Vitamins to Keep Kids Healthy – Surviving Flu

April 21, 2011

For Kids, Healthy Life, Vitamins

Here is a quick, down and dirty list of vitamins and supplements that keep kids healthy and help them get better when they do get sick.

PROBIOTICS

Most of us think probiotics make us poop, thanks to all those Activia commercials with Jaimie Lee Curtis. However, studies show that probiotics also boost immune function. The most intriguing study, in my humble opinion, was conducted in China and involved over 500 kids. One group got nothing, another got one probiotic supplement and another had a probiotic supplement containing 2 probiotics. All the kids on probiotics did better than the kids that got nothing, but 2 probiotics was better than one.

Childrens probiotic supplements reduced the number of missed school days by almost 40% and the use of antibiotics by at least 60% up to 80% (depending on how many probiotics were in the supplement, more was better). Kids probiotics also reduces the severity and duration of illness.

Not all childrens probiotic supplements are created equally. Some strains should be avoided as they can cause problems in the case of serious illness or when someone is immunocompromised. We use the Buddy Bear Probiotic Supplement at our house with good results so far this flu season.

If you want even more information on children’s probiotic supplements check out this article.

ZINC

Zinc has a natural antibiotic action and revs up the immune system. Studies have shown that this mineral can reduce the duration of an illness and make symptoms more mild. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find sufficient amounts of zinc in multivitamins for kids so we use a separate chewable zinc supplement for kids at the first signs of illness.

Note because zinc is not water soluble and because high levels can actually weaken the immune system, follow directions on the bottle and do not over dose. You have to have the right dose of zinc for it to be effective, more is not better. Also, zinc interferes with prescription antibiotics, so if your toddler ends up on antibiotics, separate the antibiotic and zinc by several hours.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C has a weak anti-viral action which helps the immune system get rid of bugs. Studies have also shown that C shortens the course of an illness. We use Emergen-C for kids when sick and lots of fresh fruits and veggies when healthy.

VITAMIN D3

D3 is hot hot hot right now and for good reason. This vitamin is a workhorse in the human body. It does everything; fights heart disease and cancer and also boosts the immune system. It’s no coincidence that cold and flu season strikes precisely at the time of year we get the least amount of sun exposure (which leads to D production in the body) and have the lowest levels of D in our blood.

Researchers have found that D alerts the immune system to bugs and triggers immune response. The earlier your immune system gets moving, the faster you get better. We supplement at 800ius daily and bump up to 2000 ius when sick.

Vitamin D also improves asthma symptoms and is important for overall respiratory health. If you little one has asthma, be sure they are getting enough vitamin D!

In the past we’ve used Carlson liquid D and the flavor we had was cloyingly sweet, but effective. Now we use Vitamin D Sunny Gummies gum drops which are super yummy!  Just don’t order them in the summer heat as they’ll melt in transit and the company does not provide refunds (which they should or at least warn customers in advance). Alternatively, our  local Vitamin World store carries these gum drops and if they are goopy from too much heat, you can return them with a receipt.

I use these vitamins. My toddler uses these vitamins. My husband does NOT use these vitamins.

Who do you think is healthier? Who do you think gets better faster when we do get sick?

Those of us who take these vitamins.


This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
kids, minerals, tips, vitamin

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