Kids’ Immune Health at School
Preparation for the return to school often includes locating backpacks and school supplies, prepping for school lunches and adjusting to new morning routines. However, these new routines are not all that the back to school season brings. Let’s face it, the beginning of school usually means the beginning of the cold and flu season for kids, parents and teachers alike. This year more than ever we are looking to fend off the onslaught of bacteria and viruses that bring on the sniffles and sore throats.
Runny noses, sticky hands, misdirected sneezes . . . they all happen! Even though we speak to our children about washing their hands, they will often continue to touch everything in sight, rub their noses or touch their eyes throughout the day. You may be watching this from afar, cringing inside and thinking there is nothing that you can do but we have a few suggestions that may be of help. While we cannot promise that you or your children will not get sick, research shows a reduction in the frequency and length of colds when the immune system has a boost.
So, where do you start?
In the gut! With over 70% of your immune system residing in your gut it is an important area to keep healthy and strong. The collection of bacteria that resides in our system is called the microbiome and is in charge of much more than we ever gave it credit for. From being the main hub of our immune system, to production of neurotransmitters, supporting absorption of nutrients and regulating our bowel movements the importance of a healthy gut cannot be overstated. You may be hesitant about the idea of purposely taking bacteria but when you realize that you are comprised of about 3-5 lbs of bacteria (kids love this fact) then it starts to make sense.
Why do kids need to take probiotics and what are the benefits?
While adults are trying to maintain the strength of their immune systems, children are in the process of building their immune structure. The difference can be seen when we consider adults have an average 2-4 colds a year whereas children have up to 12 colds a year. Thankfully, the use of probiotics has been shown to decrease the number of missed school days, decrease the need for antibiotics and lower the incidence of having a fever, runny nose or cough1.
Other benefits of taking probiotics include:
- Helping children to maintain regular bowels, prevent diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating
- To help with digestion of food and lactose in milk and dairy products
- Helping to protect against autoimmune conditions and allergies such as asthma & eczema
- Lactobacillus gasseri has been shown to significantly improve pulmonary function (how well the lungs work) in children suffering from allergic airway conditions such as asthma and allergic rhinitis2.
Immune boosting bonus suggestions:
- Maintain a healthy diet full of colourful fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Make a good night sleep a priority
- Vitamin C – an important antioxidant
- Vitamin D – an important immune system regulator
Let’s presume you are now on board with the benefits of probiotics for children. The next question becomes, “Which probiotic do I choose?” There is no lack of choice in health stores these days and while we are admittedly biased toward our own brand (Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Kids+) it is for good reason. See below for a summary and some important information about Dr. Formulated Kids+.
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Kids+ Probiotic
Garden of Life created the Dr. Formulated line of probiotics in collaboration with internationally renowned microbiome expert David Perlmutter, M.D. The Dr. Formulated Kids+ probiotic was developed specifically for children with their immune systems in mind.
- 5 Billion CFUs including 14 strains of probiotics with researched benefits (including Lactobacillus gasseri)
- All bacteria have been tested for acid, bile and antibiotic resistance and contains a prebiotic blend to ensure proper delivery and adherence
- Includes Vitamin C – 30mg from Organic Amla fruit
- Includes Vitamin D – 400iu of RAW food-created vitamin D3
- Cranberry – from whole Organic Cranberries
- Hypoallergenic, vegetarian-friendly, non-GMO Project Verified, gluten, dairy and soy free.
- NO JUNK – no artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavours or colours
- Chewable tablet that comes in 3 delicious flavours: Strawberry Banana (shelf-stable), Watermelon (shelf-stable) and Organic Berry Cherry (refrigerated)
While we cannot organize their school bags or magic them dressed in the morning, we can provide a simple option for giving your children that little something extra. Including the delicious, chewable tablet alongside their healthy breakfast couldn’t be easier. Why not give it a try and feel comfortable knowing that Dr. Formulated Kids+ probiotics helps them build a healthy microbiome and support their digestive and immune health.
1 Probiotic Effects on Cold and Influenza-Like Symptom Incidence and Duration in Children. Gregory J. Leyer, Shuguang Li, Mohamed E. Mubasher, Cheryl Reifer and Arthur C. Ouwehand. Pediatrics August 2009, 124 (2) e172-e179; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2008-2666
2 Randomized placebo‐controlled trial of lactobacillus on asthmatic children with allergic rhinitis. Yue-Sheng Chen MD, Yen-Lin Lin MSc, Hsin-Hung Chen MD and Jiu-Yao Wang MD, DPhil. Pediatric Pulmonology November 2010, 45(11) pp.1111-1120; https://doi.org/10.1002/ppul.21296