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How To Prepare For A Healthy School Year

Filed Under: Ask The ND,Supplements at 10:00 am | By: Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND & Lead Wellness Advisor
iStock_000064903173_SmallEven though temperatures are still getting warmer, the days are getting shorter and this means only one thing – summer is coming to a close. With fall right around the corner, now is the time to build the foundation your kids need for a healthy school year. This means less sick days, less school days missed, less time off of work and hopefully an all around better year in the classroom.

The beginning of the school year can be difficult for any child, especially their immune system. They go from basking in the daylight and replenishing their vitamin D levels, to sitting in a classroom for most parts of the day. These tips below are designed to help you and your family have a safe and healthy school year.

Lifestyle Tips

  • Teach children to wash hands frequently with warm soap and water. Children should wash hands for about 20 seconds; roughly equivalent to the time it takes you to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
  • Teach children to sneeze or cough into the inner arms where the elbow bends, instead of directly into their hands, which helps to prevent spreading germs.
  • Before school starts make sure your child is up to date with their dental cleanings, physical exams, eye exams and hearing tests!
  • Remind children of other good hygiene practices – showering daily, remembering to use a tissue, clipping nails etc.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like food, hats and water bottles.
  • Before school starts, get back into the school year routine. Give them a bedtime that allows for adequate amounts of sleep each night.
  • Have a healthy diet. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods, sugar and other artificial ingredients.
  • Before taking certain vitamins like vitamin D, you should have your health care provider order a 25-OH-Vitamin D blood test to help you get a more accurate understanding of how supplementation your child needs.

Supplements and Herbs to Build Up Your Immune System

  • Probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the beneficial bacteria found inside our intestinal tract. They have the ability to stimulate the development and maturation of our immune system cells.
  • Vitamin D plays a critical role in immune response. It assists the body in making well over 200 antimicrobial peptides necessary in fighting off a wide range of infections.
  • Elderberry is a herb that has long been used for its ability to boost immune system functions. It has strong anti-viral properties, which make it great for preventing and treating colds and flus. Even better, it can be taken daily, and used more frequently to help fight off an infection when needed.
  • Zinc is a mineral that is essential to our immune system and helps to keep it strong. Research has shown that use of zinc lozenges significantly reduces the duration of the common cold. While it is important to have enough zinc, 15-25mg per day, too much may actually weaken our immune system function.

Supplements and Herbs for Brain Support

  • Fish Oils contain an omega 3 called Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is critical for brain health and function throughout all stages of life.
  • Bacopa monnieri is a nootropic herb that has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for children with developmental delays. In botanical medicine, it’s used to enhance memory development and cognitive performance such as learning and concentration.

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