Every parent wishes for their children to thrive and be healthy in any environment. Children are quite strong and resilient but it doesn’t mean there will not be occasions where they can get sick or have to deal with a health condition. In my Naturopathic practice, one of my goals with families is to support a child’s health, weather the “storm” and become stronger and more resilient as they grow. In addition to eating a well-balanced nutrient-dense diet, adequate exercise and an ample amount of fresh air, nutritional supports can give children added health benefits. Aside from individual recommendations, here are my top 3 nutritional supports for healthy children.
1. Vitamin D
One of the most common supplements recommended by all medical professionals, there is no doubt children benefit from having sufficient levels of Vitamin D. There is solid evidence that Vitamin D supplementation reduces rates of infection and has a therapeutic role in asthma and allergic conditions.1 Normally, adequate amounts of Vitamin D can be produced from sunlight exposure but come fall and winter, our levels can drop dramatically. Dosage ranges are based on the size and health of the child.
2. Omega 3
The brain of a growing child is constantly changing and forming new synapses to accommodate development and learning. Omega 3 (in particular DHA), is recognized as a major player in optimal visual and cognitive development.2 Intake of DHA is often low in children and supplementation with DHA can support growth, cognition and behaviour. Not all Omega 3 supplements are created equally – your Naturopathic Doctor will have some suggestions on clean, effective sources and adequate dosing specific for your little ones.
The science of the gut biome is ever-growing and ever-evolving as tremendous amounts of research are being done on the influence of gut bacteria on many aspects of health. It is well known that the gut biome during early childhood is crucial for the balanced development of the immune system.3 Different strains of bacteria can be used to address different health concerns. A Naturopathic Doctor can help guide parents on which probiotics would be the best fit for their children.
~ Dr. Patti
1. Geneviève Mailhotand John H. White. Vitamin D and Immunity in Infants and Children. Nutrients. 2020 May; 12(5): 1233.
2. Connye N. Kuratko, Erin Cernkovich Barrett, Edward B. Nelson,and Salem Norman, Jr. The Relationship of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) with Learning and Behavior in Healthy Children: A Review. Nutrients. 2013 Jul; 5(7): 2777–2810.
3. Yvan Vandenplas and Francesco Savino. Probiotics and Prebiotics in Pediatrics: What Is New? Nutrients. 2019 Feb; 11(2): 431.