Your Back-to-School Wellness Guide
With young ones going back to school after a long summer vacation, it is important to get them on a good wellness routine. Quality supplements paired with good nutrition can help them stay healthy throughout the school year. From a naturopathic medicine perspective, these are my top recommendations. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician when starting your child on a new supplement or a nutritional program.
Dr. Lauren’s Guide for Kid Wellness
- Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA and Ultimate Omega Junior: Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that are found in many of the foods we consume. Because our body does not make these essential fatty acids and most Americans do not consume enough of them through their diet, supplementation can be very beneficial. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) are two types of omega-3s that are particularly high in fish. EPA and DHA have many health benefits but particularly for children, they can improve cognition, mood and ADHD symptoms. Children’s DHA can be chewed or swallowed and would be most appropriate for children ages 3-10. Ultimate Omega Junior can also be chewed or swallowed and would be best for children 10 and up. Dosage can differ based on the needs of each child. For vegan kids, I recommend Phyto Brain-E by Apex Energetics as an alternative to fish based omega-3s.
- Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm: Children who have difficulty sleeping or calming down can benefit from magnesium. Magnesium is our most important mineral that also comes from food, but we almost never get enough with our modern diets. Children with limited diets or picky eaters can especially be missing out on sufficient amounts of magnesium. Every organ in our body uses magnesium and it has a natural calming effect. Magnesium citrate is very helpful for mild constipation and when taken at night time can help with a morning bowel movement. Try Natural Calm which comes in several delicious flavors. Start with a low dose of ½ teaspoon. Too large of a dose can cause loose stools.
- HLC Child probiotic by Pharmax: HLC Child by Pharmax is one of my favorite probiotics for children. It helps kids maintain a healthy gut flora which can reduce gastrointestinal issues and improve the immune system. Each tablet has 4 billion viable cells and six strains of bacteria. It is a tasty chewable that is also sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. I recommend that children take probiotics daily to help them stay healthy during the school season. In times when they are under the weather they can up their daily dose to 2 or more chewables.
- Elderberry Syrup by Gaia Kids: Elderberry is a very effective antiviral that can protect your child against the flu. Add the syrup into their supplement routine as we approach fall and winter. Gaia Kids Elderberry Syrup is not only tasty and antiviral, it’s also an antioxidant and is combined with natural vitamin C from acerola cherries. For vegan kids, I’d recommend Nature’s Way Original Sambucus for Kids (Elderberry syrup) as a honey-free alternative.
- C 500 mg by Natural Factors: Vitamin C can be very helpful in keeping your child’s immune system healthy, especially if they are not inclined to eating an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. The Mayo Clinic suggests that children ages 4-8 years old should have a daily intake of 650 mg of vitamin C. Children ages 9-13 are recommended 1,200 mg of vitamin C daily. Adding in 1-2 vitamin C wafers into your child’s regimen can ensure that they are getting enough vitamin C. Vitamin C also benefits connective tissue including bones, blood vessels and skin.
- Aller-DMG by Davinci Labs: For children who suffer from horrible seasonal allergies, Aller-DMG chewables can really help reduce allergic response. The orange cream-flavored chewables are tasty and the unique combination of vitamin C with quercetin, bromelain, DMG (N,N-Dimethylglycine HCL), and perilla seed extract is often a very effective aid that inhibits the production of leukotrienes (inflammatory molecules) associated with allergies.
Looking for delicious gluten-free snacks for your youngster? We have that too! These are my top recommendations.
- Thunderkid bars: These delicious, gluten-free, vegan, kid-friendly bars are from the local Austin company, Thunderbird. These are the perfect little snack to put in their lunch box with no guilt of preservatives, added colorings, added sugar or additives.
- TransformFitness Protein Bites: Your kid will not know that these are healthy! These truffle-like protein bites are filled with 6 grams of protein per bite and covered in a decadent low-sugar dark chocolate. They come with two different protein options: whey or plant-based protein powder with peanut butter.
- GFY bread: If you have not tried this bread yet, you need to! It is an amazing gluten-free bread from Dripping Springs and for those sensitive to dairy, there is also a dairy-free option. This bread makes a great sandwich and is also delicious toasted with yummy toppings like avocado or hummus.
Lauren Sanchez, ND, received her Naturopathic Doctorate at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. Her natural approach to medicine facilitates healing by respecting the mind, body and spirit connection. She also specializes in helping individuals reach optimal wellness through a plant-based regimen. She is excited to be an integral part of your health journey and a resource for optimal wellness for you and your family.