatty fish or flaxseeds on a regular basis (multiple times a week), it is likely that they are deficient in omega 3s. Omega 3 fatty acids in children have been linked to fewer behavior and attention problems, and have even been in a recent study showing benefits for helping struggling children learning to read when compared with those who took a placebo. Most kids are not getting enough omega 3s through their diet, so supplementation with omega 3s meant for kids can make a real difference in proper brain functioning.
 
OPTIONAL SUPPLEMENTS IF NEEDED

STRESS AND ANXIETY
Many children of all ages suffer from stress and anxiety at school. We recommend theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, which helps to produce a calm, focused state. Theanine reduces anxiety without feeling tired, drugged, or “out of it”. Theanine is effective whether it is used every day or only occasionally, and can help sensitive kids have an easier time of it. Theanine is safe for kids and adults of all ages. Also, for high school and college students, we also would recommend trying one of our THC-free CBD gummies, which can be very helpful for reducing stress and anxiety. Stop by the store so we can help you find the right product for your child.

EXTRA IMMUNE HELP
Probiotics are extremely helpful for the immune system, though we do have a number of other immune boosting supplements meant for children which are helpful for both keeping kids healthy, but also helping them to get better faster if they do happen to get sick, since classrooms (particularly in younger grades) are an absolute cesspool of germs.

CALCIUM
Depending on a child’s diet, calcium supplements may be a good idea. Research has found that the majority of children aged 9 to 13 years are calcium deficient. Only about 12% of girls and 17% of boys consumed the recommended daily amount of calcium. For older teens, 42% of boys and only 10% of girls consumed enough calcium daily. Supplements are a simple way to ensure that kids have the proper amounts of calcium needed for healthy bones and are available in chewable forms for kids.

 

Here are a few other articles from our website which may also be beneficial. Please stop by the store so we can help you choose the right supplements for your kids.

  

Preventative Immune Health for Kids and Adults

Improving Children’s Concentration in School

A Helpful Tip: Chewable Gummy Vitamins for Kid’s Lunches

 

DIY Preventative Essential Oil Lice Spray for Hair

Fish Oil + Lutein for Kids to Protect the Eyes from Electronic Devices

 

A New Fish Oil + Lutein for Kids to Protect the Eyes from Electronic Devices

We’ve written about fish oil many times before, especially on how great it is for kids.

I’ve read a few new studies lately that have made me want to highlight it again, plus we’ve just found a new fish oil for kids by Barleans that has added lutein, which is the first kid’s product I’ve ever seen combining the two nutrients.

The benefits of omega 3 fish oil for kids are many, with a whole list of researched and documented benefits including better performance at school- especially reading scores, better impulse control and behavior, and even a new study that reported that kids who took omega 3 fish oil slept better at night than those who didn’t.

In addition, supplementation of omega 3 fish oil for kids is especially important since omega 3s must be obtained either through diet or supplements since the body cannot make the nutrient itself. Many adults eat fatty fish multiple times a week, but it’s extremely rare for that to be the case with kids (and if you’re the rare person whose child is eating salmon four times a week, I definitely commend you!), so in most cases, supplementation of omega 3 fish oil is necessary.

Fish oil as a kid’s supplement is something that has been around for many years, but the fantastic addition of lutein can really make a difference in kid’s health.

Many adults take lutein to protect and preserve their vision, but new research is highlighting the importance of lutein  (a nutrient related to vitamin A) to protect children’s eyesight against strain and damage from exposure to blue light from electronic devices like phones and tablets.

Research suggests that continued exposure to blue light from electronic devices can lead to damage in the cells in the retina, damage that is most often manifests over the years as macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is something usually seen in older adults, and is the leading cause of vision loss as we age. Scientists are now speculating that the ubiquitous use of electronic devices among children (now starting at younger and younger ages) may, as time passes, cause vision problems earlier than ever seen before.

This unique new kid’s fish oil and lutein combination we’re recommending by Barleans is called Omega Pals Hooty Fruity Tangerine Fish Oil + Eye Nutrition, which is kind of a mouthful. It combines not only omega 3 fish oil with lutein, but also has added zeaxanthin and astaxanthin, two other eye nutrients that work with lutein to further protect the eyes- particularly the retina and the macula, the two parts of the eye crucial to sharp, clear vision where damage is most often seen over time.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that these kid’s fish oils by Barleans are absolutely delicious. Most parents laugh at the idea of trying to get their kids to take liquid fish oil, but Barleans has found a way to make a flavored fish oil that is not at all fishy tasting, but also one that is made in a way that keeps it from being oily- it’s more of a creamy or custardy consistency, with a nice orange flavor. I have given my daughter the kid’s liquid fish oils from Barleans since she was about two years old, and she absolutely loves the taste. I even have a picture from years ago, when she was in her highchair and had somehow gotten a hold of the Barleans liquid fish oil I had on the table (it was a lemon cream flavor that they had at the time), and she  had grabbed the bottle and was literally pouring it into her mouth since she liked the taste so much!

The nice thing is that there is no downside to supplementation with lutein and eye supplements for kids, only benefits. There is no conclusive proof that has shown that years of exposure to electronic devices, beginning in childhood, will absolutely cause eye damage and degeneration. That’s because this has never happened before. Children growing up now are the first generation to be exposed to electronic devices practically since birth. The light now coming from computers, phones, and tablets is something different than any of us grew up with.

If thirty or forty years from now all those kids who were using electronic devices so much as kids grow up to have perfect eyes, well that would be wonderful, but the possible (and exceedingly likely) alternative- an entire generation of adults who will grow up to have vision problems like macular degeneration, appearing earlier and younger than ever before, is something to be prevented if at all possible.

Macular degeneration, as many adults know, is something that cannot be treated. There is no way to reverse it, but it can be prevented or slowed by proper nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin which help to protect the eyes against damage.

This new product by Barleans containing both fish oil and eye supplements for kids is something that can make a real difference for kids, both for their health now as well as eye health long term.

Stop by the store for more information and so we can help you further!

small fish oil.jpg

Barlean’s Omega Pals Hooty Fruity Tangerine Fish Oil + Eye Nutrition:

  • For children ages 1 year+

  • Made with Barlean’s ultra-purified, Fresh Catch® fish oil

  • Contains Lutemax 2020® Lutein & Zeaxanthin plus Astaxanthin to protect eyes from digital device use*

  • 500mg Omega-3 EPA & DHA per serving

  • Sweet taste and creamy texture

  • Emulsified for 3X better absorption

  • Non-GMO, gluten Free, sugar free, dairy free

  • No artificial flavors or colors

  • No fish burps!


New Delicious Elderberry Zinc Gummies for Both Kids and Adults

We have a new product for the winter “Fight Against Illness” in stock that I’ve been really impressed with- our new Zand Elderberry Zinc Gummies. Zinc is a fantastic immune booster, and has also been shown in numerous studies to help reduce the duration of colds and respiratory infections. 

The trouble with zinc is that it generally tastes terrible (sorry zinc lozenges, but you know it’s true). I don’t know what kind of witchery Zand has performed on these gummies, but they taste amazing (and they still contain a bunch of zinc).

Elderberry is a potent antiviral, and taking zinc at the very first signs of illness has been shown to help reduce the duration of colds.

These new gummies are perfect for picky kids (or adults) as an immune boosting treat. I’ve been putting a couple in my daughter’s lunch every day and she loves them (honestly, she says like they taste like candy).

Best of all, they’re on sale this month for 25% off, so be sure to give them a try!

zand gummies.jpg

Back to School Supplement Lists

August heralds back to school for most kids, and while you begin to get back into the school routine, it’s a great time to begin a supplement regimen for your kids. 

We’ve made a list of the best products for back to school for kids of all ages. Each age group section (grade school, high school, and college) has the following items:

MULTIVITAMINS
Multivitamins are important for filling in gaps in the diet, particularly for picky eaters or kids on the go due to sports or activities who do not always have the best of diets.

PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are Important for the immune system and proper digestion. Probiotic use has been researched with children and has been found to dramatically reduce the amount of respiratory infections children contract (in research, probiotic use reduced respiratory infections by 30%).

OMEGA 3S
Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain function in children. Omega 3s are not produced in the body and must be obtained through foods. If a child is not eating fatty fish or flaxseeds on a regular basis (multiple times a week), it is likely that they are deficient in omega 3s. Omega 3 fatty acids in children have been linked to fewer behavior and attention problems, and have even been in a recent study showing benefits for helping struggling children learning to read when compared with those who took a placebo.
 
OPTIONAL SUPPLEMENTS IF NEEDED

STRESS AND ANXIETY
Many children of all ages suffer from stress and anxiety at school. We recommend theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, which helps to produce a calm, focused state. Theanine reduces anxiety without feeling tired, drugged, or “out of it”. Theanine is effective whether it is used every day or only occasionally, and can help sensitive kids have an easier time of it.

EXTRA IMMUNE HELP
Probiotics are extremely helpful for the immune system, though we have also listed a few other products in this section which are helpful when taken at the first signs of illness to help to get better faster.

CALCIUM
Depending on a child’s diet, calcium supplements may be a good idea.Research has found that the majority of children aged 9 to 13 years are calcium deficient. Only about 12% of girls and 17% of boys consumed the recommended daily amount of calcium. For older teens, 42% of boys and only 10% of girls consumed enough calcium daily. Supplements are a simple way to ensure that kids have the proper amounts of calcium needed for healthy bones.

 

And so, without further ado- the lists!

We’ve made printable PDFs of each of the Recommended Supplement Llists, with information on the best specific supplements for each age, linked below:

 
Grade School Supplement Lists

High School Supplement Lists

College Supplement Lists



 

Natural Help for Colic and Gassy Babies

Anyone who has had a new baby knows that it can be rough. One of the worst things is when a little one has digestive issues including gas and colic. It’s incredibly common for babies to have digestive troubles, especially around the six to eight week mark. While it’s something that most babies grow out of, there are safe, natural remedies that can help to soothe infant’s digestive problems when you’re in the thick of it.

The first we’d recommend is a specific probiotic made for infants called JarrowDophilus Infant. It contains just one strain of good bacteria, B. Infantis, which has been studied extensively for its benefits to the developing digestive tract of newborns and infants. Studies have shown that supplementing with this specific probiotic strain is associated with a reduction in gas and digestive upset in newborns and infants.

The B. Infantis strain of probiotics make up over 90% of the good bacteria found in the digestive tract of healthy, breastfed infants. It can be extremely helpful for formula fed babies or any infant with gas, constipation, colic, and any other digestive issues causing them discomfort. Probiotics, including JarrowDophilus Infant, are only beneficial, with no negative side effects. It is completely safe for daily use for babies from birth onward, and in many babies can make a real difference in helping to normalize digestive troubles.

Another product we would recommend is called Gripe Water. It’s an all natural supplement of ginger and fennel, which works incredibly well to soothe gas and colic. We’ve even had customers report that it has helped their babies to reduce hiccupping. Our Gripe Water has an easy to use dropper that can be squeezed directly into a fussy baby’s mouth. It’s definitely a great thing to have in the house if you have a newborn.

The JarrowDophilus Infant and Gripe Water can be used in conjunction without a problem. The infant probiotic is generally meant for daily use, whereas the Gripe Water is meant to be used for acute issues of gas and colic on an as needed basis.

Back to School Supplement Essentials for All Ages

August heralds back to school for most kids, and while you begin to get back into the school routine, it’s a great time to begin a supplement regimen for your kids. 

We’ve made a list of the best products for back to school for kids of all ages. Each age group section (grade school, high school, and college) has the following items:

Multivitamins

Multivitamins are important for filling in gaps in the diet, particularly for picky eaters or kids on the go due to sports or activities who do not always have the best of diets.

Probiotics

Probiotics are Important for the immune system and proper digestion. Probiotic use has been researched with children and has been found to dramatically reduce the amount of respiratory infections children contract (probiotic use reduced respiratory infections by 30%).

Omega 3s 

Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain function in children. Omega 3s are not produced in the body and must be obtained through foods. If a child is not eating fatty fish or flaxseeds on a regular basis (multiple times a week), it is likely that they are deficient in omega 3s. Omega 3 fatty acids in children have been linked to fewer behavior and attention problems, and have even been in a recent study showing benefits for helping struggling children learning to read when compared with those who took a placebo.

Optional Supplements if Needed

Stress and Anxiety

Many children of all ages suffer from stress and anxiety at school. We recommend theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, which helps to produce a calm, focused state. Theanine reduces anxiety without feeling tired, drugged, or “out of it”. Theanine is effective whether it is used every day or only occasionally, and can help sensitive kids have an easier time of it.

Extra Immune Help

Probiotics are extremely helpful for the immune system, though we have also listed a few other products in this section which are helpful when taken at the first signs of illness to help to get better faster.

Calcium

Depending on a child’s diet, calcium supplements may be a good idea. Research has found that the majority of children aged 9 to 13 years are calcium deficient. Only about 12% of girls and 17% of boys consumed the recommended daily amount of calcium. For older teens, 42% of boys and only 10% of girls consumed enough calcium daily. Supplements are a simple way to ensure that kids have the proper amounts of calcium needed for healthy bones.

 

And so, without further ado- the lists!  We’ve also made printable PDFs of each of the lists, linked below:

Grade School Supplement List

High School Supplement List

College Supplement List

 

Back to School Supplement Supply Lists

Scroll down to find the list for your child's age, though for length it may be easiest to click on the PDFs linked above.

Grade School Essentials

Multivitamins

Animal Parade Gold  
These have the best ingredients of any kids chewable. It is the premium kids multi available.

Nordic Berries Gummy Vitamins on sale in August!
These are great tasting gummy multivitamins for kids. They are similar in look and taste to gumdrop candies.

My Kind Organic Kids Gummy Vitamins on sale in August!
These are the first food based kids organic gummy vitamin; it’s a fantastic choice for a gummy.

Probiotics

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Chewable Probiotics on sale in August!
This is the highest potency children’s chewable available, at 5 billion probiotics per chewable. We recommend it very highly.

Renew Life Ultimate Flora Gummy Probiotics on sale in August!
If you need a gummy probiotic, this is a great choice with a good potency (plus, they're great tasting!).

Omega 3s

Yummy Bears Omega Gummies
This is the highest potency fish oil gummy available (most kids chewable omega 3 supplements are very low potency, so this is a good tasting choice for kids).

Barleans Omega Swirl Fish Oil Liquid on sale in August!
A liquid fish oil does not sound particularly appetizing, but Barleans has made their Omega Swirl Fish Oil to be more of a cream than an oil, in several great tasting flavors without any fishiness. Stop by the store to try a sample.


Optional Supplements if Needed for Grade School

Stress and Anxiety

KAL Relax a Saurus on sale in August!
This is a good, theanine based chewable to help young children feel more relaxed.

Jarrow Theanine Gummies on sale in August!
These great tasting gummies have a nice amount of the relaxing amino acid theanine, and are very effective for stress and anxiety for children and adults of all ages.

Extra Immune Help

KAL ImmunoRaptors on sale in August! 
This is a great combination of supplements designed to help boost children’s immune systems.

Nature’s Answer Sambucus Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup has been studied extensively for its benefit as an antiviral, reducing the length of colds and flu. It is safe for both children and adults and is a great tasting liquid. It can be taken preventatively or in higher amounts if you are trying to combat an acute illness.


Calcium

Carlson Calcium Gummies on sale in August!
These gummies are wonderful tasting and are appropriate for both children and adults. Each gummy has 250 mg of calcium.

 

High School Essentials

Multivitamins

Nature’s Plus Power Teen for Girls or Boys
These are chewables specifically designed for the needs of growing teenagers. They’re also a nice option for teens who have trouble swallowing pills.

Solaray One-A-Day High Energy Multivitamin on sale in August!
These are nice, easy to swallow capsules with high B vitamins, which help with energy.

Probiotics

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Chewable Probiotics on sale in August!
This is the highest potency children’s chewable available, at 5 billion probiotics per chewable, and is appropriate for teenagers who prefer chewables.

JarrowDophilus EPS on sale in August!
These are easy to swallow capsules with a potency of 5 billion each.

Omega 3s

Nordic Naturals Lemon Fish Oil Softgels on sale in August! 
These softgels are smaller sized than many fish oil supplements, and also have added lemon oil inside the softgels to prevent “fish burps”.

Barleans Omega Swirl Fish Oil Liquid on sale in August!
A liquid fish oil does not sound particularly appetizing, but Barleans has made their Omega Swirl Fish Oil to be more of a cream than an oil, in several great tasting flavors without any fishiness.

Optional Supplements if Needed for High School

Stress and Anxiety

Jarrow Theanine Gummies or Capsules on sale in August!
Whether teenagers prefer a gummy or a capsule, theanine is wonderful for anxiety and stress- it works to produce a calm, focused, and relaxed state. Theanine is not habit forming and can be extremely useful for children and adults for reducing anxiety.

Extra Immune Help

Irwin Natural’s Immuno Shield
Immuno Shield is a fantastic immune booster that combines a variety of supplements that work to activate the immune system.

Nature’s Answer Sambucus Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry is a great antiviral, and works well to shorten the duration of illness caused by viruses (the flu in particular).


Calcium

Carlson Calcium Gummies on sale in August!
These gummies are wonderful tasting and are appropriate for both children and adults. Each gummy has 250 mg of calcium.

Digestion

American Health’s Chewable Papaya Enzymes
Papaya enzymes are helpful for anyone who gets occasional stomach upset or indigestion after eating. Papaya enzymes are all natural and work by breaking down the food in the stomach so it’s able to be digested easier.
 

College Student Essentials

Multivitamins

My Kind Multivitamins for Men or Women on sale in August!  
My Kind vitamins are organic, food based and extremely gentle on the system. 

Solaray One-A-Day High Energy Multivitamin on sale in August!
These are nice, easy to swallow capsules with high B vitamins, which help with energy.

Probiotics

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics for Men or Women on sale in August!
These are wonderful, high potency probiotics that have specific strains for male and female bodies- for example, the women’s probiotic has strains that help with preventing urinary tract and yeast infections. 

JarrowDophilus EPS on sale in August!
These are easy to swallow capsules with a potency of 5 billion each.

Omega 3s

Nordic Naturals Lemon Fish Oil Softgels on sale in August! 
These softgels are smaller sized than many fish oil supplements, and also have added lemon oil inside the softgels to prevent “fish burps”.


Optional Supplements if Needed for College Students

Stress and Anxiety

Jarrow Theanine Gummies or Capsules on sale in August!
Whether teenagers prefer a gummy or a capsule, theanine is wonderful for anxiety and stress- it works to produce a calm, focused, and relaxed state. Theanine is not habit forming and can be extremely useful for children and adults for reducing anxiety.

Extra Immune Help

Irwin Natural’s Immuno Shield
Immuno Shield is a fantastic immune booster that combines a variety of supplements that work to activate the immune system.

Nature’s Answer Sambucus Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry is a great antiviral, and works well to shorten the duration of illness caused by viruses (the flu in particular).

Calcium

Carlson Calcium Gummies on sale in August!
These gummies are wonderful tasting and are appropriate for both children and adults. Each gummy has 250 mg of calcium.

Country Life’s Calcium Magnesium Capsules
These are nice for teenagers and adults who prefer a capsule to swallow.

Digestion

American Health’s Chewable Papaya Enzymes
Papaya enzymes are helpful for anyone who gets occasional stomach upset or indigestion after eating. Papaya enzymes are all natural and work by breaking down the food in the stomach so it’s able to be digested easier.
 

Stop by the store this month, we'd be happy to help you find the exact supplements that would be best for the children in your life!

 

A Helpful Tip: Chewable Gummy Vitamins for Kid’s Lunches

In general, for kids, we think hard chewables are better for kid’s multivitamins, since they usually have more complete ingredients, and/or higher potencies of vitamins. However, I wanted to share a helpful tip regarding gummy vitamins which has helped our family and that I’ve found to be especially useful.

My first grader takes a lunch to school every day, and I’ve gotten in the habit of putting gummy vitamins for her to take in with her sandwich. Most schools would balk at seeing regular hard vitamins in a school lunch (understandably, since they can look like medicine), but the gummy vitamins we have at the store just look like candy or fruit snacks. I’ve found it to be a perfect solution for us since I never forget to give her her vitamins (I do a gummy multivitamin, an omega 3 chewable gummy, and a gummy probiotic), and she loves having them in her lunch since the gummies taste like a treat (I don’t usually give her fruit snacks or the like, so the gummy vitamins are a special thing in her mind).

We have a number of great tasting gummy vitamins at the store which are “kid approved” for taste.

Multivitamins

While multivitamins aren’t a replacement for a healthy diet, they are helpful to “fill in the gaps” especially for picky eaters. We recommend Nordic Naturals Nordic Berries Multivitamins and Yummy Bears Multivitamins.

Probiotics

Probiotics help with digestion and boost the immune system naturally.  Research has shown that kids who take probiotics on a regular basis get fewer upper respiratory infections than kids who do not take probiotics.  We recommend Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora Sour Gummies.

Omega 3s

Omega 3 fatty acids help with brain function, improving concentration and focus.  Omega 3s must be obtained through diet, since the body does not manufacture them, so if a child isn’t eating fatty fish on a regular basis, it is likely they’re deficient.  We recommend Yummy Bears Omega 3 + DHA and Nordic Natural's Omega 3 Gummies.

 

Stop by the store and we'd be happy to help find the children's vitamins right for your family!
 

Our Favorite Things: Animal Parade Gold Vitamins for Kids

We have our Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Gold Vitamins on sale this March.  I wanted to highlight them, since Nature’s Plus will very rarely have their products on sale.  They are fantastic, fantastic multivitamins- they’re the ones I give my daughter.  I love them because I think their ingredients and nutrient profile are truly the best.

A multivitamin is not a substitute for a healthy diet, but adding a vitamin supplement to a child’s daily routine is a fantastic idea to fill in nutrient gaps in their diet, especially those who are picky eaters.  It really is important that growing children are getting all of their recommended nutrients, since they are literally growing healthy bodies for the future.

If you haven’t started a kid’s vitamin, I’d recommend starting with a hard chewable like Animal Parade Gold.  Gummy vitamins are fine, and we have a large selection at the store, but if you can, it’s best to have children take a hard chewable vitamin, since they will have a better nutrient profile and a full listing of all the necessary vitamins and minerals.  Gummy vitamins are good for kids who won’t take anything else (for example, Nordic Naturals Nordic Berries Gummies are the most delicious things ever), but if you can get them to take a hard chewable, it definitely is better.

Back to School Health Roundup

Kids are going back to school at the end of the month- I can’t believe summer has flown by so fast!  We have a number of fantastic articles on helpful supplements and recommendations for back to school on our web site; I’ll link a few below.

Back to School Supplements
 

Improving Children’s Concentration in School
 

Keeping Kids Healthy
 

This month, we’re having a back to school sale on Carlson’s Bubblegum Flavored Cod Liver Oil for Kids.  It’ll be on sale for 25% off during the month of August and with its purchase we’ll be offering a free insulated lunch bag (while supplies last- they’re really great).  I particularly like the Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil for Kids because the serving size is so small, just half a teaspoon to get 450mg of omega 3 fatty acids.  My daughter loves the taste of it.  If you'd like to have your kids try their cod liver oil, we will be having our Carlson Representative in the store on Saturday, August 8th from 10-1.

We also will have KAL’s Relax-a-Saurus on sale this month, which is featured in the Back to School Supplements article linked above.  It’s a wonderful supplement to help with reducing children’s anxiety while also improving focus.  It can be used during the day, or before bed to help with sleep (which can be helpful for kids who can’t seem to wind down at night).

Healthy Q & A: Keeping Kids Healthy This Winter

Q:  My son is in kindergarten and has been sick again and again this winter. Is there anything I can give him that’s safe for children but might help him to stay healthy?  He’s missed a bunch of school already and it’s been pretty awful.

A: Schools can be an absolute breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Kids are exposed to so many germs at school, and since they are often touching their mouths and noses, it’s no wonder they get sick so frequently.

There are a number of supplements which are great for adults for boosting the immune system, though it can be more difficult for children, particularly since I’d err on the side of caution with giving many supplements to children. There are several supplements however, which are safe for children to take and can make a big difference in their immune systems.

The first thing I’d recommend is vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for the immune system (and for building strong bones). The body manufactures vitamin D from skin exposure to sunlight, something which doesn’t happen much in the winter. Vitamin D has been researched extensively for its benefits to the immune system. One study found that children who supplemented with excess vitamin D had half as many colds as those who remained deficient in the vitamin. Another study found that it reduced the incidence of the flu when compared with children who did not supplement with the vitamin.

Probiotics are another supplement which are wonderful for the immune system.  Probiotics are the good bacteria found in the intestines.  They are most commonly known for their benefits to digestion, but they can also be very beneficial to the immune system.  One recent study found that school children who took a probiotic along with vitamin C had 33% fewer upper respiratory infections and missed 30% fewer days of school than children who took a placebo. 

The last supplement I’d recommend is elderberry syrup. Elderberry has been researched with impressive results for its antiviral properties, particularly for the flu virus. It can be taken as a preventative measure or for intensive use if a child does get sick. In clinical trial of elderberry syrup, it found that elderberry cured 90% of flu infections after 72 hours.  In the same trial, the patients receiving a placebo needed six days for recovery.

All three of the above mentioned supplements are completely safe for children to use, and are available in chewables, or in the case of elderberry syrup, a great tasting liquid.

One other thing I’d mention are essential oils.  In the past I was rather skeptical about the supposed benefits of essential oils beyond them being nice smelling.  In my research however, I’ve found numerous clinical studies reporting on the legitimate benefits of essential oils.  

There are quite a few essential oils which have very potent antibacterial properties. I would not recommend ingesting essential oils, but rather to use a diffuser to disperse them into the air. Cinnamon, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and tea tree are just a few that have been shown in scientific research to reduce airborne bacteria when diffused into the air. Eucalyptus oil is also great during cold season since it helps to open the sinuses and breathing passages.

We sell essential oils, essential oil diffusers, and all the supplements listed above at Pass Health Foods. Stop by and we’ll help to find the product that’s right for you.