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ARTICLE CONTENT – As we approach this winter’s cold and flu season, parents are particularly concerned this year due to COVID-19.
But don’t worry – not only are children naturally more resilient to COVID-19, but you can also implement some simple but powerful strategies to boost your children’s immune systems for enhanced protection.
These are the same strategies that I use on my patients RedRiver health and wellness center, one of the largest autoimmune practices in the country that I learned while conducting my own coronavirus study in Utah earlier this year and as part of my postgraduate public health education at Johns Hopkins University.
I understand that implementing new health strategies is more challenging for children than for adults. Therefore, as a father himself, I’ve tested the following four strategies child-friendly and parent-tested to keep children healthier during the pandemic.
Increased vitamin D and glutathione
Perhaps one of the most important nutrients you can provide to your child is vitamin D. The average American is deficient, but it’s an important compound for immune system health and has been shown to be very protective against coronavirus.
I recommend 2,500 to 5,000 international units of vitamin D per day for children. Make sure you buy the form of cholecalciferol. The good news is that there are plenty of kid-friendly ways to give vitamin D, including chewable tablets, which are especially nutritious if you get one that also has immune-boosting omega-3s or drops to add to your diet.
The second important nutrient in protecting against COVID-19 is glutathione, the body’s “main antioxidant”. Although our bodies produce glutathione, we are all at risk from low levels as environmental pollutants, sugars and sweeteners, processed foods, sleep deprivation, and other stressors deplete the body’s stores of glutathione.
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My favorite forms of kid-friendly glutathione are Trizomal Glutathione from Apex Energetics and Tri-Fortify Orange from Researched Nutritionals. Both are sweetened with glycerine and are often well tolerated by children or can be mixed into a drink or smoothie. I let my adult patients take three to four times the recommended dose. For children, give the recommended dose or double it.
Glutathione is safe and there is no risk of ingesting too much. People who cannot tolerate onions, garlic, or other sulfur-containing foods may not tolerate glutathione well because it is a sulfur compound. If so, cordyceps mushrooms, gotu kola extract, and milk thistle are other compounds that increase glutathione levels.
Sleep is crucial
The strongest immune support doesn’t come in a supplement bottle or food. Instead, research shows that getting plenty of sleep is one of the best ways to keep your immune system strong. I understand that given the pandemic of the pandemic, getting a child to bed on time can be inappropriately difficult. However, if you make sure your child is getting the sleep they need, it pays off tremendously.
Health experts recommend the following hours of sleep per day for each age category:
- Age 0 to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours.
- Age 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours.
- Age 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours.
- Age 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours.
- Age 6 to 12: 9 to 12 hours.
- Age 13 to 18: 8 to 10 hours.
Play more, preferably outdoors and in nature
Although people have been advised to stay indoors at the start of the pandemic, the truth is that spending time outdoors is healthier and better supports immunity. Regular play is critical to proper neurological and immunological development in children, especially outdoors.
Pro type: Adults also need to play regularly to stay healthy. So find something that both you and your kids will enjoy.
When it’s cold, bundle it up instead of being forced inside. The game stimulates the brain’s necessary developmental pathways, nature activates the immune system so that it remains robust, and regular sun exposure helps in the production of vitamin D and ensures regular regulation of the body’s metabolism.
Give them the right diet
For my adult patients who want to optimize their immune resilience, I have made a diet that is anti-inflammatory and nutrient-rich. This diet is basically a paleo diet that eliminates grains, sweeteners, and processed foods and is made up of plenty of vegetables, meat, and healthy fats.
I realize that for the average family this will be a big challenge for children, especially during the holidays. Instead, here are some principles to keep in mind when discussing nutritional strategies to support a child’s immune health.
Balancing blood sugar: Because they grow and burn so much energy, kids love sugar, sweets, and simple carbohydrates like pasta, white rice, potatoes, and bread. However, the spikes in blood sugar from these foods put a strain on the immune system and promote inflammation. Try to keep sweets and processed foods to a minimum, and instead focus on healthy meats, products, and whole grains.
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If your child eats something sweet or starchy, adding fiber, protein, or fat can help slow the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream (starchy foods are instantly converted to sugar in the body). For example, ice cream with a higher fat content or a fiber-laden fruit smoothie is less likely to cause a sugar shock than candy, soda, or fruit juices.
Minimize Flammable Foods: Some children already have problems with chronic immune disorders like bowel problems, neurological problems like tics, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and mood disorders, rashes, breathing problems, or even listlessness and fatigue. Many children these days also have autoimmunity, where the immune system attacks a tissue in the body – although it is usually underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Such children may be more susceptible to viruses because their immune systems are already overloaded. In these cases, I strongly recommend that you turn to immunoglobulin laboratory tests to check for any food intolerances such as: B. at Cyrex Labs.
In my practice of primarily treating adults with chronic conditions, nearly 100% of them have an undiagnosed food intolerance that is causing their inflammation and symptoms. If we identify the offensive foods and remove them from their diet, most will see a profound improvement in symptoms.
Eliminating a child’s favorite foods like gluten or dairy products is a challenge at first, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is usually not as bad as parents believe. Children often feel so much better that they willingly embrace their new diet. It works best when the whole family can follow the same diet so that the child doesn’t feel left out of family dinners and gatherings. The rest of the family usually feels a lot better too!
Children’s immunity today.
Any naturopath will tell you today that we are seeing more and more children with chronic illnesses, and the number seems to keep growing. Today’s children are facing unprecedented immune problems from environmental toxins, industrialized and processed foods, lack of play from excessive screen time and busy schedules, and frequent sleep deprivation.
The good news is that children’s bodies and immune systems respond wonderfully to even the smallest of changes toward better health. It’s just about understanding the basics.
To learn more about how to keep your family healthy during the coronavirus pandemic, please read the free articles and e-book available on my website. If you would like to find out more about how you can become a patient in one of our seven clinics, visit them RedRiver health and wellness center website.
Written by JOSH REDD, Chiropractor at the RedRiver Health and Wellness Center.
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About Josh Redd
Josh Redd, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, is a chiropractor and author of the Amazon bestseller “The Truth About Low Thyroid”. Redd owns seven functional medicine clinics in the western United States and sees patients from around the country and around the world suffering from challenging autoimmune, endocrine, and neurological disorders. He also teaches thousands of doctors about functional medicine and immunology, thyroid health, neurology, laboratory tests, and more.
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