Back to School
The return to school, the beginning of a new year with new experiences and associated emotions, can sometimes be experienced by a child as a stress. So, this time of the year can become the most challenging and the most important time for supporting your child’s health, development and particularly their immune strength.
Each year in a child’s life is clearly marked and can be remembered by the end of the summer holidays and the return to school. There are many experiences, emotions and associations involved in this event for each child. Anticipation, excitement, anxiety, apprehension, new faces, new teachers, new learning, sometimes new surroundings, a new school. Different children will react and be affected by this experience in different ways.
As children grow, develop, mature and experience new situations, we can be looking out for and supporting their growth on many dimensions. These dimensions and aspects of their being include their physical, emotional, mental/mind and spiritual well-being. Each one of these aspects will affect the others and they are all intimately connected.
We have to constantly remember that infancy and childhood growth is a very delicate time. They are human beings “under construction.” In many ways they are working much harder than we are as adults. As adults we need to eat enough food each day to make enough energy to perform our daily tasks and responsibilities. Children require food and nutrients to go about their daily tasks, school, and functions, as well as grow bigger each day. This combination of bodily growth and functioning at the same time creates the critical need and increased importance for the building blocks of life, the “essential nutrients,” vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids.
On a purely physical level, it is an infant’s and child’s food, nutrition and diet, that will be the major factor in determining the health, strength and integrity of their bodies, brains and immune system.
Keeping Your Child Healthy
The return to school, the beginning of a new year with new experiences and associated emotions, can sometimes be experienced by a child as a stress, and therefore make them more susceptible to what they may be exposed to in their environment.
Along with these emotional stressors, we also experience the change of seasons with fall, turning into the winter season, when the cold’s and flu’s are most prevalent and circulating around the school and community.
So, this time of the year can become the most challenging and the most important time for supporting your child’s health, development and particularly their immune strength.
In this post, we will look at what are the most important and practical suggestions and supplements that you can implement and give to your child to support their health and immune vitality.
Establish the Foundation
The physical foundation and basis of every child’s health, growth and development is made by receiving the correct amount of all the established “essential nutrients,” on a daily basis. As noted previously, these “essential nutrients” are comprised of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids.
The term “essential” is given to these nutrients by the National Academy of Sciences after many years of research has shown that these particular nutrients are required for, and involved in so many critical functions within the body, brain and immune system … that without them, or without the right daily amount of them, then problems may develop, and a child’s health may be compromised. (National Academy of Sciences, 2004)
None of these nutrients work alone. They are all actively and intimately connected, supported and dependent upon each other to perform their function and to help the other nutrients perform their jobs. They are an orchestra of “essential nutrients.”
Vitamins: 14 Essential Vitamins
Within the fourteen essential vitamins, we have the primary antioxidants; Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin A. All of these help support immune function and protect our bodies from environmental pollutants by neutralizing toxins and helping our bodies detoxify and eliminate these chemicals, pesticides and metals safely. By protecting our bodies from the effects of these pollutants and toxins, the antioxidants help to reduce the burden and workload of the immune system, thereby allowing the immune system to be more effective and vital on other fronts.
There are all the B Vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, which are all actively involved in helping our nervous system function correctly, learning, memory and managing the challenges and stresses that may be faced each day.
Folic acid, which helps the body digest and assimilate proteins, is actively involved in the production of our red blood cells and DNA.
Biotin is also involved in DNA/RNA production and the metabolism of fats and oils which is why it can effect the hair and skin so much. The most recent nutrient to be added to this “essential” list is Choline which is an essential component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in regulating sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory formation. (MedlinePlus, National Institute of Health, 2006)
Minerals: 21 Essential Minerals
There are twenty one minerals classified as essential. Of these we are always reminded of how important Calcium is for the childhood development of bones and teeth. However as with all the vitamins and minerals, none of these nutrients work alone. They are not lone rangers. They are all actively and intimately connected, supported and dependent upon each other to perform their function and to help the other nutrients perform their jobs. They are an orchestra of “essential nutrients.” By working together, they create the living symphony of a child growing, developing and learning with a strong fully functioning immune system providing their protection. From this perspective, we then understand that Calcium requires Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin D to effectively perform the function of supporting and constructing strong bones and teeth.
Sodium and Potassium, two other major minerals, work together to help regulate and enhance the entry and exit of nutrients into every cell in the body, by affecting ph levels and cell wall permeability.
Chromium is critically involved in regulating blood sugar and metabolism throughout the body.
Zinc is another important mineral, and the primary mineral for supporting immune function and strength. Just as Vitamin C is the most effective vitamin for supporting and improving immune response, Zinc is the primary mineral for providing this same immune support.
Fatty Acids: 2 Essential Fatty Acids
The two essential fatty acids found in the Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils are most commonly sourced and derived from fish and seeds. These nutrients are actively required and particularly involved in immune and brain function, growth and development.
We find that sixty percent of the whole brain is made from fats and oils. We now know that sixty percent of these fats and oils is one particular fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is found in the highest concentration within cod liver oil. Simply put, the brain requires Omega-3 oils and DHA to grow, to work properly and to develop to its full potential.
When we understand that up to ninety percent of brain growth occurs and is completed by the time a child is seven years of age, then we can fully appreciate the importance and need to ensure that a child is supported and supplemented with the Omega 3 oils, of which Cod Liver Oil is the preferred source. Flaxseed Oil is the best alternative as a plant based source. (Supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids, Pediatrics, 2003 Jan. 111(1) 39-44.)
Implementing the Foundation
You can provide and ensure that your child receives all of the essential nutrients required to support healthy development and immune strength by giving your child these two supplements: ChildLife® Multi Vitamin & Mineral and ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil.
These can both be given directly or mixed together in your child’s favorite drink. These two supplements create the foundation and basis of an effective nutritional supplementation program for your child.
Together they provide the full spectrum of “essential” nutrients that every child can be supported and nourished with. Growth, development, brain function, immune strength and protection, these formulas help give and create the platform for these qualities.
Additional Immune Support and Protection
To help defend their bodies from the “back to school, change of season, cold and flu” routine, we look at how you can provide your child with the nutrients and formulas that will specifically help give them extra immune protection.
At the top of this list is always Vitamin C. No other nutrient has been studied so extensively and displayed so many qualities for enhancing immune protection and support. (Immune-enhancing role of Vitamin C and effect on clinical conditions, Ann Nutr Metab, 2006;50(2): 85-94.)
Extra Vitamin C, supplemented on a daily basis for extra immune support, particularly at this time of year is recommended.
Depending on the overall health or susceptibility of your child’s immune system, you can decide whether to give additional immune support or stay with the primary program of supplementing with ChildLife® Multi Vitamin Mineral, ChildLife® Cod Liver Oil, and additional ChildLife® Liquid Vitamin C.
If you think that your child could use extra immune support and strengthening, then consider adding ChildLife’s® Probiotics with Colostrum to the above program.